I Want a Small and Intimate Wedding Ceremony—Can I Invite Most Guests to the Reception, Only?

Updated 03/11/14

Happy Confetti Photography

So, you've decided to keep the wedding ceremony very small and intimate. We love that idea—the ceremony will definitely feel more cozy, personal, and special. But is it OK to invite only a handful of guests to the ceremony, and then everyone else to the reception to follow? Or will people be offended? Our wedding etiquette experts are here to answer your wedding invitation questions in our daily post.

__I'd like the wedding ceremony to be small and intimate—can I invite most guests to the reception, only? __

Yes, it is certainly acceptable to extend an invitation to only the reception. More and more couples are going this route, choosing to have an intimate, private ceremony with just family and closest friends, followed by a larger reception with everyone else. (However, it's never acceptable to extend an invitation only to the ceremony if you're also having a reception.)

Just keep in mind that some guests may feel a bit bummed about missing out on the poignant part of your wedding day. To make sure everyone is aware and comfortable with the decision, it's important to announce it in advance; otherwise, you may risk some hurt feelings from guests who had hoped to witness the ceremony. First off, you will need to print two sets of invitations. The first set should list both the ceremony and the reception information, while the second should invite guests to the reception, only.

Once the RSVPs start trickling in, stick to your guns: Some guests may try to pressure you into inviting them to the ceremony also. But if you make one exception, you'll invariably have to make another one. So stay strong and don't go back on your original decision. Just be sure to convey how excited you are to party with them at the reception.

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