As a Mormon, my wedding ceremony will take place in a mormon temple with a few close family members and friends. However, I will be having a large reception-- one with a ring ceremony and sit down dinner. (Exchanging of rings is not part of a wedding ceremony in a mormon temple, so doing so at the reception is a nice way to include those who aren't at the temple) The problem is that culturally, many mormons choose to have large open house style receptions, where what time you arrive and when you leave doesn't matter that much. How do I communicate on my reception invites that my reception is not an open house and that I expect my guests to arrive promptly?
I think maybe, on the invitation, something like "Reception to follow at _______ at x o'clock....dinner to be served at y o'clock" should be enough. (Although someone might be able to help you word that a little bit more eloquently)
I do agree that doing the ring exchange at the reception is a nice idea, since I know that you basically aren't allowed to have non-Mormons at the ceremony, right? I do think this is a nice way to include those people in the actual marriage part of the day.
There's really no polite way to anticipate bad behavior. You can't put something like "7 pm on the dot" on your invitation.
What you can do is list the start time of your reception, just like anyone else, then let work get out through The Grapevine that this is not an open house type reception. Your mother, best friend, sister and cousin can mention your reception time start during regular conversation with invited guests.
Weddings are usually the #1 topic of gossipy conversation. People want to know EVERYTHING in advance. It should not be too hard to get the message out that you have a definite start time for a sit-down dinner.
Word of mouth definitely helps. For the invite, perhaps something like"Ring Ceremony and Dinner Reception, 7PM, etc." If there's a ceremony, you'd hope that most people can take the hint and arrive on time.
myra at www.classysassyweddings.com