(Closed) Can't Afford to Serve a Full Supper

posted 8 years ago in Reception
Post # 17
7599 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

I will be a devils advocate here. The reason you are taking so much heat for your choices has a lot to do with the timing. If the event starts at 3:00 or 3:30 on a weekday, many of your guests will need to take a half-day or even a full day off of work; some will need to travel which isn’t cheap, even if just done by car. You are only willing to welcome them for 2 hours and only welcoming them with “everyday” foods. You’re not making your guests feel special. Even if you’re doing the very best you can, it isn’t giving a hospitable appearance to your guests.

Have you considered doing a private ceremony on the Wednesday then having your reception the following weekend? By being more considerate of your guests’ schedules, you become the better hostess. You may also consider some menu items that have more of a “wow” factor even if they are equally budget-friendly, such as jambalaya which can made fairly cheaply, holds up well if you make it in advance, but also sounds like a special treat to most folks outside of certain regions. It’s just one example but if you really try, you can transform your sandwiches-and-lasagne budget into something really special.


yes I know the wedding is all about the bride and groom, but as a hostess, your job is to make your guests feel welcome and honored at every occasion.

Post # 18
9791 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

Well that sounds like a full meal to me.

But if your reception is only from 4-5:30 pm I think you could just to appetizers as well. 

In fact that’s probably what I would do.  If you serve a full meal it probably would take at least an hour for everyone to eat so you wouldn’t even have time to greet them or mingle.

If you go until 6 or 7 though you definitely want the full meal.

Post # 19
11515 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

@JessicaJupiter:  Personally, I would make it later – why not have your ceremony at 5:30, then light refreshments to follow?  You could do similar food, standing reception until 8:30.  Your time is awkward and will make it difficult for anyone who works or has children to pick up from school.  Your menu sounds just fine to me.

Post # 20
1298 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

How you considered doing just a cocktail-style reception?  If your wedding is over by 5:30, that’s pretty early to eat dinner anyway.  You can go to Costco (or some similar store) and get a ton of yummy appetizers to heat up on the day, plus maybe the pasta salad and finger sandwhiches.  If I saw something was ending at 5:30, I wouldn’t even think dinner was being served.

Post # 21
4360 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - Canada

View original reply
@JessicaJupiter:  Welcome to the hive! Sorry to had a negative experience on another site 🙁 I think your options sound awesome! I honestly wouldnt expect lasagna, and maybe because of the timing of your wedding it seems a bit out of place to me, but it’s your wedding and you can do whatever you want! If it were me i’d do a “cocktails & appetizers” reception, and have family members bring 50 of their favorite appetizer as their ‘contribution’… a partial potluck sort of! No one will expect a full meal and the timing is great for them to get a bite to eat, celebrate with you, then sneak home for dinner!

Post # 22
656 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I think, that no one who cares for you or your Fiance would think twice if that’s what you did… and if they judged it for whatever reason, its no loss to you.

Instead of the officiant for $250- you could get a friend or family member ordained for way less than that, but I’m not sure exact amount. I think my brother-in-law paid $20?

I would love to go to a “cocktail wedding”. I still think that’s a generous amount of food, but the times are off. 

Other options: If I were you, I’d find a park, and at night wrap lights around the trees, rent cocktail tables, and put tealights on the tables (tealights and holders can be found at a dollar store!). Make it romantic and classy, and almost whimsical. Maybe serve hot chocolate, ciders, etc for the October weather depending where you are? serve just cake, finger desserts and pies?

I think it’s doable, and it can be amazing. Don’t let other people tell you otherwise.

Post # 23
444 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

Welcome to the Bee! I came to the Bee for the exact same reasons at the Knot (too many agressive, judgemental people on there).

Don’t read too much into the negativity. After all, if is YOUR celebration and you can spend YOUR money however you want! If you were my friend and I was invited, I would go to support you.

It sounds to me like you are having a little gathering to spend some time with the guest after your ceremony and doesn’t sound to me like you are planning a full blown 4-5 hour reception. Which to me is TOTALLY fine. 

I agree with PP, I wouldn’t do Lasagna because that is more of a meal. Consider doing little tea sandwiches, veggie & fruit tray, maybe some crackers with cheese & pepperoni. Make a kabob display – fruit, veggies, meat & cheese, mozzerella and tomatoes, chicken, etc. Soo many ideas!!!

ETA: Word the invitations with somthing along the lines of”Light Refreshments to follow”



Post # 24
344 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Honestly, good on you for realizing how much you can afford to spend and being determined not to go over.

If I were you, I would have the ceremony at whatever time you want, but have an evening cocktail/appetizer thing around 7-8pm. Serve booze and apps only– get a few costco platters and maybe some hot finger foods- meatballs, mini spring rolls, cheese, etc.

Post # 26
444 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

ETA: You could make each level different kabobs and use things that you have at home to use a risers and dishes

Post # 27
9947 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Hi  @JessicaJupiter:  First and foremost as this is your DEBUT post on WBee… a BIG Welcome to “The Hive”

I am a bit of an Etiquette Snob here… lol

(In so much as my upbringing and career have given more than ample amounts of knowledge about the topic… )


View original reply
@Brielle: &
View original reply
@julies1949: identified, you can quite easily have a Wedding with LIGHT Eats following

The trick is all in the timing.

And for those eats you could choose to serve just Cake & Bubbles (Champagne / Sparkling… or Punch, Tea & Coffee… whatever you wish)

OR you could do a nice Traditional Afternoon Tea (tea sandwiches, crudites, pickles, maybe a spot of cheese) followed by Cake & Bevvys

All of these options could be much less expensive than what you have planned now (which does look a lot like a full meal, albeit a more casual one)

Aiming for eats somewhere between 2 and 4 PM, and you’d be good to go

If you have it hitting between 4 and 5 or later, then ya, people are going to expect more substantial fare

Hope this helps,

PS… Your plans sound quite lovely by the way.  I think you’ll find The Hive to be a much more “gounded bunch” than that other website that shall remain nameless (for the record it is a bit of a no-no around here to knock them… so most of us just choose not to mention them at all… lol, as the old saying goes “If you can’t say something nice, then best to say nothing at all”)




Post # 28
2624 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

View original reply
@kes18:  +1

Post # 30
4753 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

That sounds fine to me. Perhaps make the “meal” time at an odd hour. Like serve all that food at 4pm?

The topic ‘Can't Afford to Serve a Full Supper’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors