Inviting people to JUST the dance...

So, last year I was invited to a wedding, but just the dance. Which was honestly fine with me. There was no formal invite, just a vocal invite. Has anyone ever done this? Did you do a verbal invite or send something out? I don't know if this is somewhere I want to go - but we are contemplating this option.

 29 Mar 2010 3:09 PM
 1 Jan 2010
I got a verbal "dance only" invite to a wedding a couple years ago. We were just getting to know the couple at the time, and were touched to be invited at all. We went, and had fun!

We're contemplating doing this as well so I'm also interested in peoples answers.

 29 Mar 2010 3:20 PM
 10 Mar 2009
Depending on my relationship with the couple, I would be fine with being invited to just the dance.

I only did this with 3 people, and it was based mostly on the capacity of the venue (also I wasn't too keen on having strangers at the wedding).
Those that I invited to the dance were done verbally, but the first two situations I didn't even talk to them personally as I'd never met them:

1. My MOH wanted to bring a date but she wasn't seeing anyone seriously at the time. Plus, I knew she would be pretty busy throughout the reception, and she wouldn't even be seated next to him. I said she could invite someone after dinner, and he did show up. (Plus, she only asked me 3 weeks before the wedding)

2. My cousin from the U.S.A. asked to bring his boyfriend, but they had only been dating for a few weeks. I said he could come to the dancing portion, but he didn't end up coming.

3. I offered my makeup artist (an acquaintance, but not a super close friend) if she would like to come after dinner.

 29 Mar 2010 3:50 PM
 26 Oct 2007
WB Lurker
Sorry, but of all the etiquette rules this one stands out for me. If you are invited to the dance the hosts *must* feed you. Only exception that I can see is if the invite is extremely last minute and there is no way the venue will let you seat them. And even then it would come with profuse apologies and probably an offer to buy them dinner another time.

I just know as a guest I'd be so incredibly offended. It immediately says "I kinda sorta like you, but not nearly as much as I like the 80 guests I bought dinner for". What if dinner and speeches run late? Do they have to wait outside until everyone is done eating dessert? Or do they mill around the back watching people eat? Awkward! And IMO it's incredibly irresponsible to provide any type of alcohol without also having food available.

Cash bars, "no boxed gift" requests, long breaks between the ceremony and the reception that leave your guests stranded, no thank you cards... I can forgive those breaches of etiquette. For some reason this one just rubs me the wrong way.

But hey, that's just me.

 29 Mar 2010 4:23 PM
 19 Sep 2005
Duchess of the Forum
I think the key to this is whether it's the norm in your region, in your circle of family/friends.

Where my wedding was held, and within my social circle, it is common.

We issued dance-only invites to some of DH's school friends and co-workers. We did send paper invites, but they were less formal, only had the time for the dance, and said something about 'no gifts.'

I should specify that this was for locals only, not for anyone who had to travel.

We did feed the dance only guests (and everyone else) at the late lunch.

 29 Mar 2010 4:37 PM
 23 Sep 2009
if i was invited to dance only, i probably wouldn't go. this tells me that we're not that close and it'd be weird to me to be joining the party half way through.

dunno, that would just rub me the wrong way, but many people are fine with it...

 29 Mar 2010 4:39 PM
 22 Sep 2008
ditto what Ariel said

 29 Mar 2010 5:20 PM
 11 Jan 2010
 Sherwood Park, AB
See, it rubs me the wrong way too... and honestly, we have been chopping the crap out of our list anyway (budget/venue space). Part of this crops up from recent events in our personal lives whereby my fiance is in a totally different position at work (department manager) and now he wants to invite his department staff... fine. However, that is an additional table alone. YIKES! Then I am a teacher, with a rather large staff and don't really want to rub people the wrong way at all and who knows what will happen over the next year.

I was just curious. Not something I am apt to do (with the exception of those individuals who have to work that night, if they want to show up later - go for it!! LOL!)

 29 Mar 2010 6:38 PM
 25 May 2009
WB Postaholic
I have heard of this happening in the past - it would NEVER happen in my family/social circle. I am either important enough to go to the whole event or not important enough to go to any of the event - there is no halfway point.

 29 Mar 2010 6:47 PM
 9 Feb 2010
In our area/circle this is absolutely the norm. I have never been to a wedding where there weren't people invited for just the dance. We invited people to just the dance. We had two sets of invitations printed up - they were the exact same except one set had the info for the ceremony, reception & dance, whereas the others just had the info for the ceremony & dance. Again, this is normal to us and our circle of friends/family.

 29 Mar 2010 7:28 PM
 18 Jun 2008
 Oshawa, Ontario
WB Devotee
I've been to a dance in the past like this and am invited to one coming up. In both cases I know I wouldn't have been invited to the reception but was/am glad to go to the dance and have fun. The one I went to before was actually the best wedding dance I've been to and would have been really disappointed to have missed it. The first I was invited to verbally(it was open to anyone) the one coming up I was invited via email.

 29 Mar 2010 7:53 PM
 16 Nov 2006
I've never had this happen to me, but I'd be happy to be invited and would probably go.
The most important thing to do would be to fill your dance-only guests in on the reception timeline, so as to alleviate any possible awkwardness they may feel.
Ie, they dont want to show up when you are still eating dessert.
But what about the first dance? The cake cutting, bouquet tossing, or garter toss?
If you think they would enjoy being a part of these items, please let them know beforehand, and roughly what time you think they will take place.
For a good friend who couldnt fit me in her venue, I'd show up earlier, for a less-close friend I'd show up later, just to be sure any awkward entries are avoided.
Most importantly, if you are having people to the dance only, try and create a 'welcome' person who knows to expect them. Entering a room full of people in full-party mode can be intimidating. BUT if you have a friend they know find them at the door, or let you know so you can go and say hi to them personally, they'll feel really comfortable and happy they came!

 29 Mar 2010 8:29 PM
 20 Apr 2006
For those of you not offended to be a dance-only invitee, did you bring a gift for the couple? Would it have been the same gift (ie. same amount) had you been invited to the entire wedding?

Those of you that have done dance-only invites - do you mention anything about not wanting gifts?

 29 Mar 2010 9:02 PM
 10 Oct 2008
 Ottawa, Ontario
DH invited an old friend he just started talking with very close to our wedding date, to the party afterwards (word of mouth), and some of our friends asked if they could invite a few friends to the party afterwards.

It was very casual, everyone was aware the wedding itself was relatively small (41 of us total), and we couldn't invite everyone we've ever met.

The "inviting people to the after party" thing didn't occur until a few days before when acquaintances/friends' friends' suddenly wanted to do something fun that Saturday night. People asked if they could invite "crashers," and that was a-ok.

 29 Mar 2010 10:12 PM
 16 Nov 2006
If I came, I would bring a gift, as I am happy for their marriage and want to give them something. I would have done it anyways (just mailed it). As for if the $$ amount would be different...probably not. I base my gifts based on the value of my friendship to the person and my finances at the time, and I am strongly against the 'cover you plate' mentality as I don't think people should depend on me to fund their wedding.

 30 Mar 2010 11:31 AM
 5 Feb 2010
i'm from the country and this is very common. Alot of people invite everyone from their hometown to the evening and only good friends and family are invited to everything. Most times though, the couple will send out a small invite saying you are invited to the dance portion (reception) at 8 or 9pm. i have received some vocally but it is better to send a small invite, people feel they are actually invited then and not a second thought.

 30 Mar 2010 1:23 PM
 3 Mar 2010
In my small country home town this is very common. Heck, there is an ad usually put in the paper announcing the dance and inviting the community to come and join. Of course, for that reason, no one has an open bar! wink

I was just invited to the dance for a very good friend, but I wasn't offended at all. I knew that finances were tight and I still drove 2 hours to be there to support her on her big day. It wouldn't occur to me to be offended.

 30 Mar 2010 9:50 PM
 16 Apr 2004
WB Addict
I wouldn't do it and I wouldn't go.

 30 Mar 2010 10:00 PM
 3 Feb 2010
 Moncton, NB
WB Chatterbox
I am from a small town and for the people around here it is common for people to just be invited to the dance. Last summer a friend from work gave out invites to everyone just to go to the dance. It was a lot of fun and I didn't feel that I wasn't important enough to go to the wedding and the dinner. I felt that it was nice to be included at all.

But again here that is they way things go. Its the norm.

 31 Mar 2010 4:50 AM
 27 Dec 2009
WB Devotee
I have never been invited to just the dance
Depending on how well i knew someone, i wouldn't be offended to be invited to just the dance

I dont see any problem with saying "Hey Cinderella, what are you doing June 19th? Well if your not busy why dont you stop by the lake! It's be awesome to see you on my wedding day"
I dont think people should feel offended you cant afford to meal up everyone. its a more romantic date than a night to the club for danicng smile

 31 Mar 2010 11:48 AM
 4 May 2009
 Ottawa, Ontario
Really? I am shocked some people have never gotten an invite to the "Reception" and would choose not to go because they'd be offended.

My FH and I have 226 people invited to the ceremony + dinner and are sending out about 60 invites for the reception.

We have gotten invites for "reception only" and would never think of it as being not liked enough to be invited to the ceremony + dinner. Maybe the bride + groom have only budgeted for 200 plates of food or the ceremony location only seats 200 people??

We wouldn't verbally invite anyone to the reception...definitely send out a formal "reception invite."

 2 Apr 2010 11:58 PM
 13 Aug 2006
 Calgary, Alberta
I'm not a fan of inviting people just to one part of the wedding. I felt like such a second class citizen at one wedding I went to like that.

 3 Apr 2010 6:36 AM
 24 Jun 2007
 The Cape
Im doing this but we are having some more food served at midnight. We can fit everybody in for supper. Plus where im from this is how its done.

 3 Apr 2010 8:26 AM
 28 May 2009
New Member
We will be doing this. Our venue only holds so many people and its just enough for for our VERY closest friends and family. We are having an open bar and food in the evening as well. I wasn't planning on inviting anyone after but we just moved back to the area and all my soroity sisters from Univeristy want to be in on the fun! Hey if they are okay with coming to the dance only then hay I figure the more the merrier! I certainly wouldn't expect gifts from them but it would be nice to party it up with them on the most important night of the year. Naturally there are certain groups I wouldn't do it with but with them its okay so thats what Im doing!

 3 Apr 2010 10:50 AM
 6 Jan 2009
WB Lurker
We are inviting some people to the ceremony, dinner, and reception and some only to the ceremony and reception.

Those who are not invited to dinner are all locals and are all people who understand our financial situation. We could not possibly afford to invite EVERY person we want and like I said these guests understand that. They definitely understand they are not "second-class" in any shape or form.

We will be printing two different invites but I am also going against etiquette and having a b-list so hopefully some of the guests that I was planning to invite only to the ceremony and the reception can get in for the dinner too.

As for gifts, we don't expect anything from anyone really. Even those coming for dinner. Most of our guests who are invited to dinner are family from out of province. The cost for a flight from Toronto to Calgary can be absolutely ridiculous and then when you have to multiply that by 4 (aunt, uncle, cousins) plus add in hotel while they are here...we are just happy they are coming!!!

 31 Oct 2012 11:59 PM
 30 Apr 2012
New Member

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 3 Apr 2010 7:49 PM
 23 Oct 2009
 Calgary, AB
Forum Rookie
I did a "Dance Only" invite, for work people and new aquaintances, or people who we see occassionaly, but are not super close too. Most of them came, and I was surprised that most also brought a gift. In retrospect, I whish I had included "please no gifts" on the invitation.
I didn't spend a lot on invitations, but did a post-card style through Vista-print.
Our venue set up was that the dance was in a different room from the dinner, so if guests arrived early, or when we ran a little bit late, they could still be comfortable and have a drink. We also provided the "midnight snack" for all guests.

 4 Apr 2010 10:28 AM
 4 Dec 2008
 Ottawa, Ontario
WB Chatterbox
I have received a few Reception Only invitations, and in most cases, I totally understood. There was only one instance where it really rubbed me the wrong way. We had been best friends years ago, and had reconnected 6 months before. I helped her with some of the planning. I even took her to a Bridal Show. I was really surprised to receive an invitation for the dance, which started at 10pm, about 1hr1/2 away. Especially because at this point, she was on my list of Bridesmaids-to-be for my own wedding.

Yeah, didn't go.

 4 Apr 2010 12:23 PM
 30 Aug 2009
It's common in our area too.

I've certainly gone to 'just the dance', and I will be inviting others to 'just the dance' at our wedding as well. Being as I'm 24, I think it's fair to say that it is something more common with people who are younger when they get married. If it's only a small amount of people invited to the party portion, a vocal offer is fine, in my opinion. If it's more than 3 or 4, I would want some version of RSVP so I knew how many people to expect to drink and eat midnight lunch.

I agree with pp's who said that what matters most is what's customary in your area. I would say that, in my area, it would be a much bigger faux pas to neglect to send out Thank You cards in a timely manner.

 6 May 2010 3:33 AM
 6 Jan 2010
WB Lurker
We're doing this, but that's because we're having a very small wedding.

20 people - just immediate family to ceremony and dinner.

We invited 40+ people to join us for the party afterwards at a private bar from 9-12am. This was just a verbal invite. Everyone seems to understand and nobody seems bothered.

 9 May 2010 12:58 PM
 3 Feb 2010
WB Chatterbox
We did it.

We got married in a really small old church that could only seat about 50 people comfortably so we invited basically just family and "family" to the church and then everyone we wanted to the reception.

We sent invites to the reception, they were the same as the wedding invitations, just different wording and times.

Everyone was okay with it, they understood that space was an issue and that it wasn't a gift grab kind of thing.

 9 May 2010 7:16 PM
 13 Apr 2009
WB Lurker
i think i'd be more disappointed in a reception-only invite than a dance only invite, but that's just because i love ceremonies. i think it's a little odd when people have small exclusive ceremonies, but then a big party reception. if i'm important enough for you to buy me dinner, why can't i watch you say your vows?

in our situation it is appropriate to invite our coworkers to the dance only. fh and i both work in restaurants. there is a social atmosphere in our business where we hang out and have drinks with people on a regular basis, but they aren't close friends. these people would never have been considered on the regular guest list anyway, so a "come by for a drink" invite is not offensive.

i wouldn't give a dance only invite to someone who was considered, but cut from the regular guest list- like a distant family member.

also i wouldn't do any dance-only if my venue was at some far away location. my wedding is right in the city so it won't take much effort for people to just come for a drink.

 9 May 2010 11:46 PM
 8 May 2010
New Member
I went to a wedding that did this. I thought it was totally fine, most people are pretty understanding. The bride and groom were on a budget and had a big family on both sides, so the reception was made up of mostly family. I was just happy l got to see her in her dress and share the rest of the evening with them. It was a blast!

 12 May 2010 11:42 PM
 3 Apr 2010
WB Lurker
I have never encountered an invite like this and I would never invite people to only one portion of my wedding. However, I also don't have a "B list", which I think pretty much sends the same message.

 13 May 2010 6:31 AM
 23 Jul 2009
WB Lurker
I think it depends on the people who are invited to the dance-only. We are inviting co-workers to the dance-only because they are important to us, but in the end they are just co-workers and adding 25 people to the entire shebang is just not in our budget. I dont think I would do this with friends or other family members though.

 13 May 2010 9:07 AM
 12 Aug 2006
Normal in my area.

Wouldn't dream of doing it myself.

 26 May 2010 2:31 PM
 11 May 2010
WB Lurker
We're considering doing it for some coworkers who we aren't close with outside of work. I personally feel a little awkward about doing this - that's why we are still undecided - but it is either dance or nothing since we cannot afford to add any more to the guest list.

I know none of them would feel offended, I think they would be pleasantly surprised to be included at all. I know I would be smile

 26 May 2010 9:46 PM
 10 Sep 2007
I actually had people ask us about the dance, because it's the norm here. I had to explain that we're not doing that and some people were disapointed. They didn't expect to be invited to the wedding, but they would have loved to party with us, even though it was in another city!

 31 Oct 2012 11:59 PM
 30 Apr 2012
New Member

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