(Closed) Is a heavy hors d’oeuvres reception ok for a 5 pm wedding?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
838 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Have you thought about maybe just a cocktail hour w/ no appetizers?

Post # 4
Member
1940 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Just my experience… I really wanted a cocktail style reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres.  When I had it priced out by our caterer though, it was more expensive than having a sit down meal.  Basically it takes more work to prep the food, more people to serve it, etc.  The amount of food that guests eat is about the same whether or not your have a sit down meal or or heavy hors d’oeuvres.  Depending on the particular food, a serving was 3 pieces (meatballs) or sometimes more.  

If you’re making the food yourself (not using a catering company), it may be less expensive than a sit down meal.  Either way, I would definitely look at the prices.

I’ve heard that dessert receptions can be a less expensive option, but I think you would probably have to have the reception earlier (afternoon before dinner time) or in the evening (after 8pm).

Post # 6
Member
1940 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

This is just my experience (maybe some other bees will chime in!) but our buffet dinner was more expensive (by a little bit) than a seated dinner.  The basic reason is that more food has to be prepared.  People tend to take more food at a buffet than they would be served.  In addition, if you have two main dishes, people may decide to try both!  Or one dish may be much more popular than the other and you don’t want to run out of it before everyone gets an opportunity to go through the line.  Basically double the food has to be made, just in case.  

 

So, at least at our venue, the least expensive to the most expensive: seated dinner < buffet < heavy hors d’oeuvres.  

Post # 7
Member
404 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I am a big fan of the hors d’ouevre/cocktail receptions- I’m having one myself! But heavy hors d’ouevres at 5 pm need to be pretty heavy…otherwise hungry guests might leave your wedding early to grab dinner on their own.

My wedding reception starts at 8 pm so we can avoid “mealtime” and I am over-communicating with my guests that it will be a cocktail/hors d’oeuvres reception so they know to eat something beforehand.

Post # 8
Member
1426 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

If you are set on 5pm, I would suggest trying to do a small dinner, rather than appetizers and heavy hors d’oeuvres. I would even cut back on the bar if necessary.  But at 5 o’clock people will expect dinner and might get frustrated if they keep waiting for dinner to appear and it never comes.  The good news is Eva is probably right.  We also priced heavy hors d’oeuvres and found that it was about the same as a light dinner (salad, meat and two sides). 

If your guest list is around 100 or so, check out restaurants as well as traditional wedding venues. They sometimes have better prices, and many will let you have all the same elements of a reception elsewhere.  Or, if you want the cocktail reception feeling, push it to a little later in the evening and be clear on the invitation that it isn’t dinner so that people know to eat beforehand. 

Post # 9
Member
2640 posts
Sugar bee

 I think 5pm isn’t a good time to just have apps.  (Unless your plan was to have enough apps to really qualify as a dinner.) 

I don’t have experience with the price of apps compared to the price of dinner.  Although I’d believe it could be more expensive.  But I do agree with Eva, buffets at our venue were more expensive than at least some of the sit downs.

Post # 11
Member
1315 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I’m going with a buffet, as it’s significantly cheaper at our venue than proper sit down. I did inquire about an hors d’oeuvres/finger food situation, but was told it’s actually dearer, that people eat an awful lot more  when ‘grazing’ in this way, than they will when filling a regular plate with what’s essentially a dinner!

I’m also organising an 80th birthday party for my dad in July, and the venue for that said the same – it’s cheaper to have a full service hot buffet than even just sandwiches, vol au vents and sausages!

So really talk to your venue/caterer. Good luck!

Post # 13
Member
2640 posts
Sugar bee

Were you planning on having really heavy apps?  If not, I wouldn’t recommend that, considering all the OOTers you have.  If they’re coming a long way, and paying for hotel and travel expenses to go to your wedding, I would recommend having a dinner for them.

@aunt pol  -what’s vol au vent?

Post # 14
Member
1046 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

With the time of your ceremony and reception, you are hitting every guest’s dinner hour (no one will eat dinner before your ceremony because it is early and it’ll end too late for anyone to eat dinner). I think heavy hors d’oeuvres really only work for a later reception. I’d look into plated dinners with limited choices and then skip the cocktail appetizers if you are going over budget. I think with that early of a ceremony you don’t need appetizers before the dinner.

Post # 15
Member
703 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Ms Teddy – we have similar situations.  5:30pm wedding at the same location as the reception.  Once I priced everything out, it was least expensive to do a sit-down meal.  Have you looked at prices at your venue yet?  I would check them out just to see if apps really are going to be less expensive (you’d have to have LOTS to keep people full).. then worry about moving your time if you’re set on apps.  🙂

Post # 16
Member
703 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Oops sorry I didn’t see your post about apps being less expensive!  Even in the larger quantity you would need? 

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