Again with the old rules: the host invited as many people to the church as the bride and groom wanted, filled the church to the rafters. Since the ceremony used to be the important part of the wedding day, and the cheaper part, that is where the guests were invited to. Only the chosen few got reception cards in their invitation. And with the old rules, people could go to the church without an invitation, church members often did that. New way: a handful of people go to the church for an intimate ceremony, and everybody goes to the reception, which costs a fortune. To me the new way is weird, how do you know that the bride at the reception got married? Did the guest see it? She is wearing a bridal dress? It is as if they are ashamed of the ceremony, or wanting to get it over quick to get to the reception. We are getting farther and farther away from having the reception mean anything. It is just another party these days. Some of the excuses to do this the new way are to me, well, lame. The groom is shy and afraid to stand up at the alter with a crowd watching. But he can go to the reception, get stinking drunk and act like a fool in front of a hundred people? We are not very religious. Well, what are you having a church ceremony for then, your mother? She can't be pleased that 5 people are in the church for the wedding. Tell your sister that the people attending the church part still gave presents, they were taken to the bride's parents house[since she still lived there] before the wedding day. the idea of the gift is to recognize the marriage, wish the bride and groom well, and buy them something to start their lives together. These days a present is the ticket to the reception, only those that are sure to bring a great expensive gift are invited.