Lv 7
Baw asked in Family & RelationshipsWeddings · 1 decade ago

Too many guests, not enough reception?

My son has popped up with a short notice wedding. I will have to do the reception since the brides parents are unavailable. I have made it clear I can only afford a small reception for family only, but the guest list for the wedding keeps growing. It seams that friends and church members are inviting themselves. If they show up for the wedding are they also allowed to come to the reception? (It's at the church) Am I allowed to have a closed family only reception? I just can't afford the food and I only ordered a cake for 25. If it is OK to limit the guests for the reception, how would I go about it?

11 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I definitely understand your situation. When my husband and I became engaged, a lot of members of my parents church (my father's a minster) began "inviting themselves" as well. I think many of them get caught up in the moment. They naturally want to share in your special day because they've watched you grow up over the years. While it is always inappropriate to assume you are invited, or make comments like "I know I'm on the list", many do so anyway due to over excitement. In this situation, you just have to readdress these individuals and let them know that the couple has chosen to have a small ceremony with only close family. Be sure to only send invitations to the invited guests. Since the ceremony and reception is at the same location, you do not need separate invitations. If need be, you can always have a couple of hostess at the church greet your guests as the approach the reception and make sure they are on the guest list. If someone tries to attend who isn't only the list, simply have the hostess let them know that unfortunately the wedding reception is for close family only. As long as you do not publicly announce the date and time of your son's wedding, you shouldn't have any uninvited guests. Also be sure not to post any notices of his wedding in the church bulletin or newsletter.

    If your son would like to invite members of the church and cost is the only reason why the guest list has been limited, then you can always just have a cake and punch reception at the church. Even though you're already ordered the cake, you can order a few sheet cakes to supplement it and keep them in the kitchen. Then the cake you ordered can be displayed and cut for the cake cutting ceremony and guests be served from the sheet cakes in the back. But if you truly want to have a small affair, you have every right to do so and I would continue you with your plans as is.

    Source(s): Been there, done that...a minister's daughter
  • Lisa
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Tell your son he will have to cough up some cash if he continues to add to the guest list. Make it perfectly clear exactly how much you can afford to spend and how many guests that will cover. Anything over that, he and his fiance will have to pay for.

    If someone is invited to the wedding, they should also be invited to the reception. You could mail admittance cards for the reception along with the invitation to make sure uninvited people don't sneak in on the reception. You will of course need someone watching the door and collecting the cards.

  • 1 decade ago

    I've never heard of anyone just inviting themself to a wedding, that's way beyond rude. Your son and his fiance need to tell these people that it's a very small family only reception. Anyone can come to the church without an invitation, the church is a public place, but you can't just show up at a reception.

  • 1 decade ago

    A cake and punch reception is appropriate. That is what I did on a small budget. I had a small 3 tier wedding cake for the photos and a sheet cake to serve.

    I had cake


    mixed nuts

    cream puffs from Sam's Club

    and mints

    THAT'S IT! and it was still a fantastic party. I married a pastor's son. The whole church was invited. My husband and I paid for the reception because my parents have both passed away.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, it is rude for (1) your son to suddenly expect you to do a reception and (2) for people to invite themselves...but if you want the day to be nice for the bride and groom, I suppose you need to try and make it work.

    There are lots of ways to minimize expense when it comes to wedding receptions. First, instead of having a meal to feed people, have you thought of having a coffee and desserts reception? It's quite inexpensive to make things like your sons favorite cookies and your daughter-in-laws favorite dessert as well as have the wedding cake. And if you have a few types of flavored coffees and even some teas, then the guests have a bit more options of what to enjoy.

    Also, if you buy in bulk from places like Sam's Club or Gordon Foods then you can get really nice 'coffee house' type desserts (brownies, biscotti, cinnomon rolls, etc) for very little money.

    You can definately provide desserts for 100 people for $100 or less.

    All the best!


  • 1 decade ago

    My suggestion:

    If there's enough room for them at the wedding, let them come to the wedding. Then inform them that there will be a small gathering of family for dinner, and then open the reception up to everyone after the cake is done! If the reception hall is big enough, it's always free to dance! They want to celebrate with your son too, but should understand that not everyone can be fed.

    Source(s): My cousin invited the people she wasn't super close with to her reception after the food, and it worked out fine. They hadn't been invited to the actual ceremony though because it was a small venue, so I don't know how those details will work for you exactly...
  • 1 decade ago

    I think they should have two seperate wedding invitations. One for the wedding ceremony and one for the reception. For the reception invitations, make sure you write down only the names of the invites. If children are invited, include their names as well. Follow up with the reception RSVPs. At my wedding reception, I was only budgeted for 100 guests. It worked out good. If you're taking care of the reception, then you should have the final say, but still include your future daughter-in-law.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    The number of guests and the length of the party aren't connected. A general rule is that if you keep your guests for four hours or more then you have to give them an actual meal, not just snacks. It's OK if the meal is very casual though -- no requirement for table service or fancy foods as long as it's tasty stuff and there is plenty of it. You start counting your time from when the first guests arrive for whatever comes first. For instance if guests are invited to the ceremony and the ceremony begins at 1 pm, then by 5 pm you need to be serving food. If the party continues even later then you need to serve another meal around 9-10 pm. If there is a wait time between ceremony and reception, you don't get to play "that doesn't count" with those hours. It is up to YOU to provide for your guests, not up to guests to scout up a burger for themselves during "intermission" time. Don't worry about providing "entertainment" for every single minute of those 4 hours. Guests are expected to entertain themselves by having conversations and making new acquaintances. A wise host appoints a few good friends (the bridesmaids and groomsmen?) to be "social angels" who make sure no one is left out by making introductions, bringing wall flowers into groups, dancing with those lacking partners, and so on.

  • Lydia
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    People won't come to a wedding unless they are invited. You only invite those you want to come for the ceremony and reception, and ask for rsvp from them.

  • 1 decade ago

    Tell him that if he wants so many guests, he will have to find a way to pay for them.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.