Wedding Invitation Q&As

Composing wedding invitations involves complex-and beautiful-etiquette guidelines. We RSVP to your urgent questions.

Inviting Guests to Reception Only

Q: My fiancé and I plan to have a small wedding ceremony with only our immediate families present. Afterwards, we’re inviting many guests to a country club reception. How should we word the invitations so that our reception guests will understand they’re not attending the ceremony? We don’t want to insult anyone but we do want our ceremony to be private. —Kingston, Ontario

A: You’re not alone. Many brides and grooms opt for a small, intimate ceremony followed by a large reception filled with other family members and friends. Since it’s a personal choice to have a very private ceremony, I doubt that the guests invited to your reception will feel slighted. In fact, they’ll probably look forward to a fun-filled party! But, if you’re in the least concerned, you could spread the word now about your decision so there are no surprises and, if you’re comfortable with the idea, consider videotaping the ceremony which you can then screen later on at the reception.

Invitations, if your parents are hosting the reception, should read as follows:

Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Markham
request the pleasure of your company
at the wedding reception of their daughter
Suzanne Marie
Jonathan Paul Hollings
Saturday, the 26th of May
at six o’ clock
Arbor Hills Country Club
Kingston, Ontario

Include an R.S.V.P. with your address in the lower left-hand corner, or enclose a separate response card. For those intimates invited to the ceremony, include a separate ceremony card as well.

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I have a few friends who included a Save the Date magnet in their wedding announcements. It was pretty helpful - I attached the invitation to my fridge using the magnet provided, and then on the day of the wedding, when I was scrambling to get out the door on time, I was able to quickly locate the invitation for directions. For my Save the Dates, I did a postcard. However, I still like the idea of including a magnet in the actual invitations. My invitations will have a pocket for the RSVP card, and I was thinking of including a magnet of my fiance and I there. Would this be OK, and if so, what would be the proper wording on the magnet at this point - would "Save the Date" still be OK?