Post # 1
I would like to invite a lot of people to my wedding…but not having a lot of money, I was thinking about having an informal coffee & cake reception afterwards at the church. We would then take the immediate families only out for a fancy dinner and call it a day.
I’m wondering if anyone out there who has done this before had success with it, and could make any recommendations? Were wedding guests upset that there was not a full reception? Did people bring gifts despite there not being dinner & dancing? How did you handle it on your invites?
Thanks for any information and advice.
Post # 3
@marie_antoinette: it actually sounds like a great idea! I’d love to hear responses as well!
Post # 4
I am doing something a bit similar. My FI and I are getting married on a cruise, just the two of us. When we come back, we are planning a lunch for just family. Will be about 25 people or so.
I strongly doubt your guests will be upset that there is no full reception. People know that money is tight everywhere these days. I would just specify exactly the nature of the reception on your invites, saying “coffee/cake in the church,” or something. It is up to their discretion whether or not they want to give a gift/how much. Good luck. I like the idea a lot.
Post # 5
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I just went to a wedding like this and I don’t think it went well at all. First, my FH was the best man- so I am a bit skewed b/c we put a lot of money towards attending the wedding (we’re from out of town) and we were there ALL day.
This is why I didn’t think it was that great:
1. Too much time went by without real food. I get sick if I eat just sweets and coffee, so really consider having tea sandwiches or something.
2. The bride and groom wanted it to be like a normal wedding, so they had a DJ and wanted people to dance adn it was just awkward b/c there wasn’t alcohol
3. Everyone who went to the private recpetion had to help clean up and by the time we got dinner we were tired and not that interested in the rest of the evening.
4. It seems rude to have a private dinner right after a majority of the guests gave money for just the dessert reception… Have you considered having a nice rehearsal dinner to thank your family and friends for all their contributions and support?
Post # 6
@carolyn.sp.79: If the guests KNOW going into it that its coffee/cake then isn’t it fair notice? They could give accordingly.
@marie_antoinette: A few alternatives to coffee/cake only are:
- hors d’ouerves (sp?)
- bbq at a park
- potluck style
- picnic –you could provide sandwiches, canned soda, bottled water, chips, veggies w/ dip, fruit, and pastries
Post # 7
Haha – just noticed the title of your post and that your username is marie_antoinette: the first thing I thought of was totally, “Let them eat cake!”
I think making this work depends on how you time it. If you hold the ceremony in the early afternoon (say, starting at 1 or 2pm) so that it finishes at a time that isn’t normally a meal, and it ends by, say, 5, then it would work just fine. You might also think about having a veggie tray, some cheese and crackers, some devilled eggs, etc., so that it’s not just sweets and coffee as the PP noted.
I would also *definitely* be sure to provide something, even if it’s just a tray of Subway sandwiches, etc., for the wedding party (and SO’s like the PP) for lunch beforehand so that they aren’t going hungry.
Post # 8
As long as you don’t hold it at a meal time and don’t keep guest waiting hours while you take photos, this is a perfectly good idea. Some guests might be relieved not to have to spend a huge chunk of their weekend tied up at one event.
Post # 9
I really like this idea personally, Im doing something similar but we’re doing more of a high tea at 2pm. I think it really depends on timing cus if its after lunch and before dinner people shouldnt be too hungery and wont expect there to be a meal more snacks. We arnt having a dj( but there will be music) and we are taking our immediate family to dinner afterwards. We wont be requiring anyone to clean up either ( the venue does that for an extra charge) However I do require the bridal party to help set up but beyond that im not asking for much else. We’re also keeping guests local, since it is a small wedding (30 guests) we dont have to worry about people feeling like they put too much into coming to our wedding and not getting enough back. The whole idea sounds very classy to me but do what you want n good luck!!
Post # 10
A lot of wedding receptions in the 1950s were like this (cake & punch receptions), so I think it’s perfectly fine. I think it would be fair to have a savory snack also.
Post # 11
This sounds like a great idea! +1 on all of the posts suggesting both a non-mealtime hour and savory snackies along with the coffee cake. Maybe the invitation can say “Hors D’Oeuvres to follow” or whatever the correct wording is instead of “Reception.” That should be a big heads up to folks. I think if you’re having a bridal party that they warrant an invitation to the dinner as well. It’s a nice gesture to say thank you for all that they have done.
Also, instead of doing pictures immediately after the ceremony, maybe you can wait until the time you wanted the coffee hour to wrap up. This is a bit tricky because you risk someone messing up their clothes (hopefully not really since it’s not like bar time). However, it gives you a nice and easy way to say goodbye to everyone because it’s pictures time rather than sending the “thanks for coming! now the important people are going to go eat real food!” Just a thought. Good luck!
Post # 12
@HisMoon: I think “Cake & Punch Reception” would be more appropriate. “Hor D’oeuvres” suggests mostly savory appetizers to me. If she has a website she could also explain how long the party will last. She doesn’t have to mention the private dinner afterwards.
Post # 13
- Wedding: June 2014 - Italiano's Humble
I suppose were doing sonething similar? We want the midnight ceremony for NYE. So, around 6p, us, our son(s), parents and WP only are having an intimate dinner. Then, bc after the ceremony, we’re doing DJ, dancing and alcohol/hor dourves-spelling? lol/cake-desserts.
my mom got married on a Friday evening, and had cake/punch only at the church, with a fruit/veggie tray. but that worked, bc most of us were off by 5 and being a tiny rural area, had plenty of time to feed our families and not be prssed for time. If you do it this way, I suggest you do NOT broadcast the family dinner thing.but as one pp said, tea sandwiches, are great, but add fruit and veggie trays. they really arent expensive.
another idea I’ve seen actually work well, is just a lunch thing. sandwiches, chips, snack trays and dips. chips have coupons, same with some supermarkets and their deli. I know some may not agree with me here, but you have NO idea how cheap it is to feed a ton of people spaghetti, alfredo, salad and breads. my exes family, would spend about $80 and we’d feed about 50 adults alone, on all the above!
Post # 14
I think it’s totally fine if you follow these “rules”
1) dont keep the coffee/cake “reception” at a lunch/dinner meal time
2) definitely definitely definitely let all of your guests know ahead of time that it’s coffee/cake to follow – however you word it.
3) do not expect/request gifts. in fact, the right thing to do is to tell your coffee/cake guests that you are happy for their presence and do not need any gifts. im sure some are happy to give anyway, but for others, it’s kind of unfair for them to spend the time, gas $$, and present money when they are just receiving a piece of cake and some coffee as a thank you for coming…when the rest of your guests are getting a full meal.
good luck, previous pps have some great suggestions!