I'm Having Trouble Planning My Small Wedding Ceremony and Large Reception. Please Help!

Ceremony & Vows, Etiquette

Many brides and grooms plan two "weddings": A small ceremony and followed by a larger reception. However, this type of celebration is difficult to coordinate and inform guests of. Our etiquette experts are here to answer your wedding planning questions in our daily post.

Because of logistics, we're having two weddings. Our parents will be the only witnesses at the first one; the second will be more like a traditional wedding, with a big guest list and a reception. I'm afraid people won't show up for the second one if they find out it's not a "real" wedding, but my fiancé's mom and dad are really pushing for us to go public with the news. What should we do?

While you shouldn't mislead your guests, you also aren't compelled to take out a full-page ad in your local paper. Your in-laws can tell whomever they like; you don't have to make a peep (but if somebody calls to get the whole story, you'd better come clean). To ensure that everyone who attends the large celebration knows what lies in store, word the invitation as a vow renewal. (Your stationer or an etiquette book will have examples.) And don't worry—friends and family are sure to understand the circumstances and will be glad to celebrate with you whenever they're invited.

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