(Closed) Reception food is so stressful!

posted 6 years ago in Reception
  • poll: How should we feed 100 people?

    Send people off to have dinner (providing a list of our favorite restaurants near by) - no alcohol

    Catered hor d'ouvres and dessert - no alcohol

    DIY hor d'ouvres and dessert - possibly beer and wine

  • Post # 2
    47420 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    View original reply
    AimeeHoag:  Some things to consider:

    It would be incredibly rude to send your guests off to buy their own dinner. If your wedding/reception spans a time of day when people would normally be eating a meal, it is on you to feed them.

    Hors d’oevres may seem like they cost less because they are smaller, but they are often more expensive because they require more labor.

    I suggest you tell the person in charge of catering what your budget is for food and ask them to help you come up with a menu. Pasta is one of the least expensive menu items. You could have a salad, a pasta buffet with a choice of a couple of sauces, and dessert and coffee.

    Have you considered a different format if you are trying to keep costs down and avoid significant expenditures on alcohol? A 10:30 or 11 am ceremony with a brunch to follow? A 2 pm ceremony with punch, tea, sandwiches and sweets?

    Post # 3
    382 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: Cottage on the Creek

    I think you can’t expect people to stay until 11pm if there is only Appetizers, unless it is really heavy enough to be dinner. If you “sent me off to have dinner” I would not return. 


    If you want apps or desert only, don’t have a 5p wedding. 

    Post # 4
    3234 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2015

    View original reply
    AimeeHoag:  2 or 3, but immediately following the ceremony.  Even better, do your ceremony around 2 so it’s not at a meal time.  

    Post # 5
    4230 posts
    Honey bee

    If you want an evening wedding reception, you kind of have to feed people. Which costs money. If its out of your budget, you could do a brunch wedding or afternoon wedding with cake/punch or lighter hors d’oeuvres?

    If you want people there from 5-11, you need to feed them more than snacks. If you told me to go to a restaurant then come back for the reception, I would probably not…..sorry.

    Post # 6
    7881 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper

    Since you’ve already secured this venue, I would try out other potential caterers on their list to see if they have lower prices. I suppose you could also just eat the deposit (pun!) and find a venue that would let you have more catering options.

    What is your food budget? Could you change the timing of your wedding that day so you don’t have to do a dinner? I would not want to do only hor doeurves or send the guests out for dinner. 

    Post # 7
    2864 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2015

    View original reply
    AimeeHoag: if it’s option 2, realize that some guests may leave after an hour or so to get dinner.

    Snacks and dessert are nice, but if there’s no dinner and no drinks, you can’t expect people to stay all evening. 

    Post # 8
    995 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: July 2015 - City Hall!

    I would speak to your catering company. See if they can do a cheaper “family” style meal. They may be willing to work with you and make a sale vs not and losing one.

    Post # 9
    7578 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2012

    View original reply
    AimeeHoag:  I think you are having a 5pm ceremony, your guests need to be fed. Period. Sending them away to get food on their own is, IMO, an unacceptable option. If I was one of your guests and I had to leave to get my own meal I would not return for a “reception”. Along the same lines, definitely don’t expect your guests to stay until 11pm. Apps are rarely sufficient for dinner time because you need a lot to get people to the point of being “full”, and it usually ends up costing MORE than providing dinner. I would venture to say if you had a 5pm ceremony, and provided apps afterwards, with no alochol most of your guests will stay until probably 8pm or so.

    If budget if really a concern, I would suggest a morning wedding w/ a brunch reception. Breakfast foods are often much cheaper, and at least your guests are getting a meal. If I’m attending a 5pm wedding, I’m expecting dinner it’s rude to ask your guests to attend an event during a meal time and not serve them a meal.

    Post # 10
    1470 posts
    Bumble bee

    Did you do the research before booking the venue?  I’m kind of surprised a senior citizen center would charge $6500 as the cheapest option for 100, dinner only?  My sister got married last year at a very nice golf club and the buffet dinner cost $5500 for 215 guests, including cut meat and an extra platter of salmon.  Their alcohol (beer and wine) was $2500.

    The second question is – what’s your budget?  Can you afford to feed 100 people, or do you just not want to?

    If you can’t afford to feed your guests, you shouldn’t have invited 100 people, or conversely, booked a different venue.

    Post # 11
    3576 posts
    Sugar bee

    View original reply
    AimeeHoag:  with a 5pm ceremony and guest staying late you need to feed them. If you sent out an invite and told me to go to the ceremony and feed my self I’d decline. It’s rude! If you want to have more of a cocktail hr reception you need to provide many choices of appatizers. Honestly if you can’t afford it or are not willing to spend money for food to feed your guest than maybe you shouldn’t have a wedding. Wedding are expensive and food is one of those things that eats up most the budget especially since you said you don’t want to spend that kind of money to feed your guest. Like PP said talk to the caterers and let them know your budget. See if they can work anything out. Try a buffet style  so that you are not being charged to plate each meal.

    Post # 12
    1303 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: Hawksnest Cove Beach St John USVI

    You paid for the venue before finding out the food details?  Was the price for the wedding really reasonable for the wedding?

    i would definitley look at changing venues or changing the time of the ceremony. That price does seem really high for the food, but as a guest Id be starving with only apps!

    Post # 13
    3211 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2016

    I would call the other caterers on the list and ask for their lowest price option. You can try asking about breakfast for dinner, or a sandwich and soup dinner, or see what they can do to work with you! 


    The other option is to call back your first caterer and explain that you wouldn’t be looking for anything that is “wedding fancy”, just something cheap. Ask what they do for workplace Christmas parties. 


    The one thing I would NOT do is simply not feed people proper amounts of food. TBH all the events with hors d’ouvres that I have felt satisfied skipping dinner for were ones where the hosts spent more on appetizers than they would have on a proper meal; they were just encouraging people flowing around rather than sitting in the same place with the same people.


    another option may be regular takeout. Usually a caterer list is to ensure the kitchen is not abused. What does the venue feel about bringing in Chinese food? Or pizza? 

    Post # 15
    3163 posts
    Sugar bee

    If you don’t want to spend on feeding people than have your wedding at a different time as PPs have said. It’s really inconsiderate to ask people to your wedding and not appropriately feed them. 

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