How To Throw A Reception Only Wedding In 4 steps

Those who want to know how to throw a reception only wedding can simplify the process into four easy steps. Nowadays, couples tend to have a ceremony with just the two of them or with select people only. 

But to celebrate with more people, they throw a wedding reception-only wedding. Continue reading below the etiquette and wording for this type of event.

how to throw a reception only wedding

But if you want a ceremony only, we also wrote a guide on what to do instead of a wedding reception


How To Throw A Reception Only Wedding


Step 1. Set the date for the wedding reception

  • After accomplishing all the marriage legalities, you can plan the reception-only wedding
  • The reception traditionally happens right after the ceremony, but since you’re only throwing a reception-only wedding, you can select a different date for it
  • Plan your reception date and find the venue for it in advance to avoid hassle and save on costs
  • Send the invitations for your celebration, indicating that its reception only
  • Consider having the reception-only wedding at a convenient date for most of the guests, such as on a Saturday 


Step 2. Plan a budget for the reception party

  • It’s easy to learn how to throw a wedding reception if you set a budget beforehand
  • You can only begin contacting the vendors and booking the venue when you know how much money you can spend on the wedding reception
  • Make sure that your budget can accommodate the guests you want for the celebration
  • If the reception will happen after several months, you can plan how to save and add to your budget
  • Be realistic with your financial capacity


Step 3. Contact the vendors for the reception wedding

  • Even though you’re throwing the wedding reception only, you still need to compare and secure different wedding vendors 
  • Select the vendors that fit your budget, theme, and reception style in mind 
  • Find the caterer, bartender, MC, DJ, photographer, and videographer for your wedding reception
  • You may also need to accomplish other reception needs such as the decor and attire 
  • Smaller receptions typically don’t need as many vendors


Step 4. Plan and throw the reception

  • As for the reception wedding, you will need to create a schedule for the events
  • Don’t forget to plan the layout and seats 
  • Prepare the wedding favors and menu for the food and drinks
  • Hire a day-of wedding coordinator to help you manage everything
  • Know the rules and limitations in your venue 

Don’t forget to know the etiquette when interacting with the venue coordinator at your wedding reception. Here is how much to tip the venue coordinator, for example. 


How Do You Invite Guests To A Wedding Reception-Only?

If you’re having the wedding reception only, it’s best to know the proper wording when inviting guests. This will prevent assumptions, especially since you already have the wedding ceremony. 

Try these wording examples to ensure that your guests will understand your request:

  • Mr. and Mrs. John Smith have the pleasure of announcing the marriage of their daughter Ana Smith to Clark Jones. Please join us for a wedding reception celebrating their union on [date and time of the reception-only wedding] at [reception venue].
  • We, Ana Smith and Clark Jones will be married. Please join us at our wedding reception at [date and time of the reception-only wedding] at [reception venue].
  • We just got married! Please join us as we celebrate our big day with dinner and dancing on [date and time of the reception-only wedding] at [reception venue]. With love, Ana and Clark Jones. 


How do you tell people that you’re only having a wedding reception?

  • Make sure your invitation wording is clear that you won’t be inviting the guests to the ceremony or that you’re only having a reception
  • Ask friends and family to spread the word that you’re only throwing a reception
  • Use your social media to announce your celebration and answer potential queries from guests
  • Be prepared to explain why you’re not throwing a ceremony or that you intend to have a very intimate ceremony or an elopement 
  • Stick to your boundaries, especially when some guests insist that you also have a ceremony 


Is It Rude To Invite Guests To Reception-Only?

It’s not rude to have a reception-only wedding. However, there are many reasons why you may want to celebrate only the reception and have the wedding ceremony to yourself. 

For example, it might be cheaper to elope or hold a micro wedding ceremony. On the other hand, you might want to have an intimate ceremony, or the ceremony is conservative to invite people outside the tradition or religion. 

Regardless, there’s nothing wrong if you’ll only have the guests at the reception. Just word your intent in detail and be prepared to explain if people ask.

If you elope, you can refer to how to have a wedding ceremony after eloping



And that’s it! To recap how to throw a reception only wedding, you can start with setting the date, planning the budget, contacting the vendors, and planning how the events will flow. 

There’s nothing wrong with having a reception-only wedding because some ceremonies are preferred to be intimate. Just make sure to word your invitations well and communicate your reasons smoothly when someone asks. 

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