Family only - can I have just a ceremony?

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Almira Posts : 4 Registered: 2/28/11
Family only - can I have just a ceremony?
Posted: Mar 2, 2011 7:04 AM

Need advice!! My fiance and I are not really into the whole wedding reception. We don't dance, we don't drink and we don't like being the center of the attention. On top of that, we don't think its important to spend thousands of dollars on one day. We just want to marry each other and go home lol. Elopement is out of the question as it is the first wedding on both sides and my fiance's family (and probably mine) would really enjoy seeing us. We have no problem having them at our ceremony, but can't figure out what to do about a reception. I have searched tons of places...small banquet halls, restaurants etc. Its hard to find a private room that is the right size for about 30 people. Most are either too small or way too big. We figured a day time wedding with a lunch after would be ideal, because people will get the hint that its more casual, and will be less likely to drink - no open bar. I just can't figure out how to have a casual luncheon at a nice place, without having to go crazy with decorations, etc. I feel like if I do a luncheon, I have to go all out, because I would want it to look nice, but then that defeats the point of having something small and inexpensive. Can I just have a ceremony or how can I have something small? Has anyone had a get together with all invited the night before and then people go to the ceremony the next day? I think if we had the "reception" the night before we would be in normal clothes and it would be less formal...I don't know...any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!! Thanks!


BrighterThanSun... Posts : 853 Registered: 10/17/08
Re: Family only - can I have just a ceremony?
Posted: Mar 2, 2011 9:21 AM Go to message in response to: Almira

You do have to do something--but it can be very unlike the wedding receptions you see on TV and in bridal magazines.

A lunch at a restaurant sounds really nice. Trust me--there will be restaurants that can host 30 people in a private room in your area or in the next big city. They will usually offer a package that involves an appetizer, an entree on a dessert or some form of that.

Another option, if you have the room and if you are willing--is to host it at your house/backyard. I have hosted cocktail parties in the winter indoors and in the summer outdoors. Having a table of nibblies, a bar (some wine and beer on ice), some flowers and an itunes playlist could be done very cheaply. I host cocktail parties often in that way and it never costs me more than a few hundred dollars for 30 people. So if you have the space and are willing, it could be a great casual and affordable alternative.

You don't have to have that traditonal wedding reception--you just need to host a little function to show your appreciation for your guests. Nothing major.


Aunt Posts : 794 Registered: 12/31/10
Re: Family only - can I have just a ceremony?
Posted: Mar 2, 2011 10:48 AM Go to message in response to: Almira

Dear Almira,

"I feel like if I do a luncheon, I have to go all out,"

There's your problem. You are putting conditions on yourself, then saying that you cannot live up to those conditions.

You don't need to "go all out".

All you need to do is find a place with a private banquet room, engage the room, check out their banquet menu, get a list of guests and their food preferences (chicken/beef/fish/veggie), give your numbers to the sales and catering manager, then let them do the rest.

You might let the venue provide a cake, or ask them about bringing in a cake from a local baker.

That's all.

I used to be the program chair of a professional organization that had banquets every month. I planned 12 such banquets in a row. I was really nervous at first, but after a while it got easy, just as easy as I outlined above.

One final hint: Banquet menus are usually a bit cheaper per person that the same meal off the restaurant menu. Why? Because the restaurant gets their count ahead of time, and can order food exactly for the event. Because there is no waste, they can charge you less per head.


Dunebug Posts : 30 Registered: 11/8/10
Re: Family only - can I have just a ceremony?
Posted: Mar 2, 2011 11:36 PM Go to message in response to: Almira

If you can have your ceremony and reception in the same place, you only have to decorate once! If you consider having it outside, you might be able to save on decorations if you find an area with a sort of ambience that works with a wedding. A park, a garden, etc.

I'm sorry I can't think of any more specific suggestions... I blame it on the constant brain freeze that the 0 degree wind chill gave me today :)

I hope you're able to find something that works well for you!


chris42005 Posts : 89 Registered: 4/6/10
Re: Family only - can I have just a ceremony?
Posted: Mar 3, 2011 4:59 PM Go to message in response to: Almira

Find a nice restraunt you like, and talk with them. It will be fine.


bridehannah Posts : 17 Registered: 1/7/11
Re: Family only - can I have just a ceremony?
Posted: Mar 3, 2011 10:30 PM Go to message in response to: chris42005

I agree, you can find a lot of options for a lowkey event- even a champagne brunch or small cocktail reception, doing it all in one place will make it even less formal and planning intensive.


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