Is there a correct way to invite your friend to the entire wedding but only invite their partner to the evening party?
I've got lots of friends whose partners I don't know and I can't really afford to invite them all to the wedding breakfast.
I'm not sure how to word this without offending anyone.
What would you advise?
I think your friends will completely understand - weddings can be an expensive business without inviting people you don't know. You could contact all your friends individually and explain the situation. I'm sure that because you are doing it personally and honestly, they will understand and will just be very happy to share any part of the day with you.
The second way would be for you to include a note/message in the invitation. Here is just one suggestion:
It is with deep regret that
Are unable to invite everyone they wanted
To join in their wedding celebrations, due to number and cost restrictions
It is with their sincere apologies and greatest hopes that you will understand the reasoning for this.
(Guests name) will therefore be invited to the evening celebrations only, and we would love to see him/her at the ceremony if they are able to attend.
Thank-you for your understanding
Don't be offended if people come to the evening 'do' but not the ceremony. They might not want to wait around all afternoon while you all enjoy the wedding breakfast.