Q: “How do I Invite Friends or Family Just to the Ceremony?”

You walk a fine line with that one cousin you see every other odd-numbered leap year when you want to invite them just to the ceremony and not to the reception. Essentially you are telling them that you are obligated due to years of lineage and a single matching thread of DNA to hang out with them, but you’ll be shamed if you actually have to hang out with them.

While most suggest that it’s incredibly rude to not include everyone in both the ceremony and the reception and would only create both heartache and angst for both sides of the table, the subject of this article is How to Tactfully Invite not, How To Do What Everyone Else Is Doing. Trust me, that would be much easier but wouldn’t solve your problems nonetheless.

Since you’ve already opted for the slippery slope I’ll do my best to be your sled and keep you safe. Don’t be surprised if you get a couple of bruises along the way, but hey, you play with rocks and you’re going to get a bruise or two.

Artfully craft two invitations – one for your real friends who are invited to both sections of your wedding extravaganza and another for those who you wish to be present for the union between you and your soon to be spouse followed by cocktails and small plates. The trick is you have to actually shell out the money for a decent mid-round act involving good drinks and hors d’ouerves in between the ceremony and reception. This will create the cooling down period for your friends and family to create the allusion that this is the final stage.

The next act requires some high-wire precision in shuffling guests to a venue in a completely different location. It would take some major juevos to invite friends or family to a ceremony where the reception is at the exact same location and then just assume they would go home and not usher themselves to the table right next to the buffet. Surely you aren’t that arrogant. Putting the location of the reception in a different area after the lovely drinks and finger foods will help segregate the two crowds while still leaving a good taste in the mouths of those who weren’t invited to both and who were the none the wiser for it.