(Closed) Cake and Punch Receptions?

posted 6 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
2055 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Sorry, have never been to one.  But I would travel for a cake & punch reception for a family member!  But I’d be sure to indicate on your invitation not to expect a full meal so we could eat before hand.

Post # 4
428 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

My friends had a cake and hors d’oeuvres reception last year. They had cake, chicken skewers, a veggie platter, a fruit platter, and some mini ham sandwiches. It was also an outdoor reception on a June afternoon in NC, so it was incredibly hot, but I was didn’t go home hungry or anything.

We’re also having an afternoon wedding and serving Italian hors d’oeuvres and cake. I figure since our ceremony is at 2:00 that people won’t expect a full meal, and I think we’ll have enough of a variety to satisfy everyone anyhow.

Post # 5
430 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I have never been to one but I don’t see that as being a problem.  I would also travel for a family member/close friend


Post # 6
123 posts
Blushing bee

Back in the day…. especially in the South… it was very common to have a reception that only offered cake, punch, nuts and mints.

Nowadays, it’s very common to have a reception, especially an afternoon or early evening one, in which only appetizers and finger foods are served.  That harkens back to the idea of an afternoon tea, which are still considered a must have social event for the debutante bride. 😉

At my niece’s 6 p.m. wedding, we are going with heavy hor d’oeuvres served buffet style.  We have a southern theme going… so that will include shrimp and grits, a biscuit bar with all the fixin’s, sliced eye of round with a variety of rolls and condiments,  as well as several hot dips, crudite, and a fruit and cheese display.  I expect there will be plenty for the guests to feel satisfied and not cheated out of a full meal.

Plus… we are doing wine, beer and a signature cocktail, as well as a sweets table.

In my opinion… it’s your wedding, and pretty much anything goes these days. Do what makes you happy and what fits in your budget. 

Post # 7
8576 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

I think it depends on the time of day.

Cake and punch reception at 5:00 pm? That’s just awful. That’s dinner time and your gusts will probably ditch your wedding RIGHT after cake cutting to go get some food.

Cake and punch reception at 1:00 pm? Doable. But let them know to eat a big lunch to tide them over.

Appetizer receptions can be LOVELY. Sometimes you can have just as much food as you would have had for a plated dinner, but with TONS more options.


Would I travel to another state for a cake & punch reception? It depends. If I already had the day off and didn’t have to miss work, yes. If I had to take a day off, I would send a gift card and that’s about it. To me, it seems kind of cheap to only offer punch & cake when your guests are spending $100+ in gas to get to your wedding, + a gift, dress attire and the time to take off of work [which would cost me $150 out of my check]. So roughly, so it would cost me about $400 to go to your wedding for punch and cake. Yeah.. no thanks. The only way I would attend this would be if you were my immediate family.

Just being honest.

Post # 8
54 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

My Boyfriend or Best Friend and I have traveled to Turkey to go to his best friend’s wedding. The family had a small budget and had tons of relatives (think 300) invited so we ended up having cookies and soda at the wedding.

In the morning of wedding though, the groom and his family hosted a brunch full of yummy homemade Turkish pastries for close friends at their apartment.

Echoing CityBearBrideMake sure your invitees know a full meal will not be served and I would absolutely travel if that person is important to me.

Post # 9
605 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

As @dittobelle: mentioned, this isn’t uncommon in the south. I’ve been to several and have never once heard anyone complain.

I would travel to a friend or family member’s wedding without so much as giving a second thought about what they were going to serve.

Post # 10
1846 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

It really wouldn’t make any difference to me what someone was planning on serving at their wedding reception. If they are family, I would be there. 

However, I would appreciate some advance warning that there won’t be a full meal, so that I could make other arrangements..

Post # 11
3569 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I would travel for a family members wedding regardless. My only advice is plan a shorter timeline so don’t host a six hour reception or anything like that, and you should be fine.

Post # 12
2775 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

The type of food served at a wedding has zero bearing on whether I’d attend. If you’re a close friend or family member, I’d travel and be there whether you were serving cake and punch in your backyard, or a five course gourmet meal at the fanciest venue in town.

It wouldn’t be polite to serve cake and punch at a wedding that takes place over prime dinnertime, but if you avoid mealtimes all you are obligated to provide (and all people should expect) is a light snack.

Post # 13
11233 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

When my great aunt got married last summer, they had a cake and punch reception. We drove an hour one way for a 1PM ceremony, and THEN found out that all they had was one cupcake and one single serving of ice cream for each person. :

I think I would be pretty upset if I had to travel for a wedding and was only served cake and punch. Not having a meal would be a huge bummer and really bad for my blood sugar (especially if I wasn’t told first), and I would probably RSVP no if it was more than an hour away. :

Post # 14
732 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

We’re doing the cocktail reception style. We’re serving finger sandwiches, minni croisants sandwiches, minni wraps, some veggies/fruit platters, a nice dessert buffet, and candy buffet. Im just stating on the reception and on the wedding website ( where we’re asking our guests to rsvp to) that its a cocktail style reception so no one expects a meal. Our wedding/recpetion is going from 1-4pm so im hoping no on would expect a full meal anywyas. We’re also taking immediate family to dinner afterwards.


Post # 15
6256 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2014

I am from a small town originally, and cake and punch is the norm there. In fact, I didn’t attend a wedding with a full meal, buffet or sit-down, until I was well into college. My mother’s wedding, sister’s wedding, both step-brothers, and step-sisters weddings were all like this, as were most of my cousins.

I’d definitely go, but I’m not sure if I’d drive out of state for it if it sounded like it was going to be very short. Spending longer on the road than I do at whatever I am driving to is a pet peeve of mine, though.

Post # 16
328 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I have been to a cake and punch reception, and it was disappointing.  Just being honest, but I did not feel important as a guest.  It felt more like a gift grab.

I see that you are not marrying for another year and a half, could you possibly save up a little money to provide your guests with some appetizers?  I do feel that something more needs to be offered.  Because really, the wedding is not the fun part for your guests, right? 

Or, cut your guest list down to what you can comfortably host.

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