(Closed) High Tea Reception (XP)

posted 3 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
600 posts
Busy bee

The timing seems fine to me and personally I wouldn’t expect a full meal for a 3 1/2 hour wedding during those hours. Like you said, just make sure that is communicated ahead of time.

I wouldn’t have wanted to do our photos after the reception unless you are able to touch up your hair and makeup. Mine would have been a mess. I was also really opposed to the first look idea but gave in for logisitical reasons, and it turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the day. 

Post # 3
1245 posts
Bumble bee

If I eat breakfast and then nothing until 3:00 only to be served apps, I’d be pretty cranky. When are people expected to eat lunch? I’d be getting ready at noon and leaving at 1ish to head to the venue. Your ceremony starts at 2 meaning guests should be seated by 1:45. Depending on location people will have drive time before too. Even if I eat as late as possible, 11:00, going 7 hours without another full meal is a long time! 

Post # 4
8238 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I think for the most part it sounds fine. 2-6pm – there is plenty of time to eat slightly before (11) or grab food on the way (1-2) and then a full meal afterwards (6+). It sounds like you don’t want to provide very many apps – what are you going to do when they run out? Maybe you can move the cake cutting up if you aren’t going to be providing much. You won’t want people drinking on an empty tummy for too long. 

Photos – you could do all the family portraits before the ceremony and just do some short couples ones afterwards. But honestly, logistically a first look is going to give you the most bang for your buck. I would agree that unless you have your hmua doing a touch up you might not want to do pictures after the reception. 

I don’t like the idea of any gap. What exactly is grandma going to do for 1 hour? I know my family attended one wedding with a 1.5hr gap and they literally just went there early and sat in their cars because they didnt know where to go and didnt want to drive anywhere else. 

Post # 5
3533 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

I would worry about people getting pretty trashed if they can drink for 3 hours straight without much food…. you should definitely have enough apps to fill up tummies, even if you need to bulk it up with cheap stuff like chips and salsa.

Post # 6
13979 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Open bar with light apps is a bad idea – people will get drunk quickly and have nothing to soak up the alcohol.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of your tiered second reception.  What if someone mentions the dinner to a guest that wasn’t invited to it? 

Post # 7
659 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

Why not just have a short ‘cake & punch’ reception (with just beer & champagne & soft drinks with cake/dessert table) after the ceremony and have the whole thing go from like 2pm-5pm.  Then everyone is gone and there is a decent break between the wedding and the dinner.  This would also be less likely to offend as the event is clearly over and then the dinner is family only.

Post # 9
1245 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

View original reply
misstomorris :  I would just do a cake & punch reception for your guests. An open bar is a waste when you’re only serving light apps. People would either not really drink or get too drunk. You don’t want to create a dangerous situation by having a lot of alcohol & not enough food (to absorb the alcohol).

  • I would also skip the dancing after the cake cutting. It would be weird to have potential dancing for 30 mins. 
  • In terms of photos, you can always do photos after the reception if the venue has good lighting, but I would just do the majority of photos before the ceremony. My husband and I did our photos before the ceremony, but I wouldn’t call it a first look. It was more of a “let’s get this done & over with so we can mingle later on”


12:30 or 1 PM – first look

2:00 PM – ceremony

2:30 PM – entrance, first dance, father/bride & mother/groom dance

2:50 PM – Increased # of apps & scale back on the bar

3:50 PM – cake cutting & toasts

4:15 PM – send off/wrap things up

As a guest, I wouldn’t care to be at a reception too long especially when there’s not a full meal being served. Your reception is essentially an extended cocktail hour, so having light apps to hold me over for 1.5 hours before cake (and not a full meal) would make me cranky. By ending everything before 4:30, it’ll allow your guests to drive back home and prepare for dinner.

Post # 10
322 posts
Helper bee

How far are people traveling? That’s my main concern – if I traveled more than an hour or so to the wedding and then found out that some of the guests were invited to a private dinner, I’d be pretty annoyed. I’d also skip the formal invitation for the dinner and call each person you’re inviting to the dinner to make sure it’s clear that it’s a very small, private affair.

Post # 11
655 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2019

I think as long as you make it pretty clear to everyone that’s what your doings do people are not traveling dry far to get to the wedding. I  would cut back on the alcohol after a certain point and I would definitely make sure there were enough appetizers to go around. Hungry guest equals grouchy people. Have you considered doing a brunch wedding? I read those can be cheaper and people tend to not drink as much. 

Post # 12
1012 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

I agree with Dobby98. Think about when your guests might be having lunch.

I also think be REALLY clear that there isn’t a proper meal. I went to a wedding with a High Tea once, and didn’t realise what that meant. Consequently I hadn’t had much lunch and was completely starving. I don’t have fond memories of the day, which is a shame. I wish it had been made clear to me to eat beforehand (or that the timings had made it blindingly obvious, which theirs didn’t). If I’d eaten beforehand and been prepared, the wedding and cake would have been lovely!

Post # 14
976 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

I think this is a bad idea.

The two-tier reception is just icky. Other guests will end up hearing about it. And if they also end up feeling hungry during your bigger reception, they’ll be really angry.

The whole thing is also just completely unnecessary. There’s already a standard time to hold an intimate dinner for immediate family and attendants; it’s called the rehearsal dinner.

We actually had a high tea reception ourselves, but we *also* served enough heavy apps to substitute for lunch immediately after the ceremony, taking the place of the cocktail hour in a standard timeline.

Post # 15
338 posts
Helper bee

I agree with PPs, I would do a more intimate smaller dinner for VIPS/fam the night before,then the afternoon reception you are thinking of having the next day. i would give ceremony and high tea start times, but no end time. 

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