Public Wedding – Private Reception wording invitations

I am trying to help friends out with their invitation wording. They are having a public wedding of 300+. However, they can only have 150 at the reception. They need some wording to place on their invitations about the reception. Something to the extent of “Due to space limitations, the reception is by invitation only”. But it needs to sound classier or at least have a smoother flow. Any suggestions?

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Dear Helpful Friend,

There is no way to word this because it is not polite. You can’t invite 300+ to a wedding and not invite all of them to the party (reception). This is like telling them that they are good enough to watch you get married and to give a gift, but not good enough to invite to the party (this would cost the couple).

The couple will need to pare down their guest list or find another venue for their reception.

Best wishes,


Just a thought…I dont think that it is neceassarily that easy to just cut down the list or find a reception hall that will accomodate more people.

My Fiance are sending Regular Invitations to all of our Guests with the time of the Ceremony, etc. Then we are sending a Respond to card to everyone that we will be inviting to the Dinner and Reception (due to limited space), and then a Reception card to those we were unable to include for dinner…People will be understanding to the fact that at times there is limited space…

Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites

We are telling this bride what is socially acceptable as per etiquette standards. You can choose to handle your wedding invitations and reception in any manner you choose.

What you suggest is not proper etiquette , though.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

I completely agree that it is not proper.

Your guest will not understand that there are three tiers of importance. What you are doing is telling your guests that some are important enough to watch you get married, but not to party with. Some are important enough to share your wedding and dinner. And, some are only important enough to … don’t completely understand what they are invited to attend. They won’t either.

From what you are saying here is that you are not using invitations correctly or being considerate to your guests. Would you like to be treated as such? I sincerely hope that you rethink this idea.

We all have limited budgets. We have to learn to live within them. Sometimes this means that we have to have less and invite fewer people to our events. It really isn’t that difficult. This your guests would understand much easier than to be invited to a pared down evening when they know that some of your guests are invited to the big bash.

Best wishes,