wording for “pre-wedding” reception

We are having a small beach wedding on a Mon. at sunset. Just our families will be there and will join us for a casual dinner after the ceremony.

We decided to have a reception for the families and our local friends THE DAY BEFORE the ceremony because we know all of our friends will be available on that Sun. So this is sort of a pre-wedding celebration/reception.

But our local friends will not be invited to the beach wedding the following day due to the limited space to park and limited space on the small beach.

My finance and myself are hosting. We are also requesting no gifts. We do not want to ask them to donate to charity on the invitation, but will be willing to suggest our favorite charity in lieu of gift should anyone ask us directly.

This reception will also be on a boat so it is very important that no one is late. This will hold up the boat from leaving.

How do we
1) word the invitation for the Sun. “pre-wedding” reception?
2) stress to be on time?
2) how do we handle the no gifts situation?

Thank you

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Dear Bornplaydie,

I’m not quite sure since this is improper. We don’t host our receptions before the wedding because it would be a prewedding party, not post. Prewedding parties are often thought of as gift giving events. And, we only invite those invited to the wedding to all prewedding events. Thus, the problem with your party plans. It would be better to host this the week after your wedding.

We don’t mention gifts on invitations, even if we don’t want any. Gifts are given for the wedding, not the reception. So, your idea of only informing guests of your charities verbally is best. And, an itinerary of the boat time schedule could be included in your invitations.

Best wishes,