Is it OK to Just Have a Wedding Reception?

Even if you eloped several years ago, you can have the party you missed when you're ready. Wedding etiquette doesn't dictate how long after marriage you can host a reception, so you can even organize a wedding just for receptions on an important anniversary, such as a one-year, five-year, or 50-year celebration. Before creating a guest list, it's important to consider the cost of food, drinks, and other necessities like cutlery, tables, and chairs per person. It's essential to confirm attendance for the ceremony and reception.

If you've committed to attending, it would be rude not to show up. Of course, there are exceptions like sudden illnesses, family emergencies, or unbeatable traffic. Life happens and if you're forced to cancel or be late for a wedding reception, that's understandable. But simply wanting to avoid the ceremony of lighting the candles or listening to Pachelbel's Canon en re is no excuse.

It's a way of thanking the guests for being able to celebrate your wedding day with you. If you're not interested in hosting a wedding reception or don't want to go through the stress of planning one, there are other options. Keep in mind that it's usually not allowed to drink alcohol on church premises (ask the clergyman), so it's impossible to drink champagne in the cemetery. If you plan to offer food offsite, research what you can and can't do; search for catering companies in your area and get a price list of wedding meals per person.

The Wedding Secret is an online resource and community that connects potential bride and groom with specialized wedding companies in their local area. Originally, the wedding breakfast was for the wedding party while the bride and groom left at noon on vacation. Many reception-only weddings don't even have a bridal party or are small with a bridesmaid and best man. Emma Arendoski is a leading wedding expert, event planner, published author (The Inspired Wedding + The Handcrafted Wedding), podcaster and executive director of Emmaline Bride.

It's helpful to choose an outfit that complements the tone and theme of your wedding; if you're planning a big ballroom reception with elegance, opt for a formal dance dress. However, if you want to offer self-service drinks to guests, that's fine too - especially in the case of a backyard wedding. Yes, it may be that you and your partner desperately want to have the legal side of a wedding and then call it quits. Once you visit a few locations (plan at least two or three), it'll be easier to imagine what your wedding will be like just for one reception. On the other hand, many brides still want to go big and a traditional wedding dress is definitely acceptable for a wedding just for a reception.

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