(Closed) Reception Dinner at Restaurant—WHO PAYS???

posted 9 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 17
Member
5427 posts
Bee Keeper

We are having our reception at a restaurant and WE are paying for it! For about 25 people it will cost around $800 (includes tax and tips etc…) But I refuse to pay for the alcoholic drinks… I know some people don’t mind drinking and driving but I will not pay for that!

Post # 18
Member
5147 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

You need to pay for their dinner. It doesn’t matter if it’s catered at a reception hall, homemade in your backyard, or ordering off the menu in a restaurant. 

Post # 19
Member
673 posts
Busy bee

It’s sweet that your friend loves you enough to pay for her own meal. However, that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to invite other people to spend more money on your wedding. If you can’t afford it, don’t do it.

I agree with the many PP who suggested either a small affair at someone’s house or a park where you provide the food either from a place like Sam’s or Costco, or find a budget caterer. In all honesty, the cake and punch reception sounds like the best solution for you.

I’m not sure you’ll find a dj, so you should be prepared to handle any music yourself. Of course, with a cake and punch or appetizer type reception, there’s not an expectation for dancing.

I went to a celebration where they were trying to cut costs as much as possible, and they still didn’t get a dj for less than $300. That was even a case where they called the company to get a quote, couldn’t afford the quote, but the dj called back the week of the reception and said he could do it for $300 since he didn’t have anything else booked. It was a case where he decided some money was better than no money. So that’s iffy, at best. (Even then, I questioned the value of it since he did end up playing a song that dropped the f-bomb very loudly while there were very small children on the dance floor. And I stopped counting the number of times he played Red Red Wine after the fourth time.)

Don’t stress about what you think you have to provide, just do what you can afford and focus on what the day means for the rest of your lives.

Post # 20
Member
336 posts
Helper bee

View original reply
@andielovesj:  This.  The reception is a thank you for your guests, you can’t ask them to pay (or bring things for a potluck, or give you money, etc).  Cake and punch is a cheaper option than a big dinner, but it is still proper etiquette.

Post # 21
Member
2892 posts
Sugar bee

We’re doing a restaurant reception but you need to be very careful if you go this route. A lot of restaurants will require you to sign a contract in advance when making a reservation for that many people. Reason being is they need to have the food and staff and room to accomodate you all at once. Typically, a restaurant during normal dinner service won’t have 40 ppl all at once show up at their doorstep. They would need to block off a portion of the restaurant for you so your family could sit together which means that they need to make sure no one dines there for a couple hours before you arrive so they can guarantee the seating is available. What does that mean? It means they’re losing money (potentially) while they await your party. So they have you sign a contract guaranteeing you can pay X amount of dollars for x number of people.

Not all restaurants do this, but a lot do. You might want to check into that and see if they would require you to. But I agree with everyone else that calling it a reception would be deceiving since everyone would pay for their own dinner. Now, for $500 you can have a pretty amazing bbq at home if you want to feed everyone. Have people bring their grills and have a cook off. 

Post # 22
Member
2104 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

A agree with PP. rent a park or do Costco + home. And be careful with restaurants. 40 people would need a party room/section of the restaurant. For that there is usually a food and beverage minimum, often over $1k for a weekday.  Usually a portion of the food and beverage minimum has to be paid in advance. 

Post # 23
Member
48 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I would go with a luncheon maybe at the park or at home/relatives home?

Nice sandwiches, cheese, fruits display, some desserts?

Simple yet classy 🙂

Post # 24
Member
2775 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

Word games notwithstanding, and whether you use the word “reception” or not, the expectation is that a post-wedding gathering will have hosted refreshments appropriate to the time of day.  That is basic hospitality.  

I think you need to be more realistic and scrap the idea of a post-wedding dinner.  Have a mid-afternoon (between lunch and dinner) ceremony and simple reception with cake and punch, or light finger foods (tea sandwiches, cheese and crackers, etc.).  Not only will it be way less expensive than a full dinner, but given the timing people will be less likely to miss the alcohol and dancing.

Post # 25
Member
2104 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Agrees with PP

Post # 26
Member
3617 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I agree with the PPs. It is NOT acceptable to have your guests pay for their meals and still call it a reception. Maybe consider just having a backyard BBQ at someone’s house instead.

Post # 28
Member
995 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@j_me33:  It all depends on how large the wedding is–if it’s a small affair of friends and family–they would understand your tight budget–if not, prepare for a lot of rude comments on your day

 

I would say, try a compromise of some sort—provide the meal but have a cash bar–also try to see if you can skimp on the DJ–like just rent a nice sound system and hook up an ipod with your playlist to it

 

Otherwise people will be like, oh she had money to pay the DJ but I have to pay for my meal? what gives?

Post # 28
Member
995 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

And I agree that 500 is COMPLETELY undoable for 40 people in a restaurant of any caliber—if there is no DJ and no alcoholic drinks, that still comes to 12.50 a person

Perhaps if the restaurant prepares a large quantity of food and you serve it up family style that budget could work

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