Weddings, Vol. 5, Issue 14

Dear Etiquetteer:We are getting married later this year and are preparing a wedding website. We want to post information about the Friday night reception and Sunday brunch on our website (the wedding is Saturday afternoon and evening), but we’d also like to limit the guests at those two events to people coming from out of town that we don’t see very often. How should we word the events on our website to make that clear? Some ideas we had:
  • "Friday night reception by invitation" and "Sunday brunch by invitation."
  • "Friday night reception for family" and "Sunday brunch for family" (we’d then include invitations to these events in the wedding invitation mailing).
  • "Welcome reception for out-of-town guests" and "Sendoff brunch for out-of-town guests."

Will people understand who we mean by out-of-town guests? Because, only a handful actually live in the town where we’re marrying. What a challenge. Any advice would be great!Dear Betrothed:You know, Etiquetteer’s learning quite a lot about this wedding website phenomenon, and it is just amazing what people are doing out there . . . in a good way. It’s such a help to a wedding guest (especially one who’s traveling) to be able to go to one source for hotel reservations, maps and directions to the house of worship and the reception hall, and answers to the many questions wedding guests always have.But Etiquetteer has some concerns about what you want to do. It’s never good manners to talk about a party in front of people who aren’t invited. You really can’t avoid that by referring to these additional events on a website that all your wedding guests will read. It will be easy for someone to assume they’re invited to all three events. You may be opening yourself to some confusion and hurt feelings. Etiquetteer worries that the ill-bred (and we all know ill-bred peeople) will be tempted to ask why they weren’t invited if you put "by invitation only." One should NEVER ask why one was not invited; one might find out . . .If you are bound and determined to include these events on your wedding website – and Etiquetteer isn’t entirely sure that you should – then you should be very specific and refer to them as "Out-of-Towners Welcome Reception" and "Out-of-Towners Sendoff Brunch." Etiquetteer defines "out-of-town guests" as "anyone sleeping in a bed not their own" on the nights before and after the wedding. Even so, don’t be surprised if some locals show up with the excuse "Well, we saw this on your website and thought we should be here."Readers, what do you think? Please share your opinions with Etiquetteer at query <at> the way, you are quite correct to send a separate card for each event in the wedding invitation. Etiquetteer wishes you both long life and happiness, both before and after the wedding!

Dear Etiquetteer:Don’t you think it would be nice for someone to champion the return of the Morning Wedding and the Wedding Breakfast? This would include a luncheon for the famished wedding party, closest family and long-distance guests who cannot readily find a place to eat lunch if they require it, and old-fashioned afternoon Reception (light tea-type foods, punch and/or champagne, cake and dancing. Couples would have much more choice of venues (churches and halls and whatnot) and it would not cost nearly as much if they did not want to spend a lot of money. And people could drive home while it was light during much of the year.Dear Early Bird:Indeed, it sounds charming! Etiquetteer has attended many weddings over the last 38 years at all times of day and night, and some of the loveliest have been morning or afternoon weddings. Etiquetteer is happy to join you in your call for a return of the Wedding Breakfast, not least because of Etiquetteer’s fondness for eggs benedict and champagne.Of course, now it’s all your fault that Etiquetteer can’t stop singing "A Frog Went A’Courtin’." 

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