Post # 1
Good morning, Weddingbees-
It seems like since I got engaged I’ve had one financial emergency after an another, with this last one causing my entire wedding savings to be depleted.
My question is this: I am getting married at 7pm. Would it be entirely tacky to NOT serve a full course dinner at the reception? I am thinking along the lines of shrimp cocktails, potato and/or broccoli soups (since it’s in winter), a salad bar for sure… I’m not sure what I want to do, honestly. Please give me your advice. Our families are humble, but a few of the guests are going to be well known and respected people in the community. I would hate to embarass our families by having a “soup kitchen” wedding… My mother and I will probably do all the cooking, too.
Ladies – HELP!!! I need options, and you all give wonderful advice. I prefer asking you all over family and friends because you tell it to me straight. Thank you in advance.
One last thing: The reception is at the church and will end at 10. Whatever I decide to have for the reception, whether it’s just cake or a full meal, will be on the RSVP. So we have 7:30-10:00 to pack in food, dances, toasts and cake.
Post # 3
Why not do a full course Texas BBQ? It wouldn’t be expensive, and it would be really popular.
Post # 4
How about a couple stations? Meat carving, mashed potatoes, etc. They would be more filling and your guests could make a meal out of it.
Post # 5
OK. I think you need to serve a meal. If you need to save money, make it a buffet. My friend had an Indian buffet on a shoestring budget. It was great.
If you really want to save, I think potluck weddings can be fun. My parents’ friends had a village fete themed wedding with hand made recipe books as favours, and prizes for the best main course/dessert etc. If you make it part of the theme then I think it looks cool, although some people on here might disagree!
Post # 6
I think your idea is fine but I’d eleminate soup. I like that it’s a winter thing but soup would make me think there is more to come unless you made it very hearty with fresh breads to side or something. I guess that would work. But soup is a very sit down, first course kinda thing in my mind.
I would for sure eat before going to a 7pm wedding.
Post # 7
I don’t think you can host a 7pm reception and NOT provide a full meal. How upscale that meal is, really depends on your budget, but it needs to be satisfying and filling. Shrimp cocktail, soup and salad doesn’t really cut it, unfortunately.
You may want to price take-out meals/catering meals from several local restaurants. Italian and BBQ tend to be budget-friendly choices and you may find it is not really that much more expensive than self-catering. Self-catering is always risky because it requires a fair amount of time and attention on the days before and the day of the wedding, and most brides simply do not have either to devote to catering. Pans of baked pasta/stuffed shells/lasagne or BBQ can be a good alternative.
Post # 8
Given the time, I think it’s better to serve an affordable meal than fancy light things. I think both shrimp cocktails and soups are something that make you expect “more”. And shirimp cocktails are expensive too. I’d get rid of shrimp and have something cheaper but more filling such as pork or chicken. Mashed potato will be good item too. Soup can be better if it’s with bread or buttermilk biscuit.
As you mentioned your mom and you’re going to cook, how many guests? It may help. And I think Texas BBQ is fantastic idea too.
Post # 9
Thank you for the help. I had a gut feeling everyone would agree that there had to be a full course meal. I will likely end up with a buffet, although BBQ will be out of the option considering the wedding is Thanksgiving weekend, and in the evening. We have few BBQ options where I live.
Post # 10
@cindeeeh: I agree that people will expect a meal at that time. I would consider a pasta buffet. Pasta is very price conscious. Have a few different sauces that your guests can choose- Alfredo, Bolognese, Marinara etc. Add a green salad, some rolls and you are done.
Post # 11
My dad is cooking for my reception and it going to be very inexpensive, probably about $1000 for 100 people. He’s just doing roast beef, mashed potato, some salads and some veggies. I think if you were to do something like that it would be a lot better than just snacks, and wouldn’t have to take very long (we’re planning about 1.5 hours for eating). Also, since it is served buffet style the wedding party and our families will be eating first, leaving us time to do toasts after 1 hour while the guests are still eating. Since your time is super limited you could even start that earlier. But if your mom and maybe just some friends cooked something simple I think you would end up with a lovely reception!