(Closed) Help! Logistics of a dessert reception?

posted 4 years ago in Logistics
Post # 2
9604 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

To be honest I think it’s a tough sell to have people drive out and not be served dinner around dinner time. Even tougher sell if a 25 minute drive to a hotel is required… I don’t think many will travel to only be invited to the back end of your reception, dessert only. I personally wouldn’t make the trip if I wasn’t invited to the wedding. 

Post # 3
3682 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

7pm is early for a dessert reception, especially when it’s a half an hour drive. Tiered receptions aren’t exactly polite, especially when the “VIP” guests are staying on site while the B-list guests have to drive in for dessert and leave. I would just fully host your 25 guests. 

Post # 4
47197 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

WiredOwl:  There’s a difference between an intimate, family only ceremony followed by a much larger reception, and a tired reception, which is what you are describing.

The former is perfectly acceptable, whereas the latter may be perceived by those invited for dessert as being second class guests. “No soup for you!”

Post # 5
3611 posts
Sugar bee

If I were one of the 45 guests invited to the dessert-only reception, I’d skip it. No way I’d travel out of my way to be a B-list guest at a tiered reception. I *might* go to something like this if it were local to me, by which I mean literally a ten-minute cab ride away, no further. Sorry, but I just don’t think this will go over well.

Post # 6
1311 posts
Bumble bee

Nope. Don’t do this.

Post # 7
899 posts
Busy bee

If you do decide to do this- push back the dessert reception. Also, make it well aware to those guests it will only be dessert. If I was invited to a 7 pm reception- I would probably assume it was a meal. 

Post # 8
8814 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

WiredOwl:  “to travel a long way just for an evening party seems kinda lame to me.” I agree. Especially once your 1st tier guests start talking about the dinner and their fancy bedrooms. It’s going to feel like an even longer way and a lamer party for the 2nd tier folks. I recommend just sticking with the 25 VIPs.

Post # 9
7412 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

What can I say that hasn’t been said already? If you’re already worried that guests might not want to trek out to the middle of nowhere for your reception, you’re not going to entice them to go the distance by offering them only desserts, regardless of the time of day, but even less so when you want them to come smack in the middle of dinner hour.! then expect them to drive on back home. This isn’t a very good way to treat the guests and you might be disappointed in the turnout. 

Post # 10
2507 posts
Sugar bee

I mean, I’m a pretty staunch believer that if you’re making guests drive any distance from hotel to reception, then you should provide the transportation (some sort of shuttle so guests can drink and enjoy themselves). So problem number 1 is that you’re making them drive, which already would probably mean I wouldn’t go. Then to add insult to injury, you’re not only expecting them to drive themselves, but you’re not feeding them (dinner) either! No way bee. 

Post # 11
154 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

hmmmm… perhaps I am not understanding it correctly, but it sounds like you are inviting only 25 people to your wedding ceremony and reception, but then inviting another 45 or so to join you for dessert?

This is, as others have said, a tiered wedding. Where only certain guests “make the cut”. It is not socially acceptable, under any circumstances. If I were invited to “dessert” but was not included in the ceremony (aka…the wedding) or dinner, I would not consider attending if it involved ANY traveling. I would not drive or fly several hours to have some cake. 

There IS a way to host a dessert only reception and have it be okay…but I was wondering what you meant by private ceremony? Like…only the two of you and the witness? Or only the 25?

Here are my two plan suggestions:

1. Have a private ceremony (just you two) and then celebrate another time.

Having a private ceremony followed by a non-private celebration always comes across a little odd for the guests. You want us to come celebrate with you? But you don’t want us to be there when it happens? So the best thing to do is seperate the two events. For example, have the ceremony the night before, several days before, or the weekend before. Then make this a weekend celebration with family and friends. You will want to also seperate the dessert party and dinner party, enough so that it is not obvious that only one group is invited to the other portion.

For example, wouldn’t you feel odd being invited to a birthday party at 2:00, and when you arrive they are having cake. But other guests were invited at noon and had a big lunch?


2. The (in my opinion) better option:

Invite everyone (all 25 + all 45) to a wedding ceremony, followed by a dessert reception. You can make this cute, while still inexpensive, but will need to be specific in the invitation. “Join us following for cake and champagne” so that people grab a snack beforehand. Have a designated start and end time (and choose times that are not meal times) for example 3:00 to 5:00. Once the party ends and most people have left, have some sort of break activity (games on the lawn? bonfire?) before having the dinner with the remaining guests. 

Having the smaller group event AFTER will help avoid the sense of “oh, I wasn’t invited to that portion of the party” – instead it will feel like an entirely different event, for the guests who are staying at the venue.

If you are open to having a full reception, where all guests are included in the same hosted occasions, I would suggest this. It will help avoid hut feelings.

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