We got married this Saturday. It was a very small reception with mainly family. We were unable to invite all of our friends due to venue capacity being only 70 people, and also due to our budget.
Here we are on Monday back at work, and so many people are upset both at me and my now-husband. They are hurt that we didn’t invite them. My questions are:
- Is it appropriate to have a small gathering at our house for all of our friends?
- How soon should we host, or no later than how many months?
- Do we wear our wedding attire?
- How do we word the invites?
Yep, this sounds about par for the course when it comes to small weddings and elopements. A lot of the drama can be minimized prior to the wedding with rules for keeping your guest list small, and how to approach not inviting some family. But since we’re past that, it’s time to triage the damage.
First, it’s totally acceptable to host a post-wedding party at your house for the extended guest list you weren’t able to invite… It’s also equally acceptable not to do that! Weddings are expensive, challenging, and guest lists are up to your discretion. But if you want to host something, you may be able to assuage your guilt and mend some fences, if that’s important to you.
Post-wedding party timing
In terms of timing, I’d suggest that you aim to have the gathering less than six months after the wedding (or if not, at least let those disappointed friends and family know that it’s in the planning stages). That alone should get everyone breathing a sigh of relief that they’ll eventually get to celebrate with you.
You absolutely do not need to wear your wedding outfits again unless you want to. If the party is casual, rock your coolest casual wear. If you’re going for a more formal vibe, feel free to dress up. That’s your call.
Post-wedding invitation wording
This is where wedding announcement wording is pretty applicable. Here’s one option you can customize to your situation:
With great joy we announce that we were married on
Saturday, June 4th, 2015
in [your venue location]
Our painfully small [guest list/budget/venue/whatever] meant there were many loved ones we were not able to invite. We deeply missed having you there, but you were in our hearts.
We are having a larger gathering to celebrate with all the people we love. Please join us at [venue, time, date] to share in our joy.
Please: absolutely no gifts!
Note that last line there: there are some people who are extremely sensitive to any wedding-related event being seen as a “gift grab.” We think the whole concept of a gift-grab is silly — why would anyone spend money to throw a party to try to get stuff you might like, when you could just spend your money to buy stuff you know you’ll like!? But still, you want to ensure that you’re very clear that any post-wedding reception-type gatherings are YOUR gift that you’re giving your community — NOT an attempt to receive gifts.
If, for any reason, you don’t want to throw another party (which is totally legit!), feel free to opt out and maybe plan a few small outings, dinners, or smaller get-togethers with little groups of folks. There are definitely no hard and fast rules here.