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Wedding Planning > Wedding Receptions

Wedding 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.  You'll need
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 more.)

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.



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