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Laura Hunt

Ask the Experts


Question: I want my reception to be a gathering of family and close friends only. However, I would like to invite a much larger crowd to my actual wedding ceremony. The ceremony and reception will take place on the same day, but obviously at different times and places. Is this acceptable? How should I work out the invitation situation?

Answer from Johanna Kaestner
By Recommendation Only
Friends of mine solved this problem very cleverly. They invited all their friends to the wedding ceremony and served champagne and appetizers afterward.
Later, they went with the guests they had invited for the reception to a restaurant.
Good luck,

Question: We are considering an early wedding on July 4 so out- of-towners can leave later in the day and not miss an extra day of work. We are planning a brunch for the reception. Do we still have a band and music? Is brunch better to serve as a buffet? How formal can we go with attire and still be appropriate? thank you

Answer from Johanna Kaestner
By Recommendation Only

With the trend towards celebrate custom-designed weddings, you are free to have your food served or offered buffet-style. The same is true for the attire. You might not ask the guests to wear "black tie," however, you can choose any wedding gown and your husband, fathers, and groomsmen can wear tuxedos. You don't need to hire a DJ or a band; consider a harpist instead, because background music makes a celebration much more festive.
Good luck, Johanna

I hope you can help me; my fianc├ęe and I finally have our list together but the problem is the reception. We are having the reception at a museum with Art. We have a total of 200
guest that we are inviting to the wedding. However, we are only inviting 125 to the reception. This number consists of family, wedding party, and a few friends that are like family. How should we word the invitations and not offend people. We want all of our guest to know that we are having an invitation to eliminate people hearing where it is by word of mouth coming by w/o
invite. How do we word the inserts that indicate there will be a reception. Please help!

Answer from Elysia Heller
Elysia Heller Events

I have never come across this dilemma in my business. I have seen smaller ceremonies with more guests invited to the reception, but I have not seen the reverse, and I could not for the life of me find any reference to it in any of my books on etiquette. My own sense of propriety tells me that there is NO proper or polite way to tell your guests that they have been invited to the ceremony only and not included to attend the reception. I think the only conscionable way to handle this is to include those invited to the ceremony to the reception as
well, or if this is a matter of money, keep you guest list smaller for

Question: I am wondering if it is appropriate if I do not give a meat choice for a wedding dinner. Say only Fish or Pasta.

Answer from Cay Lemon
Zest Production

It has become more common in the last few years to have Fish or a vegetarian option for the entree. Many people have changed their diets and are eating less red meat.

Do most in-house caterer offer tasting appointments for the bride and groom prior to reserving the place? I'm very interested in having my wedding at a winery, but I was told tasting are usually arranged 2 months prior to the wedding. Is this pretty standard? or can I sample their menu before making any decisions?

Answer from Johanna
By Recommendation Only
Tastings vary from caterer to caterer and from venue to venue. You should be able to talk to the caterer about the tasting and that you want it earlier. However, there might be some cost for you involved, because some caterers charge for their food. Usually this cost will be applied to your bill at booking.

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