Post # 1
As FI and I launch into wedding planning, we keep coming back to a couple of issues:
1. We originally wanted a desserts, drinks, and dancing reception for two reasons: we both love sweets, and can offer a smorgasbord of cakes, pies, s’mores, bars, cookies, artisan candies, etc. for the price of the same chicken and wild rice pilaf buffet that everyone’s had at countless smaller-budget weddings. Green beans almondine don’t feel very “us,” but an entire sideboard dedicated to tarts, plus an open bar? That sounds way more awesome. We’d also have a two or three savory appetizers in the mix, as well as fruit and veggie displays.
But, nearly all of our guests are from out of town. As hosts whose primary concern is the comfort of our guests, I’m beginning to wonder if we should use our budget to offer a proper meal, regardless of how we personally feel about the food. Thoughts?
2. In terms of buffets, I’m stumped on one other issue: I’ve never minded serving myself at any wedding, but standing in line or waiting at tables can be a drag. I wouldn’t want the line to be unmanageable and prevent mingling, or to somehow communicate to the table called last that they were my “least important” guests. If we should definitely offer a meal, any tips for making the wait for the line easier on guests?
Post # 3
@RedHairing: I would do different buffet stations spread around the room. Like same food, but maybe 3 stations vs. one. That way it breaks it up a bit, and everyone can go up at once.
I think that your wedding start time dictates what can be served. If the reception starts at 8 pm, for example, that would be a hint that you’re not serving dinner… more of a cocktail hour. Maybe word it that way in invitations?
Post # 4
- Wedding: September 2014 - Jacksonville Inn
I think as long as your reception is not a traditional meal time it would be great! I would be thrilled to go to a reception like yours instead of the same old same old!
Post # 5
It would need to start 730 or later to pull it off. Not close to a meal time at all, where there is no mix up that u will be serving dinner.
Also, be aware that depending how out of town it is, some people won’t want to travel far to spend 4 hours, vs spending an entire day at a wedding.
Post # 6
I think if you have such a large proportion of guests from out of town, you should feed them a meal. There is nothing wrong with dessert/drink receptions in general (as long as the timing is ok and they are aware ahead of time) but I think it would be more appropriate in this situation to feed them a real meal.
Also, drinking and only having sweets to eat seems problematic to me.
Post # 7
@kimm99: Yeah only desserts plus booze equals a bad time IMO.
If lots of people are coming from out of town I would serve them a meal. It’s not that the dessert reception is a bad idea, but in this case I would have to agree with other posters.
Post # 8
if you need to do buffet, stations are best.
however, in my experience so far, i have found the plated dinners are a lot less expensive than buffet.
for plated dinner the guest is getting X amount of food. for buffet, the kitchen has to prepare extra because they don’t know how much each guest is going to take.
i went to a lovely wedding that was heavy h’or dourves. it ended up being a lot more food than i expected it can work, just warn your guests that you are not serving dinner if you choose to go that route.
Post # 9
If I was coming in from out of town for a wedding, I would want to be fed a meal of some sort. I love the dessert idea because I love sweets but I can imagine overdoing it on the sweets and then being sick (I have no self-control). You can definitely have buffet stations so the lines don’t get too long. My BFF did that and we had no problems getting food that way. Also, using two sides for a buffet table makes it flow faster. I hate seeing just one side being used.
Post # 10
I would say at least some kind of sustenance would be nice for out of town guests, it definitely makes travelling for a wedding more comfortable!
As for how to deal with who eats first, my brother had some kind of puzzle on each table (like a brain bender type thing) and each table had to solve the puzzle and when you solved, you ate! It not only takes the pressure of deciding serving order off of you as hosts, it also gives guests something fun to do while you wait! You could take it up a notch by making riddles related to your relationship/wedding so that it has a personal touch too!
Happy planning 😀
Post # 11
I think wedding guests anticipate on being served a meal or a substantially filling portion of stations, appetizers, etc. Out of town guests might not appreciate it if they have to find and pay for dinner themselves before attending the wedding. I like the idea of the stations, then people can bounce from one to another without waiting on one long line.
Personally I like your original idea, but from a feasibility standpoint with out of town guests, might not be the perfect choice. A very small wedding would lend itself to something like that.
Post # 12
@RedHairing: I don’t think you need a meal necessarily, but add in more savory appetizers. I would rather have a range or sweets and appetizers to choose from than one crappy sit down meal, TBH. Just make sure guests know it will be some type of heavy appetizers meal.
Post # 13
We’re having a meal for the same reason, most of our guests are from out of town. I think we’ll go for a plated meal though because it’s the cheapest option at our venue.
I do love the idea of a cocktail style reception with food stations. It sounds great and more fitting with the feel you’re going for.
Post # 14
You already mentioned javing some appetizers and fruit/cheese trays. Just add a few more, and you should be good. I make meals out of appetizers all the time, ha.
Post # 15
I don’t think just desserts is a good idea… firstly, I find that I can only eat one or 2 sweet things.. more and I just want to throw up. It’s def not a meal replacement.. plus the calories would be craaaaazy to eat JUST desserts for dinner.
i would def have a traditional buffet… real food is traditional at weddings because it works. I’d def have a sweets table with all the things that are “you”, but it’s not a meal replacement.
Post # 16
@swisea01: +1 Just sweets is not a good idea, but if half of the items were savory and hte other half sweet, that would be fine.