Two Receptions

Hi all, first post here. So my fiance and I are in the process of planning our wedding and figuring out our guest list. We have tentatively chosen a venue for both the ceremony and reception. In terms of financing the wedding, my fiance and I will be responsible for that. For the guest list that my fiance and I made up, we have it narrowed down to between 90 and 120 people (an ideal number for us). However, this does not include all the friends that our parents (on both sides) want to invite. We have spoken to our parents about keeping the wedding relatively small, but they are absolutely opposed to cutting back on the invite list. As a suggestion to solve this problem, my parents have offered to hold a second reception to accomodate both family and friends (they would be footing the bill). So in summary, what is proposed is: ceremony and reception #1 to be held at the same location, with only the groom and bride’s friends and coworkers to attend the reception. Reception #2 (at another location, but in the same city) to be held the next day for groom and bride’s extended family and parents’ friends. The reason we do not want to have one big reception is that firstly both my fiance and I feel uncomfortable with having our wedding turning into a big affair with many guests. Secondly, it would cost prohibitive to invite everyone to reception #1 (at our venue of choice). Another reason is that our extended family and parents’ friends would much prefer food of a different culture than what would be served at reception #1.

I have looked through previous posts and I understand the reasoning as to why two receptions is frowned upon, especially if guests feel they are on a two tier system. Would this still apply in this case?

Another issue is who to invite to the ceremony. Since the reception #1 is to be at the same location as the ceremony, it would make sense to have the reception follow right after the ceremony. However, this would be awkward for those guests who are invited to reception #2.

Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites

There really isn’t anything wrong with having 2 wedding receptions, per se. Some families host an additional reception for those who can’t travel or can’t attend for one reason or another. However, everyone invited to the wedding ceremony must be invited to the reception immediately following. If your parents want to host a party for their friends and extended family on another date, they need to plan it carefully so as not to hurt any feelings. I’d suggest making this other reception in an alternative location, maybe on the weekend after or when you return from your honeymoon, if you’re taking one. Put yourself in the place of those guests to see if what they’re planing may be insulting.

Conversely, you can thank your parents for offering this additional party, but refuse.Let them know you appreciate their offer but do not want to have another reception.

Deborah McCoy, President, American Academy of Wedding Professionals™

Hello mogomugu:

I think the solution is simple. A party held after the wedding is not technically a wedding reception, but rather a party in honor of the newly married couple. Invitations, therefore, would be sent to the people whom you’re considering for the “second reception”. (They would not be invited to the ceremony.) (As Donna said, the party would take place the weekend following the wedding or after you return from your honeymoon.) Invitations would be sent from your parents, who are hosting the affair.

Jay Remer, The Etiquette Guy, International Protocol and Corporate & Social Etiquette

I agree with the remarks above. Treat the wedding and reception you are hosting as a separate event from the celebration your parents are suggesting. I would point out that your parents need to be respectful of your final decision. This milestone in your life is about you and your husband, not about your parents. No matter how this shakes out, there will some explaining to do to some nosy guests. On balance, however, this arrangement is on solid footing. Congratulations and best of luck!

  1. Having two separate receptions is like ‘Divide & Conquer’….Either the Bride or the Groom has already Pre-Judged certain family members or friends. This is not a great start to any wedding or a life together! Guests will find out the plan and wonder why they were chosen for one or the other reception. It cannot be more ‘cost’ effectuve to have two receptions either so that is no explanation. Guests will feel uneasy and singled out. And if you are worried about who is going to get along with whom, who drinks or argues or any of your guests’ personal faults, forget about it…that is not your responsibility, just have the one reception and let grownups be grownups…they make their own choices and who are you to judge, criticize or care! You just have the reception, put a smile on your face and enjoy your day! Things will take care of themselves. Weddings should ‘bring family & friends together’
    while the Bride and Groom unite their future together. Don’t divide your new familes and extended families just because you worry over adult behavior out of your control…relax, welcome everyone and have fun… forget about what other people do or behave like…it’s truly none of your business nor any concern of yours so quit prejudging!

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