Open House Reception After Small Ceremony How Do We Handle Gift Registry And Invitations?

We are having a small wedding with just our immediate family and and closest friends. It is an out of town wedding and our list goes from inviting 30 to having to invite 115. We are financially strapped so we are trying to make the most of it without going into dire debt. We are planning on having an Open House style reception at my in-laws 6 weeks after the ceremony.

We will be providing all the food, snacks, and alcohol as well as seating and video and pictures of the ceremony. 99% of the 100 people invited to the event know about the small wedding and understand. My question is I don’t know how to word the invites that we are sending to everyone, and what to say when they ask us where we are going to register when we didn’t plan on it nor are we expecting to receive gifts from our guests, although we know most will still show up with one.

Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites, Inc®, a wedding planning guide, and Recent Mother of the Groom –

You have your priorities in the right place. Good for you!

I’m not sure about the wording of the invitations for an open house reception, I’ll leave that to Rebecca, our resident etiquette expert, however, it is perfectly acceptable to have a provate ceremony and larger reception (meaning you can invite guests to the reception even if they are not invited to the wedding. It’s the other way around that is a problem).


We never expect gifts for a reception anyway (gifts are only expected from wedding guests) and there would never be a mention of gifts on a wedding or reception invitation. But, as you mention, many either don’t know that or they want to send the couple a token of their well wishes in the form of a gift. Since we know that, just let anyone who asks know that you aren’t expecting gifts and you’re not registered (if that’s the case). If they want to choose a gift on their own then, of course, that’s their prerogative.

It sounds like a nicely planned event.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Great advice as always. The wording of the invitations should be informal, just informing guests of the title of the event (open house celebrating our wedding) time period of the event, date, and location. Perhaps something like: You’re invited! Open house wedding reception… .

If you do register, it is fine to inform people when they ask.