Wedding Invitation Wording for Reception Only

 
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If you’re planning an intimate ceremony with a large celebration afterward, wedding invitation wording for reception only is crucial.

Maybe that dream chapel you’re getting married in has limited seating. Or, you’re having a destination wedding with a stateside reception at a later date.

No matter the reason, the good news is that it’s totally acceptable to have an intimate ceremony followed by a party-of-the-century afterward.

Let’s just make sure those invitations are carefully worded, mmmkay?

Because if you only have 50 seats in that chapel you’re getting married in and 150 people show up–you’ve got a big issue.

It’s important to make sure reception-only guests know that they are not invited to the ceremony. Likewise, it's important for guests invited to the ceremony and reception to be aware they can attend both celebrations. 

Learn the dos and don’ts plus get a few quick samples of wedding invitation wording for reception only weddings in today’s post.

 
 
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Quick Tips Before Getting Started:

There are a few basic things to keep in mind when planning this type of celebration. (There good ones–pinky promise! And they’ll help you keep your head on straight organizing both events.)

follow this one rule

If you only read one thing, read this: All ceremony guests must be invited to the reception, too.

So, yes, even your Aunt Mae (who hates staying out past seven o’clock) should be invited to your reception if she is also invited to the ceremony.

However, the rule doesn’t apply the other way around. You can have a small ceremony followed by a large dance-til-dawn reception.

Make two separate guest lists

Plan two separate guest lists. One list will include those invited to the ceremony and reception. The second list includes those invited to the reception only.

do you need two separate invitations?

If your wedding and reception are on different days, you will likely need two invitations for each event. One invitation will be for your wedding ceremony. The second invitation will be for your reception–i.e. if you’re having a destination wedding with a stateside celebration a few months later.

If both events are on the same day, the main invitation should to include reception details only. Then, include a smaller insert card with ceremony details. Your ceremony insert card will only be included in envelopes being mailed to guests who are invited to both events.

don’t skip rsvp cards

The same rule applies here as it does with wedding invitations. A reply card should be included in every envelope so you can get an accurate head count for both events.

Now that you know the basics, I want to tell you a lil’ bit about my Reception Invitation Wording Guide, that goes along with this post. It really dives into the traditional (and grammatically correct!) approach to weddings invitations, plus it has plug-and-play wording samples to make your own!

Did I mention it is free? Pop your details in below, and I’ll see you on the other side!

 
 

Wedding Invitation Wording for Reception Only

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the most important part of the process–wedding invitation wording for reception only events!

This part can be tricky, so here’s the deal: The key to phrasing this type of invitation is to announce your marriage, not invite guests to witness it.

Below are a few ideas for wedding invitation wording for reception only.

private ceremony, same day reception:

Formal, bride’s parents hosting:

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
request the pleasure of your company
at the wedding reception
following the marriage of their daughter
Anne Elizabeth
to
James Lucas Williams
on Saturday, the twenty-sixth of September
two thousand twenty
at half past six o'clock
Bragg-Mitchell Mansion
Mobile, Alabama

Informal, bride’s parents hosting:

With great joy
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
kindly invite you to a reception
celebrating the marriage of their daughter
Anne Elizabeth
to
James Lucas Williams
Saturday, the twenty-sixth of September, 2020
at half past six o'clock
Bragg-Mitchell Mansion
Mobile, Alabama

ceremony and reception on different days

Formal, bride’s parents hosting:

Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
are pleased to announce
the marriage of their daughter
Anne Elizabeth
to
James Lucas Williams
on Saturday, the twenty-sixth of September
in Paris, France

The pleasure of your company
is requested at a reception in their honor
on Saturday, the tenth of October
two thousand twenty
at half past six o'clock
Bragg-Mitchell Mansion
Mobile, Alabama

Informal, couple hosting:

We're married!

Please join
Anne and James Williams
for cocktails, dinner and dancing
to celebrate our marriage

on Saturday, the tenth of October, 2020
at half past six o'clock
Bragg-Mitchell Mansion
Mobile, Alabama

Wedding Ceremony Insert Card Wording

If you print two different invitations–one invite for wedding ceremony guests and one invite for reception guests–you can use traditional wedding invitation wording for your ceremony invitations and add a small reception insert with after-party details.

Here are some ways to word a wedding ceremony insert card.

private ceremony, same day reception

Formal, ceremony takes place inside of a church or place of worship:

The honor of your presence
is requested at a private ceremony
on Saturday, the twenty-second of September
two thousand twenty
at eleven o'clock in the morning
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Mobile, Alabama

Formal, ceremony takes place anywhere other than a church or place of worship:

The pleasure of your company
is requested at a private ceremony
on Saturday, the twenty-second of September
two thousand twenty
at eleven o'clock in the morning
Bragg-Mitchell Mansion
Mobile, Alabama

Informal: 

Please join us for an intimate ceremony
on Saturday, the twenty-second of September, 2018
at eleven o'clock in the morning
Bragg-Mitchell Mansion
Mobile, Alabama

Paper goods for a private ceremony and large reception can be overwhelming! Need a fuss-free way to keep it all together? Join the Wedding Stationery Library to gain free access to my favorite stationery resources, like my Wedding Reception Invitation Wording Guide with plug-and-play wording samples to make your own.

Rest assured, you’ll be well on your way to flawless reception invitations–without feeling overwhelmed!

Sign up to get all the need-to-know details, and I’ll see ya on the other side!