Brides offer advice on a common planning dilemma
A wedding invitation is the first glimpse of the event to come that your guests receive, so making a first impression is an important aspect when choosing colours, style and paper. But perhaps most important is the words you use.
What if you want an 'adult only' reception? Or perhaps your reception hall is not big enough to invite everyone for dinner. Maybe you're on a budget and can't afford to pay for everyone's meal. How do you tell people these things in an invitation without being rude or making them feel left out? Brides in The Ring's chat forums have been fretting over what the proper invitation etiquette is when it comes to these dilemmas. Here's the advice that some of them give...
One suggestion, from Venusrockstar, is to put 'Adult Reception to Follow' on your invitation if you don't want little ones running around your event.
Or, LindaL put 'Two seats will be reserved in your honour' on her guests' reply cards, which hopefully implies that the seats are for the adults and not their children.
Stephenandlindsay, who are having a flower girl in their wedding, felt that they had to invite other children in light of this fact, so their "DJ is going to entertain them while the parents finish their dinners, and also play kid songs during the reception." Lindsay adds that if you're having trouble not inviting children, you could "set a time that the kids have to leave the reception, offer a babysitter that would watch them in another room, have games, books, movies and lots of blankets and snacks."
The experts say that the absence of a child's name on the invitation implies that he or she is not invited - and the parents probably won't mind having an evening away.
Now that that problem has been solved, what do you tell people if your ceremony site is too small to hold them all?
Stephenandlindsay says that you could specify on the invitation that there is limited seating, or there is standing room only (and possibly inform the most important guests that they should arrive early in order to get a seat).
sunshine114 was invited only to the reception of a wedding and suggests sending a reception card to guests that you don't have room for at the ceremony, stating that they're invited for dinner and reception, or reception only as the case may be. But how do you word this? 'Join us for a dance and celebration at 9:00 pm.' is what sunshine114 printed on her reception card.
ktuttle and her FH decided to have only family and the wedding party with their significant others at respective guests. One said: 'cocktails, dinner and reception to follow at 5:00...', and the other said: 'reception to follow at 8:30...'.
Or, as delilah_81 suggests, you could invite guests to a cocktail reception at a given time, which would imply that no meal is involved, "people come later, not expecting supper, but expecting drinks and possibly a late lunch."
Jessica14 adds that to save on cost, you could avoid sending reply cards for guests who are only invited to the reception "since they are just going to be dancing and celebrating and that doesn't need to be factored into cost."
A ceremony is open so even those who aren't invited to the dinner (or the reception for that matter) can watch you get married; therefore, it's kind of unnecessary to invite people to that. But if you want them to share in the ceremony but don't have room for them at dinner, then send them an invite with the time and location of the ceremony and leave out the details for the dinner and reception.
In the end, there's no need to worry, because more than likely everyone you invite will be supportive, understanding, feel privileged to be invited at all and excited to share your special day with you.
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