Post # 1
We are having a 1pm reception after our morning ceremony with a full sit down meal followed by dancing. We are not serving "brunch-y" foods so I don’t want to call it that, and lunch just seems too casual. Can I call it dinner on the invites? I know in some regions it’s not unusual for a large formal meal at noontime to be called dinner…
Post # 3
If you’re just looking for a more formal sounding term for lunch, that would be "luncheon." (Definition, a formal lunch, or an afternoon party at which a light meal is served.)
Post # 4
If it was called dinner, I would imagine the meal would not be served till pretty late into the reception, and would eat beforehand. If you’re serving a meal early in the afternoon but calling it dinner, I’d be confused.
I don’t know that calling it lunch over dinner would make it casual. More the time of day, since usually formality increases later in the day. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t think calling the meal by a different name would change the formality of the event =)
If you want to keep it formal, maybe mention something about a dress code on the invitations or something?
Post # 5
What if you just say, "ceremony to be followed by a formal sit-down luncheon at 1 o’clock in the afternoon" and that way it’s all encompassed?
Post # 6
perhaps you could simply say "formal reception to follow". that says it without trying to figure out how to make lunch sound fancy.
we have a very similiar set up and i am simply saying "reception to follow". i’m not planning on using "formal" though.
Post # 7
Technically "dinner" is the biggest meal of the day, no matter when it is eaten. A smaller meal around 6 p.m. ("dinnertime") should actually be called "supper." Nevertheless, people might not know this. You could say, "Join us at 1 p.m. for dinner, followed by dancing." That makes it obvious that the meal precedes the dancing. Or, "Join us at 1 p.m. for a formal lunch, followed by dancing."
Post # 9
I would say something like "luncheon and dancing to follow" so that your guests know what to expect.
Post # 10
I’m with chelseamorning. Any time you have a big ol’ meal it’s dinner. Think Thanksgiving dinner, or Sunday dinner eaten after church. I checked on dictionary.com to be sure that it wasn’t just a regional thing. It turns out that "dinner" is also "a formal meal in honor of some person or occasion" so calling it a "dinner" rather than a "luncheon" is appropriate — and it also lets people know to come hungry; there will be more than cookies and finger sandwiches. 🙂
Post # 11
I agree with Getmarried4 less in saying "Reception immediately following".
In my own personal opinion, calling dinner at 1pm would seem absurd.
Post # 12
Lunch….if I read "dinner" @ 1pm…I would honestly laugh..and wonder how the heck does that work??? Will we be starving until 6pm?
Post # 13
This post is giving me found memories of chatting with my grandmother. According to my grandmother (and many people of her generation) there are three meals in the day: Breakfast, Dinner, and Supper. Everytime my siblings and I said the word "lunch" she would look at us as though we were speaking Martian and say, "Do you mean dinner?"… with a confused look on her face. She wasn’t correcting us, she was asking – and yet she did this constantly for the 28 years I knew her. It was as though she’d never heard the word lunch before and couldn’t fathom why we kept saying it.
I think saying "dinner" on your invitation is perfectly charming (and accurate). We use all sorts of formal atypical language on these invites – honour, favour of your reply… Several posters have obviously never heard of calling the 2nd meal (or largest meal) dinner – but I bet if they received an invitation for a noon service and a 1pm dinner, they’d still show up and eat it 🙂 So you just have to decide which is more important to you, using wording you like (dinner), or making sure 100% of your guests understand (luncheon). I do like that you aren’t saying "brunch." I was once invited to a brunch and the entire time I was getting ready I was deciding if I was going to have an egg dish or waffles/french toast – imagine my stomache’s disappointment when they weren’t serving breakfast food – only lunch – or as my grandmother would say, dinner!!
Post # 14
I also have relatives (mostly older, mostly from rural areas) who call the mid-day meal dinner and the evening meal supper. As enmoore says, the main difference in usage is that dinner is always supposed to indicate the largest meal – hence, if you serve a lighter meal in the middle of the day it would be called lunch, and if you serve a lighter meal in the evening it would be called supper. However, what is pretty clear from the responses is that not many people are familiar with the usage. Googling invitation examples, I find quite a few that say "Luncheon and champagne reception to follow," or something similar, so I would tend to go with that – but it is certainly up to you. The main thing, I think, is to convey appropriate information – or not to confuse your guests. I know that my older aunts and uncles, and probably some of my cousins, would absolutely understand the use of the term "dinner" for a mid-day meal – although they would then expect something pretty substantial to be served (e.g., dinner). Most of my friends, on the other hand, would absolutely not know what was meant.
Post # 15
luncheon – dinner at 1pm, even though it may be accurate according to rules/past convention doesn’t really read properly to most people, especially not those familiar with the quirks of invitation language. 🙂
fancy it up how you like, but it’s probably more important to be clear with your guests… dinner at 1pm may be too confusing.
Post # 16
Sorry to beat a dead horse, but this really chafes my thighs. Whether or not it’s appropriate to call it dinner depends on whether or not it’s a big meal. It’s not a regional thing, it’s the definition of the word.
Dinner = the "main" meal of the day which may occur midday or in the evening
Lunch = a "light" meal served at midday. It is nearly synonymous with luncheon only luncheon connotes that the lunch is formal (a formal — but still small — midday meal).
If any guests are confused, they need only consult a dictionary. And a luncheon sounds like a gathering for a bunch of blue haired women …
Sorry for the preachiness. I really like words 🙂