Wedding evening Wording on Invitations

We are planning a small ceremony during the day with a limited number of guests. Later that evening, we will have a party/reception for everyone to come and celebrate whether they were at the ceremony or not. What is a polite way to word the invitations to the reception-only people so that they know that the ceremony was kept small so that no feelings are hurt?


We did our wedding the same way: relatively intimate ceremony and dinner, and then wide open "Bring your friends!" crazy dance reception. We invited these reception guests via an evite that read:

As many of you know, WE'RE FRICKING GETTING MARRIED! We're trying really hard to keep the ceremony/dinner part of our wedding intimate….but it simply wouldn't be a party WITHOUT YOU THERE so we sincerely hope you can join us for the post-ceremony dancing reception! Please join us for a night of dancing, camping and freak-nasty wackiness under the trees of Bainbridge Island! Naturally, since we first fell in love at a rave, we have to throw a small (very small) rave-like thing to celebrate the wedding. So come dance with us.

You can read more about how we did this in the book, but in terms of invitation wording … I wouldn't recommend doing it the way we did. Personally, I don't think there's any need to even mention the ceremony on the reception invitations.

Even if you're just trying to be nice, there's no need to talk about the part of the wedding they can't attend when inviting them to the part that they can. "We love you but you can't come to this part — but we still love you … no seriously!" It's just rubbing salt into a wound that people didn't even know they had. Rather, just focus your invitation wording on how excited you are to have them attend your reception, how awesome the event is going to be, etc etc. Most folks think ceremonies are boring anyway, so don't let them in on the fact that yours is going to be awesome. Just invite them to the reception and leave it at that!

One very basic example would be something like this:

Jane and Joe invite you to join us at a reception celebrating our recent marriage. Please come get down with us at 7pm on Saturday, the 10th of October at the Bla bla bla Venue in Seattle, WA.

There are some who suggest including a small line at the bottom of the reception-only invitation that reads "A private wedding will precede the reception." I guess that's sort of what we did, just in a more casual/more wordy way.

More wording examples, from the comments:

"Liz and Alli, together with their parents, invite you to celebrate their love and commitment at a reception following their ceremony. Join us for hors d'oeuvres, drinks, dessert and dancing."

"We started our family, now we are tying the knot. We are having the ceremony in a tiny private spot. We hope you can still join us right after, for a dance some drinks and plenty of laughter!"

Invitation and Response Card wording...questions

2005-07-25 10:05:32 by erythrophobia

I'm having some difficultly with the wording for my invitations and response cards. The wedding will be on a Saturday evening (6-11:30pm). The location and the timing of the ceremony and reception are not really young children friendly.
Only a handful (13 out of 180) of our guests have young children, many of whom would probably not plan on bringing their children anyways, but I'm guessing we will still have to put something somewhere that states that this event is not for young children.
We were thinking something like, "Please, no children under age 12 (as requested by management)"
Also, the food served will be heavy hors d'ouerves so the response card will only be to get a RSVP on the head count and number of people attending over and under age 21 (for the open bar count)

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