Post # 1
I am recently engaged and we are planning our wedding for 2009, probably in the fall. My huge family is from Northwest Connecticut (very rural and hard to get too, and no place to stay) and we, along with all of his friends and family, live in the northern suburbs of Philadelphia.
We have a big dilemma about where to have our wedding because of the distances. No matter what it will be a destination wedding for at least half of our guests. We understand and have excepted this but our budget is not significant.
My questions is…Can we get away with doing a heavy cocktail or light lunch reception if we are asking so many people to travel and spend money on hotels and other travel expenses? We want to protect our limited budget but we also want to be considerate of our guests.
Other factors are:
- We do want to have a DJ as dancing my favorite part of a wedding so we think cocktails may be more practical than lunch.
- If we have the wedding part way to CT at least the Philadelphians can return home after the wedding if it doesn’t end too late. (They could also drive up the same day.)
- We are considering a Sunday wedding to cut costs. Many people will have to take either the day before or the day after off anyway, for travel.
- Our invitation list is around 150 people. This includes mostly family on my side(my friend count, including the wedding party & spouses, is around 12) and mostly friends on his side. His side would do the least amount of traveling unless we had the wedding in CT.
Thanks for your help,
Post # 3
I would personally do a lunch. That way, if it is on a Sunday, work/school/other obligations are a bit further away and people won’t have it dangling over their heads so they can enjoy themselves. Plus, there is still time to get home without having to take the next day off.
Post # 4
TBerry, depending on your budget, you can have a nice reception. If you find a good catering who can work on your budget plus a venue with low rental costs, it can definitely work. Cocktail reception can get pricey because of the small portion size, you have to order extra in order for people to be sufficiently fed. In addition, some cocktail receptions can include "stations" and those require extra chef/servers.
A lunch is a good way to go, and a lunch buffet is even more affordable.
Post # 5
My friend is doing a lunch reception (with dancing) on a Saturday followed by a bowling afterparty for whoever wants to come. I agree with Chill that cocktails can get pricey so don’t rule out the catered meals…they might not be as expensive as you think!
Post # 6
oh i’ve been to a cocktail reception where they had only heavy hors d’oeuvres and it was honestly the best party ever! people walked around and danced and danced and it was so much fun! if you go simple and just focus on the people and the party aspect, they’ll have a fabulous time. go for it!
Post # 7
I think that a reception also relieves people of the obligation to stay throughout the entire thing — in case they do need to escape early to get back for work on Monday, a reception makes it easier for people to come and go as they need to..if that’s okay with you however!
Post # 8
i dont think there is anything wrong with having a cocktail reception… the finger food’s fun, there’s drinks & dancing and that’s what it’s all about! that said, almost all our guests are 1- 3 hr drive away and we are doing a Saturday lunch reception (12-5)… our reception place charges the same discounted price for friday, sat afternoon or sunday receptions (so research what places actually charge for a lunch or dinner before dismissing a sat wedding). since an afternoon reception might make the day end too soon for those living in the area or even those traveling far, later that evening we are having an afterparty at a local bar. i think this approach could work well for you too, since long distance guests can go for ceremony/ light lunch, chat a bit & then go home without getting a hotel… or stay (where they live) and party later on too.
Post # 9
Cocktail receptions are perfectly fine. Many times cocktail hour is better than the actual sit down dinner.
Even if you have an afternoon reception it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a cocktail reception. If many people are traveling to attend the wedding and you don’t want them to have to stay over you can definitely have a cocktail reception with dancing.
It also depends on what type of reception you want. Do you want people to have a sit down meal or a less formal cocktail reception?
Check with reception spaces and caterers to find out what the options and prices would be for a Sunday afternoon. Also, you may want to consider hiring a wedding planner if you are thinking of having the wedding half way between the two locations. It can be very challenging to coordinate something like that.