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Talkback: BRIDE WARS: Evening Guests – rude and unnecessary or a way to include everyone?

I had to decline a Evening invitation from my cousin (mums side of the family). Me and my sister both received evening invitations whereas my mum and her new partner received an invitation to the whole day! This made us feel a bit segregated from our own family. It's hard as the invitation was from 8pm in Hampshire. Both myself and my sister live 2 hrs drive away from the location (in opposite directions), whereas my mum will be there from 3pm. accommodation was £99 which I couldn't afford meaning I would have left by 10:30pm to catch the last train. 4 hours travelling to be at a reception for 2 hours. I know I should be grateful for the invite but I'd rather I didn't get one at all as now I seem rude for declining.

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  • Numbers are tight at my venue and picked it because of budget - so some invites are for the evening (due to max. Daytime numbers).

    They will understand if you decline but do it soon so they can invite someone else / save money on the space.

    When you plan a wedding it is not possible to make everyone happy. It is the bride & groom's day and they will need to do what is best for them!

  • MrsJ2017MrsJ2017 Posts: 3,017

    I think if someone is offended at an evening invitation to my wedding then they can just not bother coming.

    Day guests are people who we are really close to, we dont want a free for all. Evening guests are people we like and would like to celebrate with but who arent close friends or immediate family. Most cousins arent even invited because ee barely see them, same for aunts and unckes we dont see. A few are evening guests, and 2 are day guests.

    Sometimes logistics mean you cant attend, and thats fine, but that doesnt mean you should be getting a day invite, it means you should decline.

  • bella2015bella2015 Posts: 1,903 New bride

    Unfortunately having to separate day/evening guest lists is a part of most people's wedding planning. Those who can afford to have everyone there all day are extremely lucky. There were certain people that we wanted at our evening reception but not at our ceremony/wedding breakfast. These were people that we hardly see, distant family members etc, and unfortunately we did have cousins that fell into this category. 

    At the end of the day it's not the bride and grooms fault that you can't afford £99 for accommodation. 

  • MrsTraceyMrsTracey Posts: 837 New bride

    I think evening invites are just a part of weddings today, and it's a good way of having people there in some way rather than not at all. 

    I was in a situation where I was made to feel very guilty for declining an evening invite the other end of the country. It was very expensive to go and travel, and I wasn't hugely close with the bride. I said I thought it wouldn't matter as much as it was the evening do (admittedly, I probably could have picked my words a bit better, but what I meant was I didn't think it would be a big deal me not going.) The bride said "I can't believe you think you don't mean as much to us" and "we were so upset you couldnot make it" and the worst one "I wish you knew the stress of planning a wedding." (It was so patronising - and now I'm doing my own actually it's not all that bad!) 

    my point is, as a guest you can't be offended if you only get an evening invite (I certainly wasn't, I just knew I couldn't make it) but also you can't be offended as a bride of groom if evening guests decline. It works both ways and you're within your rights to say you can't make it. Having said that we have put people who we know are travelling a long way on our day guest list, as it's a bit unreasonable to ask them to travel for hours just for an evening, and we are planning to welcome all our evening guests with a welcome drink to make them feel like part of the celebrations. 

  • wed172Bwed172B Posts: 1,258

    I am having day and evening guests but felt that as my cousins would be travelling i should give them full day invitation, this did however mean i did not give their partners an invitation (they would be considered 'serious'  i guess but i have never met them and they arent married or anything) i dont think this went down too well as some of the cousins arent coming but i couldnt afford to invite all of them and all their partners. 

    I really dont think its rude to decline an invitation however and i'm sure the bride and groom would appreciate / be aware of the time/cost for you.

  • wed172Bwed172B Posts: 1,258
     and we are planning to welcome all our evening guests with a welcome drink to make them feel like part of the celebrations. 

    Same! I went to a wedding a few months ago as an evening guest and the bride and groom were nowhere to be seen for about the first half an hour as they were off having photos, i did feel completely out of it as we didnt know many people, werent sure what was happening etc and so i said to h2b straight away i want to make sure we are near the entrance to the venue available to meet guests and give them a welcome drink as i think it makes a big difference!

  • Ashley72Ashley72 Posts: 1,136 New bride

    I'm personally not a fan of evening invites but similarly not a fan of the idea of having all and sundry that you barely know at your wedding for the sake of upsetting distant relatives! I'm not particularly offended if I receive one though, as I appreciate everyone is different and some couples do struggle with budget and venue capacity limitations but for me personally I would choose keeping to a smaller wedding than having some people only come for the evening. We're getting married abroad and part of the appeal was a smaller guest list anyway and not having to make the decision about day/evening. I do think it's harder to avoid having evening guests at a 'home' wedding where more distant friends and acquaintances often assume they'll be a part of your day and it's cheaper and easier to stick a few more sausage rolls on the buffet and keep everyone happy!

    I don't think you can be offended when it comes to weddings because there are so many variables and what suits some couples will be polar opposite to what you might choose but there is very seldom malice in people's decisions. If you're not that close to your cousin to the extent that you get an evening invite, then I'd question how offended she could be at you turning it down. Personally I wouldn't be upset by anyone turning down an evening invite - they're not turning down seeing you say your vows (the important bit!), they're turning down a party, and I wouldn't be upset if someone couldn't  come to any other kind of party, particularly if I knew it was going to be logistically very difficult for them. It's not your cousins fault that you can't afford the accommodation etc but equally I don't think she's any right to get upset that you can't make it. I wouldn't worry about it. Politely decline, send a card and wish them all the best and move on! 

  • I'm personally not a fan of evening invites - I'm an all or nothing sort of girl - but I understand why people have them. Budget is a huge factor.

    I think its completely fine to send out evening invites and completely fine to decline them. Its only if couples start getting huffy about guests declining that I have an issue. Or if the guest declines in a super rude way.

    I was offered an evening invite to a wedding that would have involved travel and overnight accommodation. So I declined. I then got a stroppy text from the groom asking me why I didn't want to come to their wedding.

    Errmm... I would have thought the reasons were obvious?

    I'm not going to spend train fare and hotel costs for an evening invite, no matter how much I like the B&G. If the guests aren't important enough in the scheme of your day to get an all day invite, then you have no right getting upset about them if they choose to turn an evening invite down (as long as the decline is respectful, obvs).

  • MrsTraceyMrsTracey Posts: 837 New bride
    weatherwaxe wrote (see post):

    I'm personally not a fan of evening invites - I'm an all or nothing sort of girl - but I understand why people have them. Budget is a huge factor.

    I think its completely fine to send out evening invites and completely fine to decline them. Its only if couples start getting huffy about guests declining that I have an issue. Or if the guest declines in a super rude way.

    I was offered an evening invite to a wedding that would have involved travel and overnight accommodation. So I declined. I then got a stroppy text from the groom asking me why I didn't want to come to their wedding.

    Errmm... I would have thought the reasons were obvious?

    I'm not going to spend train fare and hotel costs for an evening invite, no matter how much I like the B&G. If the guests aren't important enough in the scheme of your day to get an all day invite, then you have no right getting upset about them if they choose to turn an evening invite down (as long as the decline is respectful, obvs).

    Sounds very similar to what I had! After I had a bride get upset with me (see above!) I vowed the motto of my own wedding planning would be "you can't expect your wedding to be the centre of everyone else's universe." 

    To make it worse, said bride never chased up my RSVP (and I didn't know I had a date to reply by) but simply said "oh I didn't hear back so I assumed you could make it." Ermm, WHAT? Logic was massively lacking! 

  • To OP - you are a different generation. My venue was limited to 60. It had nothing to do with budget, it was H&S. As I have 6 Aunties/Uncles, who all have at least 1 "child" (adult cousin) each (some 3!) I made the decision to invite Aunties and Uncles all day, as they practically helped bring me up. Cousins to the night. Being put out by only receiving a night invite is, in my opinion, being very precious. I couldn't invite everyone I wanted to to the night, so those who were invited to the night, are very important to me. 

    As for people "not being fans of evening invites" - see above. As people who are planning weddings, I do not understand that mentality at all. People invited to my evening are just as important to me as people invited to the day. 

    I wouldn't be offended if people declined at all. But you would get people moaning that they didn't get an invite full stop. Even as "just an evening guest" you are costing the bride and groom money - so they obviously think enough of you to invite you. 

    I understand if travel/accommodation would be required, but generalising evening invites as being a negative thing is absurd x

  • Mrs17Mrs17 Posts: 876 New bride

    I also dislike evening invitations, and as a result, when we got married we made sure we had a venue sizeable enough for us to invite everyone we wanted there for the full day. That's just a personal opinion/feeling and I don't mind receiving an evening invitation. There have been occasions where we have declined evening invitations due to the venue being to far from home, but there's never been any bad feeling about that - either from us, or the bride & groom concerned. It's lovely to be invited regardless. We have left early from some evening do's, after turning up to find day guests already quite inebriated, and that's a struggle because then I feel rude!

    I think the OP may be overthinking it a little. I'm sure the bride and groom don't think you're rude. It's lovely that they wanted you with them, but if you cant afford it or it isn't worthwhile going, then you choose to decline. I wasn't upset with anyone who couldn't come to our wedding - it's life and sometimes it just doesn't work out.

  • Rude and unnecessary?   No, not at all.   

    A way to include everyone?  Absolutely, yes.

    In an ideal world I'm sure we'd all love to be able to host  200 guests for the whole day..... but reality sucks!

     

    Its simple enough to decline an invite without being rude, and without giving a reason that makes the bride/groom feel bad or guilty (or even giving a reason at all)

     

    And to those of you who've been made to feel bad by the bride/groom......    sounds like you're better off out of it anyway, lol

     

     

  • CFWCFW Posts: 234

    I am really surprised about the comments here about not being a fan of evening invitations? Perhaps it is just different generations and cultures but whenever I have received an evening invitation I have just been grateful they thought of me. Where I'm from, the whole day is generally close family and friends (depending on budget and/or venue choice) and the evening is for extended friends & family, work friends etc. who you'd like to have along too. If someone was offended I only invited them to my wedding dance then I would be happy knowing I did just that as they clearly can't be too good a friend to me to be mad at not being invited to the whole day!

    Having been to weddings where there are no evening guests, I have personally found a bit of a 'lull' after dinner and the evenings aren't quite as fun, whereas with evening guests a bunch of fresh faces looking to celebrate with you arrive after dinner and the atmosphere is more charged - IMO!

    We are having a smaller bunch for the wedding (approx 80) and inviting a further 150 to the evening. This isn't because of budget at all, it was just our choice.

  • I'm not having evening only invites but that's because my wedding is in a county in which none of my friends or family live. I knew it wouldn't be feasible for people to drive up just for the evening.

     I have had an evening only invite from a work colleague and am going and know he has done it because people live closer but we are a group of 8 people and half of us will be working the day of his wedding.

    It's whatever works for people's weddings. I got more upset by people I have known for a long time talking like they were going to come and then declining. And one even saying that she was surprised she had an invite as she didn't think we were that close. Despite the fact she was sending me pictures of dresses to check they were ok to wear and saying we would go out for a meal after I got married to celebrate.

  • As someone who is 'not a fan of evening invites' I just don't see the point in them if you don't have budget restrictions or space issues (i.e. you can only fit x amount of people in for ceremony or wedding breakfast). If you do, then fair enough, that's entirely understandable and completely reasonable. But to me, if I do have the budget and space but I don't care about someone being there enough to invite them to the whole shebang then they don't get an invite full stop.

    I've never really been to a wedding where there have been people only invited for the evening, so I guess I have that as my frame of reference.

    I did attend a wedding where everyone had an all-day invite and then they told a bunch of people that there wasn't space for them for the ceremony (when they were about to go in and be seated). I thought that was shameful and they should have told them in advance so they could turn up a bit later rather than awkwardly hanging around and waiting for the ceremony to be over.

    I don't want to invite anyone who I don't know all that well or who are distant friends or relatives (which to me is who evening invites are for). I don't want people I'm not familiar with at our day.

    I want the people who are there to mean something to us, to be close friends and family only. Culturally I don't have the obligation to invite tons of people. I do understand that there is family/social pressure for some people to invite everyone, but I don't have that pressure so I'm not going to do it.

    That's not to say I wouldn't accept an evening invitation if it was convenient and liked the person who invited me. I would! I respect other people doing what they want to do, its just that I personally wouldn't do it. Everyone's idea of a wedding is different, and not everyone has the same idea of how a wedding should be.

    .

  • redhair82redhair82 Posts: 289 New bride

    Wowsers, quite a lot of strong opinions here! I agree that being invited just for the evening is sometimes made to feel as though you are "not important" and that is difficult to go for just a few hours if it is far away/too expensive. I don't think your family being invited and not you is a good enough reason. I am inviting my godmother to the day, but not her daughter, as quite simply, I just don't speak to her or see her that much! I think if you send out evening invites then you shouldn't be upset that people decline, if they aren't important enough to invite for the day then you can't be that upset that they aren't coming! Likewise, don't be offended if you receive one, and don't feel guilty for turning it down. 

  • MrsPB2019MrsPB2019 Posts: 827 New bride

    My guests are going to be split between ceremony and reception. Our registry office only fits 40 people so that's pretty much just going to be family and then everyone else will meet us at the reception venue.

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