Receptions: Intimate Ceremony and Reception Family Only
My finance and I are paying
for our own wedding and are trying to keep costs down yet
would like something different than the traditional
"ceremony/ dinner/reception". We would like to have an
intimate ceremony and dinner with immediate family only.
Because this means leaving out many of people we would like
to have an evening 'reception' but are unsure of how to
recoup our costs. This reception would include the 'first
dance' and cake cutting - like a normal reception except for
the full dinner. We would be serving food but are unsure
what. Can you give me your advice/suggestions on the above
or other different wedding ideas?
I fully understand the limits of paying
for your own wedding, and also your preferences in how that wedding
will take place.
In a case like yours, you will need to decide what you can afford, as
well as what you would most like to do, to determine what your
specific options would be. In my experience, guests' reactions vary
when it comes to being invited to a reception and not the wedding.
to decide if who and what you'd like to include in the evening
reception will be worth doing-- and affordable-- or if there's some
other more reasonable and practical arrangement to make.
There is no reason, even if the guests are invited to the wedding as
well, that you need to provide a full dinner for your guests. If the
timing is not right at a normal mealtime, you can easily get by with a
"cake and punch" reception ("punch" referring to whatever beverage(s)
you prefer, of course) or some sort of cocktail/hors d'oeuvres
By limiting the number of guests (the most important budget-saving
strategy of all), and by limiting the variety of refreshments, you can
certainly keep refreshment costs down. Limiting
decorations/centerpieces will also keep you in budget.
There is also no reason, actually, that you *need* to have either a
cake-cutting *or* a first dance. Many weddings don't-- and you need
to think through if these traditions are that important to you to
bring guests out to see them.
You'll also need to think about the costs/logistics associated with
this--- location rental probably, some sort of decorated cake
(although that could be fairly simple and inexpensive, depending on
your tastes and expectations), and some sort of musical arrangements
(which could be as simple as a portable cassette player, but might be
I wish I knew a little more about why you are looking at the
arrangement you mentioned, and what other values/expectations you have
about your wedding. Do feel free to write me back with more about
that if you
Because in some ways, it seems like it would be nicer and a
more-efficient use of your money to cut the guest list way down to
immediate family plus closest friends (maybe only 20-30 people?) and
then have this group attend both the ceremony and a more-intimate
dinner celebration. Or, to wed privately and have this smaller number
of guests at reception/dinner.
Certainly you would miss seeing the wider reception guests, but every
couple has to decide to stop at *some* tier of family, friends,
co-workers, church members, etc. It's a matter of really thinking
through and prioritizing who you MOST want to share the
day/celebration, how much you want/can spend hosting them-- and how
best you can enjoy them and they can enjoy your wedding.
There are really no-end of other "non-traditional" ceremony/reception
options. Without knowing you better, it's impossible to really suggest
much intelligently, but I hope that these considerations help.
Whatever path your plans take, we wish you a wonderful wedding and
lasting happiness in marriage.