Question from Becky:
The wedding & dinner will be for family only due to money shortage. But there will be a dance party at the same location, about 45 minutes after the dinner things are cleared away, that will include friends. Our question is – do you do the toasts, cake cutting, & special dances at the start of the dance party or at the dinner? We think at the start of the dance party but are not sure. We would like to invite everyone to wedding & dinner but it’s not feasible.
Answer from Bridal Expert Angela:
Hi Becky and congratulations on your upcoming wedding. It is improper etiquette to hold a dance party after a wedding reception, and to have two separate guest lists for the event. How would you feel if you were invited to your friend’s wedding dance, and not their ceremony or dinner reception? Proper etiquette is about the comfort of your guests, and your level of hospitality towards them.
Have you considered that you will need different wedding invitations?
The way people get around this is to have a separate party for their friends that weren’t invited to the wedding at a later date. This is usually an invitation "to celebrate the recent marriage of….". Often this is a home party, and sometimes it is a small banquet room, depending upon the budget of the couple.
People understand a family only wedding, and having a separate party later for those who didn’t make the "A" list is just a great way to celebrate with your friends. The party is just for them, and is an acceptable way to celebrate your wedding with them. You can have your wedding pictures there to share with them, etc.
Although inviting friends to the "dance" after the wedding is not proper etiquette, sometimes it is done. Normally, the speeches, toasts, cake cutting, etc. are done while the guests are finishing dessert, and are settling back with their coffee/tea after their meal. If you are inviting others to a dance party, all the wedding activities should be finished before they arrive. After all, they aren’t invited to the wedding, only a dance party. If you wait with the speeches, etc., you are basically saying to them, ‘you aren’t important enough for the meal’ but here is the rest of the activities. Think about how you would feel if you were the guest at such an event! It is in poor taste.
In the end, the choice is yours. With the cost of weddings today, the guest list is often the biggest problem, because the tendancy is to want to share your special day with everyone. Often, it just isn’t possible.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to email again.
Angela Fiebelkorn, Ask The Expert