It’s a tricky situation, but due to the ever increasing cost of weddings, it is one that many modern bridal couples find themselves facing.
How do you tell someone (without creating lifelong hurt) that they’re welcome to the ceremony, but not the reception?
At the end of the day, honesty is the best policy. If you tell guests that you’re on a budget and only close friends and family are invited, most will (hopefully) understand, especially those who aren’t that close to you.
Let them know that though you can’t afford to invite everyone to the reception, you’d love to have them at the ceremony to share and witness what is, in truth, the most significant part of the day.
In days gone by, an invitation to the ceremony implied an invitation to the reception, but back then couples probably weren’t paying upwards of $100-a-head for the reception, as weddings were generally relatively informal gatherings, usually held at a home or church hall where the cost was significantly lower.
And, frankly, there’s no getting around the fact that someone invited to the ceremony who isn’t invited to the reception is probably going to be a little hurt, whether they say so or not. The only way to mollify that hurt somewhat is to be honest and explain that while you’d love to have them at the reception, you simply cannot afford it
Of course, that’s assuming your budget is the reason you can’t have them at the reception. For those guests you simply do not want at your reception, well, there’s really no way to explain that without discomfort on both sides, so you’re probably best not inviting those people to either the ceremony or the reception!
If it’s work colleagues you’re wondering about, some people simply hold a post-wedding bash just for colleagues when they’re back at work.