Eloped....now what about the reception?


My husband & I just recently decided to go off and get married, instead of trying to have a big wedding, we have family on opposite sides of the country. We didn't want to spend a lot of money, nor did we want to cost our family & friends any money. We have lived together and we don't need or want any gifts. But, we would like to have a backyard BBQ at our home in honor of us getting married. We would provide soft drinks and all the food, would it be inappropriate to do all this ourselves? Or should be ask the guests to participate and maybe bring a side dish? Also, would it be rude to possibly tell our guests on the invite that if they would like any alcoholic beverages that they can bring them to the BBQ? I would like this to be a simple & laid back, but nice affair, and don't want to seem tacky about it.

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When I got married the second time, although not an elopement, it was a very small wedding, immediate family and 3 close friends and their respective families. About two months later we had a party and invited all of our friends. I did NOT want any gifts because we had everything we needed so I chose to just call it a party without giving the purpose. I didn't say it was in honor of our wedding because I knew that would generate lots of gifts, and I didn't feel comfortable writing "no gifts" on the invitation.

Everyone pretty much knew the party was to sort of introduce us as a married couple but I think the fact that we didn't state that on the invitation worked well for us. A few folks did bring gifts, but no more than normally bring hostess gifts to any party so that worked out quite well.

I'm sure it's fine to provide all food & drinks yourselves, it's probably better than any kind of pot luck since it's in honor of your wedding. Personally, I'm not comfortable doing a BYOB at a party I throw. I'm not saying you shouldn't do it, I'm sure you'll get opinions on that. But for me, the additional cost of some beer and/or wine is not that much. I've given several parties with beer & wine without providing hard liquor (which I think is where it really gets into $$$). And to be honest, you don't really have to supply any liquor at all. I'm just of the idea that I'd rather supply everything than ask people to bring, unless it's specifically a pot luck, and I wouldn't be comfortable doing a pot luck for a party which honors an event in my life. IMHO pot lucks are for parties whose sole purpose are to get together, with nothing in particular being honored that is personal to me. In other words, a Bday party means I'll supply everything; a Fourth of July party is a perfect occasion for pot luck.

Congratulations on your recent marriage!

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Hi there - first of all, congratulations on your marriage! I wish you many years of happiness. My answers to your questions are simply from thinking about how I would feel as a potential guest.

I think your idea of having a BBQ is great. You want to celebrate your happiness and marriage with those close to you. You'll have plenty of years to have events at your house where you ask people to bring a side dish; I wouldn't do it now, for your first event as a married couple. My opinion is that you should be the hosts and not ask people to contribute ... not this time. If you ask people to bring food, I think you'll come off as being really cheap, because you didn't have a wedding reception (and therefore didn't provide a meal) and now would be looking for others to provide part of it.

I'm assuming that, since you said you've lived together and don't need or want gifts, that you'll be letting people know that. But realize that some people will bring gifts, anyway.

Regarding alcohol, I think it's fine for you to say that you'll be providing soft drinks and guests are welcome to bring other beverages if they wish. If it's because of your beliefs, that's perfectly fine. If it's because of the expense, I guess it depends upon your financial situation. If you're just getting started and not financially able to provide beer/wine, your guests will understand. What will you be drinking? If you'll be drinking alcoholic beverages, I am sort of bordering on it being tacky for you not to provide for others.
But I could be swayed on that. If it would be a big financial hit for you, I think it's better to enjoy your guests rather than limit the guest list so that you can afford to provide alcohol.

But anyway, my opinion is that you should have the BBQ and provide all of the food yourselves. To do otherwise would be rude, IMO. Alcohol? Well, I'd be ok if I were asked to bring my own to an outside party. But I'd be really Ok if hosts were providing it. :-)

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would it be inappropriate to do all this ourselves?

What--would it be inappropriate to throw a party? I should hope not!

Since this party is to celebrate your marriage, I think you should treat it differently than you might treat a community/family Labor Day barbecue (at which you might ask folks to go pot-luck, or ask a few specific people to pitch in).

Be the host & hostess, completely & fully. Throw a party, of any level of formality (but certainly formal enough for written invitations, not phone or word-of-mouth, though casual wording and stationery are A-OK) that you want and can afford.

But don't ask people to pitch in w/ food.

As for alcohol, my vote is to serve it or not, as your budget and your inclination dictate, and let your guests cope. But not to do BYOB, not for this event.

Can you afford a beer or two for everyone? And then if it runs out, have plenty of Country Time lemonade mix.

Basically, I'm w/ Suzieque--on everything, including the congratulations and the best wishes!

(oh, gifts--I think you should perhaps go ahead and let people know this is to celebrate your wedding--"our first party as a married couple!" maybe--and that if people ask about presents, you'll say, "Oh, we didn't have a wedding, so gifts aren't necessary," and then you'll be gracious when about almost all of them bring *something*.)

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I, too, think it's just fine to give the bbq; I think it's a good choice. I would go with lowspark's idea of not mentioning the marriage on the invitation; just call it a bbq. People know about the recent marriage. At the party, you can have toasts, etc., to make it feel more wedding related.

I agree with the others: don't do a pot luck or BYOB. Even if you don't say anything about your recent marriage on the invitation, and even if you write something like, "No gifts, please," on it, there are those who will want to give you a gift. I don't think pot lucks or BYOBs are nice for parties where people might bring gifts (not including hostess gifts for dinners).

I would tweak Talley Sue's wording a bit if people ask about gifts. "Oh, we didn't have a wedding, so gifts aren't necessary," doesn't work for me, because I know that a gift isn't payment for a wedding nor is an invitation an invoice for a gift; the idea is that couple invites the guests to the wedding because they care about the guests, and the guests send a gift to the couple because they care about the couple -- not because of the wedding itself. So if someone said that to me, I might feel like I was being prompted to give a gift anyway.

Anyway, I doubt that anyone will ask you about gifts. They will either give you one or not. They may ask if/where you are registered, but then you can just say "nowhere."

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I think a BBQ would be perfect, and not a potluck, it is your party and you should be the ones to pay for the food and drinks.

As for gifts, on the invite I would say "no gifts are necessary, making a donation to your favorite charity would be appreciated". Since you don't need anything, a charity would be the perfect way to share your happiness.

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