(Closed) Have you been to an appetizers-only wedding where there really was enough food?

posted 6 years ago in Food
Post # 2
3108 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

In my experience, if she’s saving money over the cost of a full dinner, there probably won’t be enough food. 

I’ve only been to one cocktail style wedding that had enough food for everyone, but they had a ton of food — chips and dips, cheese fruit and vegetable trays, a bunch of different hot appetizers, carving station, etc. 

Post # 3
3080 posts
Sugar bee

I’ve been to weddings with buffets, where there was not enough food, that I liked or would eat; 6 items – 2 meats (nope), starch, vegetable, roll, and salad.

The last wedding I attended I only ate 1 of the many passed hors d’oeuvres, because it was the only vegetarian one that was offered to me. I later ate the appetizer and salad, but the main entree was horrible.

Post # 4
4113 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

We had a cocktail- style wedding.. However, it wasn’t to cut costs and ended up costing us a lot more than a sit down option would’ve. If she’s doing this to save money, she’s likely not concerned about people having enough for guests to feel full.. (Personaly that was one of our biggest priorities and there was a ton of food as well as an open bar but, I digress).

With that being said, I don’t know why you think its your place to tell her what to do.. Giving unsolicited opinions never goes over well. Let her do her and plan to grab something more substantial to eat either before or after the wedding. Its one meal of your life.

Post # 5
9210 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

View original reply
sunnierdaysahead2:  I have been to an hor d’ouerves wedding that didn’t leave people hungry – my own! A few people confided in me “I’m a big eater so I was originally a little worried, but your food was amazing and I liked that I got to graze all night long rather than have a heavy meal before trying to dance” We didn’t do a cocktail hour and call it quits, food was constantly being served from the moment the guests arrived until about an hour before we finished for the night. 

That said – it cost me MORE than a seated dinner would have, so if you friend is thinking it is going to save money then she likely isn’t planning for enough food.  I went this route because I wanted a cocktail-party atmosphere, but to do it properly will cost the same, if not more, than a standard dinner. Think of it this way – you’re asking a caterer to make the same volume of food (enough to fill everyone up) but instead of slicing a prime rib and scooping mashed potatoes onto a plate you want them to put together every single bite by hand. It’s labor intensive to make that many little canapes! 

Post # 6
389 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I’ve heard about a few that have been very filling, but mainly because there was a lot of options/quantity and it ended up costing more than a plated meal. If she is saving $2,000 I doubt it will be enough. Does the venue allow to bring outside homemade food? If so maybe help her out by making some inexpensive desserts to add to what she already has planned???

It sucks that she put herself in a position to be over budget and still sent out inviations… But rsvps haven’t come back yet i’m assuming. She could be suprised by the amount of declines which will help bring the cost down.

Post # 7
2065 posts
Buzzing bee

No hard liquor seems reasonable to me, I’m not even allowed to have hard liquor at my venue. Appetizers, eh, I’ve been to fancy plated weddings where I left starving too. I think I would just be planning to cut hours if she is cutting food. But I would stay out of it if I were you.

Post # 9
1641 posts
Bumble bee

I went to an appetizer-only wedding, and I never really found out if they had enough food or not, because there were only two stations and you had to wait in a gigantic line of 60 people in order to get any. So make sure there are plenty of access points!

Post # 10
937 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

Since her invitations already went out I don’t think it is fair to guests to change from a dinner to appetizers only. I think she can change the open bar to beer and wine only unless it was stated there would be an open bar on the invitation. I feel many couples now a days are doing beer and wine only I don’t see a problem with this. 

Post # 11
328 posts
Helper bee

It’s honestly none of your business what she’s doing at her own wedding– it sounds like you’ve already tried talking to her and expressing your concerns, but if she’s not listening then I think it’s best if you stop trying to help her or give her pointers etc. Pack a bag of snacks for you and the other bridesmaids if you’re concerned about having enough food. This is her problem, and you’re only going to stress her (and yourself) out more by making it your problem too.

Post # 12
2922 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2016 - Surfer\'s Beach, Grand Cayman

It really depends.

My friend had a cocktail style wedding with tons of heavy passed hors d’oeuvres, as well as 2 food stations (pasta and sushi), and I’ve never been more full at a wedding. She did have the ceremony at 6:30 in effort to give folks a chance to have an early dinner if they felt necessary. 

We are having an at home cocktail reception to celebrate our elopement, and now while it is at 8pm, and most people will have had dinner already, we will have 4 different passed hors d’oeuvres, veggies and breads with various dips, cheese plates, and a pasta station with 4 different varieties of pasta. I think it’s going to be more than enough food, the only issue is that if it were being served at mealtime it wouldn’t really have enough variety to please everyone’s tastes and dietary restrictions. That would be my main concern. 

Post # 13
2263 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I have been to appetizer receptions that were better than platted meals.  I have been to a plated dinner that was less filling than an appetizer recpetion, so it all depends. 

I’m a bit suspcious of the cost savings, but if she is going form a 4 course meal of high end food (steak, shirmp, ect) to appetizers, its possible to not be hungry. 

Also, for the booze, unless you put on your invite “FULL BAR PROVIDED” not a lot of people are going to bat an eye at a limited bar menu.  Its seems to be more and more standard as wedding prices increase. 

Post # 14
2063 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

To answer your question in the subject heading: Yes, I have been to an appetizer-only wedding and there was more than enough food. However, it was HEAVY appetizers. Like, there were mini-sliders AND antipasti AND sushi. And we were ridiculously full. 

But I’m surprised that she never talked this over with the caterer–ie, most caterers, if you said, “We need to cut some of our food budget by $2K” would at least try to come up with an alternate menu. 

Here are the questions in my mind: 

1. What time is the reception? I think that if you have it anytime between 3-6, it’s a signal to guests that there won’t be a meal becuase that’s outside of regular eating times, so she might be okay if her reception starts at 4:30. 

2. That said, what kind of reception does she want? Because if you have a cocktail reception and don’t serve a meal, then the idea is that your guests do cocktails with you and then make their own dinner plans–ie, your reception is maybe a 2 hour affair. Having a cocktail reception and THEN asking your guests to stay for dancing without dinner is pushing it. (the heavy-app wedding I went to DID have dancing, but, around 8-9pm, they ordered a bunch of pizzas so no one went starving into the night. Pizza delivery may not be everyone’s style, but after noshing on like, mini-lobster quiches and toro sashimi, I thought it was fine, personally.) 

3. I would tell her to just skip the cash bar. Wine and beer are perfectly fine for a wedding (and ESPECIALLY fine if you don’t serve a meal!)

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by BothCoasts.
Post # 15
175 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

At our wedding we had lots of sandwiches and veggie and fruit trays from Jason’s Deli, as well as punch, cookies and cake.  There were plenty of leftovers, so if people didn’t eat enough it wasn’t my fault.  We had our wedding at 2pm though, so people wouldn’t expect a full out dinner.  We actually could’ve had a local BBQ joint cater for about the same cost, but we just didn’t want the formal “sit down dinner” style reception.

I think cutting on alcohol is a great way to save money, but I’ve been to very few weddings with alcohol apart from a champagne toast.  The one open bar I’ve been to was nice, but I wasn’t expecting it at all.  At the end of the day, I don’t blame your friend at all for wanting an extra few thousand in her pocket once the wedding is over.  Just try and be supportive.

Does she have a wedding website?  Maybe she could update that to reflect the appetizers-only option.  Also, if it’s an afternoon wedding people probably won’t expect a full meal (depending on the time).

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