Expert Planner Panel

Hello brides!

Creating your guest list can be a difficult task. Some people have gotten creative with ways of inviting guests. This week we asked our planners:

How do you invite guests to the ceremony only and not the reception?

Considering it? Here's what Expert Planner Dawn Schenkel, owner of Premiere Wed has to say about that:

"I believe it's a fast way to insult guests. They are left to feel like they are second on a list. The bottom line is budget and amount of space at reception site. If either of these are of concern, you need to switch venues to accommodate the size of guest list or you just cut the list down all together. Or… you have to increase the budget to accommodate them. Brides are trying so hard these days to stay under budget but in the end, I always ask the question, "How long will it take you to earn back or recoup the monies spent to have the wedding that makes everyone happy?" Is that time 6 months-a year? Or is it 6 years? It's a reality check for most of them to consider. In a world where they are constantly counting every penny, don't hurt the feelings of friends and family to save one.

The only circumstance that this scenario was appropriate for one of my clients was a teacher who had so many Kindergarten students that she loved and didn't want to exclude from her day, that she invited them and their families to the ceremony. Not reception. This was a sweet, and pleasing gesture for those kids. It turned out to be the perfect balance of wanting them involved but not going over budget to accommodate them at the reception."

Kelly Dellinger of Kelly Dellinger Events agrees:

"My strongest suggestion to brides hoping to do this is: DON'T. It's rude. I hate to shatter someone's hopes for their wedding, but please believe that it is much more kind to keep a guest list small and intimate than to try to "compromise" here! Feelings may be hurt by not inviting certain friends and extended family, but they'll be even more hurt if you don't let them come to the actual "party" portion of the day. There is nothing wrong with having a small wedding!!! I ENCOURAGE brides to keep their numbers low so they can actually enjoy the people who are present, rather than just seeing everyone for 30 seconds apiece and then jetting off. Where's the fun in that? And virtually no one wants to see their loved ones get married but not get to talk to them or enjoy their presence (which is what happens when you invite them solely to the ceremony). Tell your extended family and friends that you're limited by spacial or budgetary restrictions (whatever the truth is!) but still love and honor your relationship, and maybe take them out or host a dinner party to celebrate later!! I've always thought it'd be fun to host a wedding viewing party (if you hire a videographer) a few months down the road for people who are itching to "experience" the day -- this is especially great for couples who have destination weddings where it's impossible to have a large group travel for the real deal! By all means, don't force your friends to watch your wedding video if they have no interest (it could cause more animosity if hurt feelings still remain) -- but for the wed-obsessed or family that couldn't make it in, what a fun idea!"