Post # 1
I am having a small (about 75 being invited, but I don’t expect more than 50) early afternoon ceremony and reception. Ceremony will probably be about 1pm, reception in the same location immediately after, so I expect everything to be done by about 4 or 5pm. Family and friends all enjoy their booze, so I’m planning a variety of drink options: champagne, wine, and fiancee insists on good whiskey. My quandry is regarding food. I definitely don’t want a sit down meal, I really don’t even want a buffet. I just want some finger foods, light hors d’oeuvres, maybe cheese and fruit selections. I guess I’m asking if I’m being cheap, because I don’t want to pay $15 to $20 per person for catered food that the attendees will not remember the next day. For the caterers I’ve looked at, a selection of hors d’oeuvres is sometimes just as much as a sit down meal!
I know in the end that it’s my wedding, and it should be what me and my fiancee want, I just don’t want it to seem like I’m not providing enough food for my guests, considering it’s in between lunch and dinner hours, and I know I wouldn’t want a full meal during those hours anyway.
Post # 3
- Wedding: August 2009 - St. Thomas of Villanova Church & the F.U.E.L. House
I agree that sometimes small bites / stations / buffet can end up being more expensive than plated meals! I think you need to be careful about not providing enough or substantial food to help “soak up” the booze — you don’t want anyone to get totally trashed, or become a hazard on the road after your reception!
Post # 4
- Wedding: June 2010 - Ceremony - First United Methodist Church; Reception - My parents' house!
i agree with miss bruschetta. you need something heavy enough so people won’t get tanked. i don’t think you’re being cheap though. you’re just considering your options. 🙂
Post # 5
Typically, I like my weddings with a dinner. But honestly, in your case, I think what you’re thinking is perfect. You’re reception isn’t too long. And it is at a times that people aren’t really going to be expecting a meal. What between about 1:30- 4 or 5? Perfect! After lunch, but before dinner.
The only thing I would suggest is making it very clear to your guests that they will be getting hors d’oeuvres, not dinner. And if you have OOT guests, perhaps making some other arrangements, like an after party, or gathering at your family’s home, etc to make up for all of their travel expsenses.
Post # 6
We’re dong a “heavy appetizer” reception, and I learned that a big factor in expense is the fussiness involved in making the appetizers. Simpler things like the fruit and cheese plates you mentioned or veggies and dips can actually be done much more affordably. Actually, I almost wanted to do the hors d’oeuvres ourselves once I realized how simple they could be (but my fiancé wouldn’t let me!). I think you should talk to a few caterers about simple buffet style appetizers (less expensive than passed) and items that require less assembly. If it’s still more than you want to spend, I would truly just order a few plates from grocery stores and either order or DIY a few nicer items like bruschetta or finger sandwiches.
Post # 7
I know its not the most popular option, but why not look into what a local deli or grocery store might be able to offer catering wise? Chances are it will be cheaper and I’ve had some good store catering. You can dress up their services with nice platters and chances are people won’t even know.
Post # 8
- Wedding: August 2009 - Battery Gardens
First, don’t beat yourself up! You are here at least thinking of your guests so that’s a good thing. Personally I consider 1pm to be lunch time still. If you think the reception will start in earnest around 2pm I still think you may need somthing heavier.
I guess I think of it this way: If you are having a 1pm start time, many of your guests will most likely be leaving home around noonish (or earlier) if they don’t live close to your venue and may skip lunch altogether. I think having some heavier options will be helpful. You can still research cost-conscius ones in your area. Good luck!
Post # 9
Fortunately the people who would be coming from far away are my close friends, and I can flat out tell them to eat lunch before the ceremony. And I definitely agree, I want to have food that is heavy enough to off set any drinking. I’m leaning more and more toward the idea of ordering catering through Central Market, which is reasonably priced and has everything that I want, they just don’t do any of the set up or take down. Then hiring a catering company for bar setting and day of service help. We have a meeting with a caterer tomorrow, so I guess we’ll see what our options are. Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts and opinions!
Post # 10
- Wedding: June 2010 - Indiana Memorial Union
Check your local grocer/organic market. We looked into one that did catering. They had plates of appetizers for a very affordable price. If I recall, it was actually dirt cheap. With something like that, you could probably over-order, so you wouldn’t worry about not having enough. Just be sure to mention on the invites that it’s cocktails and appetizers, not dinner.
Post # 11
Our wedding follows almost the exact same schedule. We clearly put on the invitation “Cocktail Reception”, so hopefully most people will understand that we are not serving a meal, just a variety of hors d’oeuvres. We chose this route not because of cost but because I have been to so many weddings where everyone is mingling and talking during the cocktail hour, and then suddenly you have to stop and get to your tables for dinner. We wanted a less structured day that allows us and our guests to just spend time with each other.
Post # 12
I think what you’ve got is good. The timing should be a good tip off for guests that a full meal isn’t going to be provided. Definitely consider uping the food to more hearty selections to keep everyone sober enough to drive home like Miss B. suggested!
Post # 13
This is about the same timeline as my wedding. We had a 1:30 ceremony with reception in the same location immediately after, festivities were over by 6, we had wine and beer served. We did heavy appetizers which everything was prepared by myself and my inlaws. We had meatballs in sauce, boneless chicken wings, veggies/dip, fruit, taco dip/chips, pinwheel sandwiches, as well as lots of other dessert items. The food seemed to be a big hit, b/c there wasn’t much left. We stated on the invites it was a hor doeurve reception, so most people knew to eat a little something beforehand.
Post # 14
you could also go to a place like chili’s or tgi fridays or something like that to have them make your favorite hor dvoures and just rent the chafing dishes to keep them warm, that may be WAY cheaper than using a caterer and you’ll still get yummy food. after all, people remember that the food was good not that you spent 20 or 40 pp
Post # 15
if the ceremony is at 1pm i think youre taking a risk assuming that most people would have had lunch.
im thinking to find the location, park, get there… if it was me i would arrive early and miss out on lunch altogether – especially if im thinking that there will be some food provided after the ceremony.
dancemoms post above seems to have hit it – something on the invite and some heavier hors d’oeuvres sounds like it ticked all the boxes
Post # 16
I agree that the “fussiness” of appetizers can make them more expensive. You could consider other food options, like finger sandwiches or even dips and spreads. We had a pre-wedding party where there was pimento cheese spread and spinach dip in addition to the veggies and cheese and crackers.
If you do decide to have this kind of food, you might want to spread the word ahead of time (put notice on your website and have your family tell anyone who asks) that there is no full meal. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to expect your guests to eat before a 1 p.m. ceremony. And those who will imbibe to excess won’t be rescued by a $25 lunch plate.