Post # 1
FH and I are planning a minimalist wedding. 19 guests in total (Grandparents, parents, siblings, niblings and a best friend each). No wedding party. My dad will be driving me to the ceremony but not ‘giving me away’.
We are planning a morning or midday garden ceremony in our celebrants ‘heart garden’ backyard (she is a passionate gardener). My photographer friend will take ‘first look’ photos before the ceremony. Bubbly will be passed around immediately after the ceremony, whilst we have a couple of group and newlywed photos taken.
Then we move onto the reception at our favourite restaurant. It’s quite intimate (holds 40 persons max). Every guest is travelling a minimum of 400km for the wedding. Also, FH and I don’t drink alcohol (but everyone else will be!) so it’s really important to us that we provide a fantastic meal for our guests. We plan to have a 2 course breakfast or 3 course lunch. Our restaurant offers a 5-hour wedding package with all the standard inclusions: Dance floor, alcohol for 5 hours, 45mins of h’orderves and 3 course meal, table decorations etc, etc, etc.
BUT I doubt the reception will go for 5 hours. I doubt there will be dancing with 19 guests, especially during the day. There won’t be any announcing, receiving lines, place cards, favours, garder toss, bouquet toss, photo booth, DJs or similar entertainment… also shortening the natural length of the reception.
What will be there: The people who know and love us as a couple getting to know each other, sharing in our new commitment to each other. Its not a budget issue – we just don’t need a 5 hour party!
However we would like a speech/toast or two and perhaps an extra course of wedding cake to top off the amazing meal. We are also planning to pass around a mini guest book so each guest can write us a little marriage advice. For what it’s worth we plan to print a couple of wedding photos for each guest to include in the thank you notes.
My questions are:
- How long should such a breakfast or lunch reception last?
- Should we consider cutting the cake immediately after the ceremony and serve with the bubbly? (This would take the formalities to an end – then we could just take everyone out for breakfast/lunch after more informally)
- How do I write up the invitations to include such a reception?
Any sincere advice about small wedding receptions is greatly appreciated!
Post # 3
A friend of mine did this, her wedding was lovely. She had the people who loved her most at her wedding. After her wedding she had bubbly and cut the cake and then went on to a restaurant, and had a meal. I personally think 5 hours is a little long as a timeframe.
Post # 4
If you otherwise like the package they offer do it. You don’t have to stay for the entire 5 hours. Did you talk to someone there? They might be able to create a package for you that suits your needs. Don’t cut it short just because it’s small though, especially since people are traveling in. Wait to cut the cake if you want, no need to rush through all the formalities. These are obviously the most important people to both of you and you probably don’t get to see them as often as you like so relax and enjoy the time. For the invites put the ceremony time and place with words like brunch to follow and the restaurant location. If you want more informal you don’t have to have the meal in courses and it doesn’t have to be served all at once. That way people could eat as they please and it would encourage people to get up and move around and mingle. I’d also think of a couple special things you could do with a small group that you couldn’t do with a large one, like invite anyone who wants to share a story or give a toast.
Post # 5
@Notcool: I sorta did what your describing with 7 guests but our ceremony and reception were held in the same venue. So after the ceremony we all went downstairs and enjoyed some hors devours, then my Darling Husband gave a toast, followed by cutting the cake. while the guests were eating the cake we took some photos. We only had the venue for two hours but we got everything in. In retrospect I would’ve liked 3 hours just not to feel rushed or maybe I would’ve booked the photog for 3 hours (to do the outside shots after we were done with the venue space).
I’d say three hours should do it.
Post # 6
@Notcool: We had 11 people (my husband and I included) and did almost the same thing. We got married in our officiant’s garden in the afternoon, then we went back to my husband’s house for wedding cake and champagne, and then went to a restaurant for dinner. Cake and champagne lasted about an hour and a half, due to the time of driving from the ceremony and leaving for the dinner, and dinner lasted about 2.5-3 hours in total. It was the perfect amount of time.
I forget what we put on our invitations, “Drinks and dinner to follow” I think, with a separate card giving the time and address for ceremony, for cake and champagne, and for dinner. It was all family except two friends who came for the dinner, so it was really intimate and gave a chance to talk quite a bit.
Post # 7
We did the same for a little under 50 guests. Our restaurant didn’t offer a package, though, but we were able to reserve it for 4 hours. We did a cocktail hour, dinner, toasts, cake cutting/eating and an exit, which came to about 3-3.5 hours.
We had a wedding certificate made for all of the guests present to sign, rather than a guestbook. Got lots of photos, and we have photos with most of our wedding guests.
It may be worth the package, because you will not have to worry about decorating, it sounds like.
What I might do in your situation:
-30 minutes of cocktails/signing guestbook (if you are comfortable with the drinking – it is a really nice touch and gets everyone in a celebratory mood.) If you want, you could do a first dance with just the two of you during this time.
-1 hour for the meal
-15 – 20 min for toasts and cake cutting
-30 – 40 minutes for eating cake/coffee/settling food
So, that plan comes to about 2.5 hours.
Brunch and lunch weddings tend to be short. Perhaps you could plan some casual activities for your guests later in the day. Otherwise, it will be nice to have the rest of the day with your new husband!
Post # 8
Thanks for all you help 🙂
Post # 9
We didn’t think ours with less than 15 people would either, we figured a couple hours for ceremony, to eat, and hang out… maybe three… it was right about 5 hours. And then only because it became “Seriously, we have to go make like newly weds, do laundry, finish packing, and get up at 4am to fly off on our honeymoon!”
Luckily for us we didn’t have to worry setting a time since it was at a friend’s house in the country and she said as long as it didn’t go til 9 or 10pm they didn’t care (ceremony was at 1pm on a weekday so they had to work the next day).