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HELP!! How do we let our guest know?

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#1 Msklee

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    Posted 08 March 2009 - 08:11 PM

    Hey ladies, Here is my problem and I will give the short version. My FI orginally planned to get married @ The Riu n Ocho Rios, JA on 10/25/2008 will we had to postpone the date because of my mother's lung Cancer. We took our saving to help with some of her medical expenses. Then we ran into trouble with our house, we had to wait until the intersted rate became secure so that we could refiance our home. We finally got everything settle but now we have another problem. We are having a small civil ceremony May 2009 with family. We would like to have a small celebration dinner,we have found a nice resturant that will give us room for privacy. The room will hold 80 people. We have paid for a 7 day cruise for our honeymoon.
    Ok, now here is the hard part, we can't afford to pay for dinner for everyone.We would like to invite our family and friends to come and celebreate with us but they would be responsible for their own meals. How would we word that on a annoucement/invitation. I do have a menu with prices to offer them choices We are not looking for any weddings gifts. Just being with our famliy and friends will be enough.

    #2 lolkitteh

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      Posted 09 March 2009 - 05:32 AM

      Firstly, I'm sorry to hear about your mother. I hope that she is doing well now! It seems like a very tough situation, particularly in these hard economic times that affect everyone.

      This is a rather sticky situation, from an etiquette standpoint, since there is really no polite way to invite someone to a wedding celebration event and ask them to pay for themselves, nor is there any polite way to request no gifts on an invitation. When you take on the the responsibility of "hosting" a wedding, it means from an etiquette standpoint, among other things, that you bear the costs of entertaining and feeding your guests. I understand your intent and sitatuation, but I think you risk the possibility of offending someone by asking them to pay their own way. I'm sure you don't mean it this way, but the perception of some people might be that you could afford to pay for a lavish 7-day cruise for yourselves, but now you are asking guests to fund and pay for your wedding.

      Rather than hold a dinner at a place where you cannot afford to fully host your guests, perhaps you can consider a party that is more affordable that you *can* fully host. A BBQ at home, a simple reception with cake and punch, a lunch instead of dinner, a less expensive venue, or simply having a smaller guest list. I think having a less elaborate wedding celebration would be preferable to asking guests to pay for themselves.

      #3 JulieG

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        Posted 09 March 2009 - 06:34 AM

        I have to agree with lolkitteh, you can't have a wedding celebration in any sense and ask people to pay for themselves. You are going to have to do something that you can afford, like just cocktails and appetizers or finger foods or something like that. Lunches or Teas are usually cheaper and still a very nice way to have a wedding reception. Or you could just invite as many people as you can afford to pay for.

        I am sorry to say it, but I really do not think you should invite people and ask them to pay for themselves. I personally would not come to a wedding event where I was told I needed to pay, I would just find it rude. This is why we never had an AHR, the more we thought about it, the more we thought it would just be waaay to expensive to do it the way we wanted, so we opted not to have one at all. Its like when I get an invitation for a wedding shower that says "monetary gifts only", I always always bring a gift instead, why, because I think its rude to ask people for money, I give gifts for showers and money for a wedding, and that is my choice, if I am told to do it differently I get pissed off.

        Does that all make sense? I really think you just need to do something you can afford to pay for even if its just appetizers (I went to a wedding that did this once and it was really beautiful) just mention in the invites that its just appetizers so people are not expecting dinner.

        Sorry to hear about your mother and I hope she is on the road to recovery.

        Good luck with whatever you decide.

        #4 JulieG

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          Posted 09 March 2009 - 06:34 AM

          oops, double post. Please delete me mods :)

          #5 Scarletina

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            Posted 09 March 2009 - 02:14 PM

            First off, I am sorry to hear about all the struggles you have had with your wedding plans. I thought of a few suggestions for you that might be better than asking guests to pay for their own dinner.

            I think the obvious thing you are struggling with is money so why not make it less expensive to provide something for your dinner. Why not do a park or backyard reception with just some appetizers and drinks or even do it pot-luck style. That way you are asking them to come and it's not putting them out to bring one dish. Even if you only ask your closets family members to each bring two things you would have plenty to feed a solid group of people. You of course would not put this on your invitations instead you will speak with each of the people you are asking to bring something in advance and get them to agree.

            If you dont like idea of making your own food etc why not just send out cards that announce your marriage and then wait until you can afford to take your friends and family to a dinner before doing the reception? If you waited a few weeks or months maybe you could afford something? Otherwise, cut down the list of people to a managable number that you could afford to pay for.

            Lastly, look at caterers rather than restraurants. Caterers are almost always less expensive than restuarants for dinner and this way you can get the best of both worlds- you can have a reception that you pay for at a much lower cost.

            Again, so sorry that you are struggling- hope these ideas help!



            #6 Michelle613

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            • 331 posts

              Posted 09 March 2009 - 03:00 PM

              So sorry about your situation! Good luck and let us know what you decide to do.
              Michelle & Arsen
              Dreams Cancun June 10, 2010http://img.weddingco...r/qmwm5sy8q.png

              #7 JaimeLynne

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              • 4,791 posts

                Posted 09 March 2009 - 03:18 PM

                I'm really sorry for all that you've had to deal with - you guys were very generous in helping your Mother with her hospital costs, and it just doesn't seem fair!

                That said, I had to laugh at Julie's totally honest response! Probably not what you'd like to hear, but better to hear it here rather than from annoyed guests.

                I know in our AHR case, my Aunt (my family is helping to throw the event) asked if I thought it would be ok to do a cash bar and I said absolutely not - I think that is tacky personally.

                I really feel for you guys though! i know you have your own dreams, and you've already had to cut those down. But I agree that you shouldn't ask your guests to pay for themselves - it probably won't fly very well. It is so unfair for y'all because of your circumstances, but I think that's how some of the guests will see it (unless everyone invited knows of your circumstance - in that case you know them better and would have a better idea if they'd want to do that or not.

                I agree with the other girls - either scale it down to the people you can afford to pay for, put it off until you can afford what you're wanting, or forgo the fancy room and either have it at someone's house or another free venue. When my family threw our Engagement party, they used my Dad's house and rented some tables and the family cooked for everyone. The women loved helping out! Going along this route, maybe you could ask a couple family members to provide bottles of alcohol, others silverware, others a cake, etc. etc. And make it clear to them that this truly is the best gift they could give you!

                Regardless of what you decide, I am sure you are going to have a wonderful celebration because you already seem like a very wonderful and dedicated couple.


                ~ Jaime & Martin ~
                "Rain or Swine! 2-0-0-9"

                We had 24 people attend our wedding in Las Caletas, Mexico on May 24th, 2009!

                We all stayed at The Marriott in P.V., and Honeymooned at The Royal Plantation in Ochos Rios, Jamaica!

                #8 Msklee

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                • 21 posts

                  Posted 10 March 2009 - 10:03 PM

                  Thanks ladies for all the good advice. We still have not made a final decision. We will probably end up just going out to dinner with family & friends. We are not trying to have a fancy celebration. We would only be inviting about 20-25people if we have that many. I just don't want my wedding day to be just like any other day. All of the people that we would invite are aware of our finanical situation so that would understand. I guess I am thinking this would be just like friends and family getting together to celebrate a special occasion,(B-day job-promotion,graduation etc). But I do appreciate all of your suggestions. I haven't given up yet. Thanks so much for all of your help.

                  #9 lolkitteh

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                  • 167 posts

                    Posted 11 March 2009 - 03:52 AM

                    If you really think you will go this route, then I would strongly recommend that you handle the after-ceremony dinner not with an invitation, but rather as an announcement that you will be having dinner together at X restaurant. That frees you from having "invited guests" (which implies a host, for which no guest should ever be expected to pay) to people who are joining you for a get-together afterwards.

                    In this case, you would not send out an invitation, but an announcement of your wedding, with perhaps a notation such as "Following the ceremony, Mr. & Mrs. Msklee will be dining at restaurant X. Friends and family may opt to join them for a (choose appropriate wording, such as "no-host" or "dutch treat") meal at that time." This thus implies that people are not invited guests, but will merely have the option of joining you for a get-together if they so choose. If you are going to have issues with headcount (as in, you need numbers to give the restaurant), then I would get a close friend to organize this for you, so you don't give the appearance that you are really inviting people and asking them to pay.

                    The reason why you never "invite" someone (even close friends and family) without fully hosting an event such as a wedding is because it is an event where you honor yourself. If you ask people to then pay for an event that honors you, then the underlying message is that you are saying to people, "Honor me, and pay for it, too", which creates an awkward situation for all involved. If you have a close friend manage the process for you, that divorces you from the situation. Having a friend organize it would be far more graceful than "inviting" people yourself and then asking them to pay.

                    I do think you should weigh the risks of doing any of the above vs. simply throwing a celebration that you can afford - cocktail/appetizer receptions, lunches, or dessert and coffee receptions can be really nice and inexpensive. Among multiple hits, Googling the issue brought up at least these two threads about the same question. Responders on these boards were far less gentle about their opinions on the matter.

                    Message boards

                    Invitation Wording - Guest Pays for Own Meal at Reception - The PASH Wedding Forums and Message Boards

                    Whatever you do, good luck and best wishes! I sincerely hope you at least come close to having the wedding of your dreams.

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