Post # 1
I know other people have asked about cocktail receptions but I couldnt find my particular issue addressed. 🙂
My fiance and I have found a really nice venue within our budget just outside Chicago. The only problem is that our expected # of guests (after slashing and cutting) is 80 which is right at the seated capacity for the room. We’ve decided we don’t like the idea of a sit down dinner for two reasons: 1) we want to be able to mingle easily with friends and family 2) we want enough room for dancing. We can squeeze everyone in with a small dance floor but I dont think it will feel right. Plus, it will mostly be a younger crowd (mostly late 20s – very few family members) & I think they’ll want to dance more than they’ll want to sit. So it seems obvious that we should have a late evening cocktail reception, right? But because our venue is in a lovely park we’d like to have an outside ceremony while it’s still light out. So the timeline & setup I’m thinking of is:
6pm ceremony outside (sunset is at 7)
7pm – 10/11 reception with LOTS of appetizers & h’or dourves
we’d set out 2-3 60′ rounds on either side of the room (so 32-48 ppl could sit at any time) and 2 high boys on either side. We’d also line up chairs along the wall. I also found some great plates with cup holders that should help free up hands.
That’s as far as I’ve got. I know it terribly faux pas to not serve dinner during dinner hours but I can’t have the ceremony earlier due to the fact that other events have been planned during the day.
Should I just suck it up and serve a full dinner? Or does my plan seem ok?
Post # 3
@beki: your plan is exactly like ours! we are doing a destination wedding cause of family locale but ultimately its just an excuse to go south and party! we are doing an evening wedding ceremony outside on the lawn and then the venue has a huge wrap-around porch for the bar and a great indoor space for reception and dancing! i have my timeline like this currently: 5:30pm seating, ceremony 6:00pm, cocktails and passed apps. starting at 6:30pm and going unti 9:30pm. we picked lots of fun, southern, low country apps. and there is always the cake too! we had to cut our budget cause we just moved to chicago for his job and right before the wedding! with me not having a job right away, it just made the situation worse! but in the end, after talking with many of the to-be guests they thought that it was a great idea! they want to be able to enjoy all of the venue- i.e. outdoors and indoors-and not be stuck in a chair!
Post # 5
@beki: will you be serving enough hors d’eouvres that it would be enough to replace dinner? then I think it will be fine. personally, I love the hors d’eouvres way more at weddings than the actual dinner, so I would definitely wouldn’t mind eating hors d’eouvres as my dinner 🙂
but I think it also depends on what kind of hors d’oeuvres you are serving. if it’s replacing dinner, you probably want it to be more substantial than bruschetta (as an example). you could try things more like food stations and have like a mac ‘n cheese bar or a sliders bar!
Post # 6
@thesejoys: Completely agree. Hors d’oeurves can be a perfectly fine substitute for a meal, IF there’s enough food for everyone to eat. Most people won’t eat before the wedding, and especially if they’re standing and dancing, they will get hungry. I think as long as you have enough substantial snacks, your plan is great. I actually like apps more, because you get to try so many different foods!
Post # 7
Do a buffet and serve a variety of food. If the caterer will k eep the buffet open for two hours people can come and go as they wish.
I would have more seating however and people really prefer to have a place to park for the evening. When you;re not told where to sit, and you can’t find a space for two, and all that’s available is a seat for one someplace it is awkward. Re think seating.