Modern couples aren’t getting married the same way their parents did. They’re inviting friends and family to a destination wedding. They’re eloping on a mountain top. Or they’re simply saying “I do” in front of only the closest people in their lives.
But everyone loves a good party — including newlyweds! And that is why more couples are opting to only invite guests to a wedding reception. The celebration may be the same day as their private wedding ceremony, or it may be weeks or months later.
Regardless, you need wedding invitations that are specific to hosting a reception only.
Why Do Couples Only Host a Wedding Reception?
There are many reasons why couples are only hosting wedding receptions today. Some of the most common reasons are:
Previously thought of as an option for second or third marriages, the destination wedding has made a comeback with millennials who are using their marriage as an opportunity to get friends and family together for an epic vacation.
The idea is that those who really want to be at the marriage celebration are going to go through the logistics of travel planning to make it happen.
While some couples will get married at their out-of-town wedding, others opt to do a courthouse wedding back home and then only have a wedding reception at the destination.
Smaller, scaled-down weddings are also quite popular among millennials and the younger generations.
An increasing number of couples are getting married on their own and then hosting a private gathering in a backyard or at a favorite restaurant.
It’s a way of saving money, but also takes away the stress of visiting 20 tables to say “hi” to guests invited by your parents, that you don’t know.
The Ceremony Venue is Too Small
You might be forced to limit the number of guests you invite to the ceremony if the site is too small to accommodate a lot of people.
In this case, you’ll have to decide who makes the cut for the ceremony and send them invites for both the ceremony and the party. Those who don’t make the cut, such as distant family members and co-workers, would simply be invited to the reception.
Tips For Reception-Only Wedding Invitations
Since traditional wedding invitation wording includes wedding ceremony and reception information, there are a few tips and tricks you should follow when only hosting a reception to make your planning easier.
Make Two Separate Guest Lists
You’ll need a guest list for those attending the wedding ceremony and the reception, and then one for those who are only attending the reception.
This will help you stay organized when sending out your invites.
Design and Buy Two Separate Invitations
If there’s a ceremony that’s separate from the reception — and only a select few are invited to that ceremony — you’ll need two sets of invitations.
Don’t worry, you can keep the theme of those invitations the same. The invitation wording will have to be slightly different, though — one for the ceremony and one for the reception.
If You’re Invited to the Ceremony…
Then you are also invited to the reception. There isn’t an exception to this rule.
Of course, you can limit who is invited to your ceremony.
Wedding Invitation Wording Samples When Only Hosting a Reception
Here are some wedding invitation wording ideas to inspire you if you’re only hosting a reception.
Essential Wedding Invitation Information
Before getting into the actual wedding invitation wording, you need to make sure you include the essential information in your invitation. This is the same for the ceremony and the post-ceremony party.
- Names. Don’t forget to include names of the bride and groom. Formal invitations also include the names of the parents.
- Location. Include the name of the venue and its address. If you’re in a bigger city, you may want to also include the closest parking lot, or direct guests to your wedding website for additional information.
- Time. What is the absolute earliest time your guests can start arriving? This is the time you include on the invitation.
- Dress code. Sometimes, a reception-only wedding can be casual. If it’s a destination celebration, it might be on a beach. Let guests know if it’s casual attire, or typical wedding celebration attire.
Now onto wording inspiration for your invitation!
The Formal Reception
Mr. and Mrs. John Attwood
Request the pleasure of your company
At the wedding reception of their daughter
On Saturday, May 28, 2022, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Join us at Rowling Country Club
555 Golfers Drive, in Denver, Colorado.
We request a formal dress code.
The Modern Reception
Mr. and Mrs. John Attwood
Mr. and Mrs. Paul Greenfield
Are excited to invite you to celebrate the marriage of their children
With a relaxed wedding reception on Saturday May 28, 2022.
This party is being held at the Rowling Country Club in Denver.
We can’t wait to celebrate with you!
The Loving Reception
It’s with great joy we announce the marriage of
[Bride and groom’s name].
To celebrate that love, Mr. and Mrs. John Attwood
Request the honor of your presence at a reception at 5 o’clock in the evening Saturday, May 28,
At the Rowling Country Club in Denver.
The Casual Reception
Mr. and Mrs. [bride and groom’s name] — that’s right, we already got married during a private ceremony —
Invite you to a celebration of our love!
This is a fun, casual affair starting at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 28
At the Rowling Country Club in Denver.
Can’t wait to celebrate with you!
Short and to the Point
Join us for cocktails, dinner and dancing to celebrate our marriage.
Date and Time: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 28.
Location: Rowling Country Club in Denver
Reception Only FAQs
Now that you have some reception only invitation wording samples to work from, let’s dive into the other questions you may have about hosting a separate ceremony and reception.
How Far Apart Should I Spread the Wedding Ceremony and Reception Invitations?
For couples who are having their ceremony and reception on different days, you’ll send out the invitations the same as you would with a traditional invitation for both events on the same day.
Give your guests at least six weeks notice. You don’t need to send separate invitations to guests who are invited to both events.
How Many Guests Can Come to My Smaller Ceremony?
This is entirely up to you, but make sure the ceremony head count is considered private enough to warrant hosting a separate reception.
For example, if you have 50 ceremony guests and 60 reception guests, you probably should have invited everyone to both celebrations.
Most couples keep it to just their closest friends and family members.
Can I Wear Two Different Dresses?
This is your wedding — you can do whatever you want! So, yes, wear two different dresses if that is what you want to do — and your budget can accommodate the extra expense.
We can help you find the perfect designer wedding dress, if you need some inspiration.