Wedding invitation wording in general can be a tricky thing to navigate, but it can get especially sticky when you’re looking to invite people to only a wedding reception. This is becoming more and more common, though, especially in the wake of delayed or altered weddings due to COVID-19 lockdowns. With that being said, we’ve created a guide to help you word your reception-only wedding invitation. Reduce the stress, take the question out of it, and get your invites out into the world with ease!
Be Transparent About Your Ceremony
The first thing that you’ll want to do on your reception-only wedding invitation is be transparent about your ceremony so that there’s no confusion regarding what portion of your event your invited guests will be attending. One way to do this is to include the information on the invitation by saying, “Jane and Joe will be married in a private ceremony on May 11, 2022.” That way, your guests know that the ceremony is taking place privately and on a separate date or time. This communication is key.
Make it Clear it’s a Celebration
Another key aspect of wording a reception-only wedding invitation is to include verbiage that denotes it’s a celebration of your wedding, which insinuates that your ceremony has already occurred by the time of this event. You can word it as, “Please join us in celebration of our recent union at our wedding reception.” If your parents or families are to be included on your invitation, you can switch this to, “Together with our parents or families, we invite you to join us in celebration of our recent union,” or “Mr. and Mrs. Joe Smith invite you to celebrate the recent union of their daughter Jane Smith to Jack Johnson at their wedding reception.” This wording provides a lot of clarity.
Use the Term “Just Married”
Adding in the term “just married” to your reception-only invitation makes it clear that this event will not include a ceremony. Try using “just married” as a clever yet informative header on the invite and then add: “Please join us to celebrate the newlyweds at a reception celebrating their union.”
Try Something Clever
There are a lot of ways to word your reception-only invitation in a way that is clever and a play on your post-ceremony celebration. For instance, calling it a “happily ever-after party” is one way to do this, or denoting that your event is, “nothing fancy, just love” on the invite gives your guests a good clue. Another way to do this is by using the header, “oh yes, we did!” as a play on “I do.” Finally, for a couple who loves to indulge in adult beverages, use the theming of “wine and brews after the I dos,” for your reception-only invitation. These are more quirky and lighthearted phrases, but could definitely work if that’s the vibe you’re going for.
Announce an Elopement
If you eloped and are looking to celebrate with a more formal reception, feel free to denote that on your reception-only invitation. This provides another great header with simply the words, “we eloped!” at the top, which makes it clear that this event won’t include a formal ceremony.
Include a Ceremony Photo
Make it crystal clear to guests that your wedding ceremony has come and gone by including a photo of your official ceremony with this reception-only invite, provided your ceremony has already occurred. This is a fun way to show your guests rather than tell them, and it definitely takes the question out of it.
Be Clear About the Term “Reception”
All in all, as long as you include the term “reception” in your invite, you should be able to convey to guests that they’re coming for just a celebration rather than a full, traditional wedding. The term “invite you to a reception celebrating our/their marriage,” is pretty clear, so don’t get too hung up on potential confusion. Plus, you can always direct guests to your wedding website on your invitation, which is where you can really spell things out.
This breakdown really simplifies something that may seem daunting at first. Inviting your guests to just your wedding reception is a totally acceptable thing to do, and as long as you communicate it clearly, you’ll be set up for success!