Post # 1
We’re operating on something of a tight budget, but really don’t want to trim our guest list, so we’re trying to keep catering at UNDER $15 a head (after gratuities, taxes, etc.). About half our crowd will be of the conservative, older type, but we’d like to have dancing at the reception, ideally. We’re also hoping for about 30% of our guests to come in from out of town, and want it to be worth their while (probably going to have some ‘hang out’ events the day before the wedding for them).
Which of these do you think sounds most appealing for a reception?
1) Not really feeding them at all seems like the most economical choice, but feels kind of … cheap. We’d do some finger foods but mostly the focus would be the cake. We’d still do a first dance and Father/Daughter Mother/Son dances, cake cutting, etc. Kind of go retro, you know?
2) A simple fare dinner, just buffet style sandwiches and soups catered, no alcohol, let the party linger into the evening with dancing, etc.
3) Nix the whole ‘sit down and eat’ idea in favor of scattered couches, stand-at tables, and a bar, late in the evening (I think my grandma would have a fit, but I think it could be pretty chic if done well)
No matter what, I’ll be making SURE people know what to expect ahead of time, as I don’t want to leave them hungry. 🙂
Post # 3
How about a dessert buffet for your evening reception? I will tell you this though (which you probably already know), if you are trying to trim reception costs-alchohol can be very expensive-or you can go with more simple fair like beer and wine. If you do decide to do the late afternoon thing, what about a baked potato bar or something similar to that? Really good potato soup with assorted topppings to go along with sandwiches?
It depends on what you are going for as far as your reception goes-FI and I talked about afternoon tea (a bit retro-cake, finger sandwiches, nuts, cake, punch, etc.), we talked about tables set up family style with platters of fried chicken, bowls of potato salad, etc to pass with drinks in mason jars and we finally settled on brunch bc its fun, most people love it, breakfast food is fairly inexpensive and we are at a place in our lives (pushing 40) where most of our friends have kids (some are prolific-having 2, 3, 4 kids) and we wanted families to be comfortable and the kids to feel welcome and to eat.
Up to you-also maybe discuss your post-wedding plans-leaving right away? Spending your wedding night in town and then coming home the next day and then leaving for your honeymoon? That also affected our reception idea-we are driving to Tennessee, so broke the drive up-going to Toccoa from SW Georgia on our wedding day-an 11 am wedding will allow us to arrive there for a late dinner and then driving on up to Tennessee on Sunday late morning, getting there in time for our late aftrernoon check in-pick up our keys and find our cabin in daylight.
Just some ideas to help you decide.
Post # 4
How about a brunch reception and wedding at 11 am followed by 12 pm brunch?
That’s very economical! No alcohol is needed either. Also can be very elegant.
Post # 5
The only thing with the 7pm is that you should have some food other than cake if you are having drinks, hors d’oeuvres or something.
Post # 6
I like the 7pm one, but around that time, people might show up without dinner and be hungry.. I agree that some food should be provided, even just some snacks or something to nibble on. If you can’t have food for for 7pm nad must leave it as is, then I’d go for the 3:30pm option.
Post # 7
Okay, here’s the deal with the 7pm option: in my small town ish midwest hometown, where we’re getting married, pretty much EVERYONE eats dinner at 5:30 on the dot. It drives me crazy, personally. I’m one of those people who rolls around to 6 or 6:30 and is like, “Oh, I should go to the market and get some fresh veggies to make dinner….” haha.
OOTers might assumed there’d be food, but locals wouldn’t. Plus I’m going to put the info on the invite 🙂 Finger foods… we MIGHT be able to swing that, depending on the bar sitch.
I am sensing another poll… soon.
Post # 8
Okay I think that any of these three options will be good, and I don’t think you need to worry about them looking “cheap.”
The only problem I’m seeing is the dancing/alcohol situation. It is REALLY hard to get people to dance in the afternoon, so I feel like you won’t get the dancing you want unless you do a night time reception. However, I would be very concerned about serving alcohol at the night reception and not serving “real” food. sugar + alcohol + dancing + no food, to me, seems like a recipe for people getting too drunk. Although I guess if there is no one on your guest list who you are concerned about drinking too much, it is not a problem. 🙂
My suggestion would be to do 7pm ceremony, and add appetizers if you can afford it. If you can’t, I would do the soup/sandwich buffet and skip the alcohol at night.
Post # 9
As long as you are clear, you will be fine. I like the idea of a cake and cocktails reception or a brunch reception (which would be super cheap – just offer mimosas and brunch).
Post # 10
- Wedding: March 2010 - Calamigos Ranch
I’d go for the earliest option, because it’s the most economical and the one that your older relatives will curse you least for not feeding them ;). Forego the dancing. If you’re trying to keep your costs that low, you have to be aware that you won’t be able to have everything you want. If there is no drinking, there will probably not be much dancing.
Post # 11
As a guest, I would be happy with any of them. I’d be there to celebrate your new life together and whatever you want and can afford to serve (without inconveniencing your guests so they have to pay for it), that is what your guests should graciously accept. Whatever you decide, you should make a note on the reception cards so that guests are prepared. Then again, it depends largely on the social circle involved. Some social circles are used to desserts only regardless of the hour and never serve full dinners of any kind at a wedding, and thus the idea is foreign to them. Others are the opposite and think a full dinner is mandatory even at a non-meal time and wouldn’t do anything else if their life depended on it. Neither is right or wrong though. But I tend to take issue with people who say things must be done a certain way “or else” and that “everyone expects it”. Full dinners for example are actually quite new in the grand scheme of history (there was an extended period when they weren’t around but really there weren’t many full dinners served at weddings after the end of the Renaissance times. Victorians didn’t serve full dinners and they weren’t ridiculed for it. Even today, you go alot of places (even if large cities within certain families and church groups) and people are still serving just cake and punch because that’s all they know of. Do what works for you and if someone doesn’t like it, they can stay home. The people who are there for you will be there to celebrate with you, and it really shouldn’t matter what the food spread is or isn’t but unfortunately some people refuse to see past that and only attend for the “free food and drink”.
Post # 12
@CorgiTales, do you think if we kicked the Soup/Sandwich idea back an hour, people would want to stick around and dance after eating, even without alcohol?
Also, do you guys think soup and sandwiches are enough for dinner? Or too light? We’re not looking to go black tie or anything (obviously!) but also don’t want to make people feel … ripped off. 🙂
Post # 13
Soup and sandwiches are quite filling. Of course that depends on the fixings. Afternoon tea sandwiches are not filling at all but the rest of the varieties out there are much more filling and people should not go home hungry.
As far as dancing goes, I’ve seen folks on the dance floor for hours starting in the mid-afternoon if they dj is good, where no alcohol at all was involved. And I’ve seen other folks where the dancing doesn’t start till 7pm or later whom you can’t drag out there to save your life even with alcohol. It depends on the quality of the dj and whether your guests are the dancing type to begin with.
If you do serve alcohol, most places require you by law to serve substantial food of some sort (bar food for example: chicken strips, mini burgers, etc as opposed to mini quiches, etc) and they don’t consider desserts to qualify either since that combination will get guests drunk in an instant.
Post # 14
Just a quick comment, I know that where I live it is illegal to serve alcohol to guests without having food available. Just make sure that if you plan the late reception you check legalities of offering alcohol with no/limited food!
Post # 15
It really depends on what is most important to you, and your guests. Are your friends and family big dancers, drinkers or eaters when it comes to weddings? For my family its all about the FOOD so we are having a brunch reception with no drinking or dancing. It will be about $20 for a generous buffet. I would seriously consider brunch if you are okay with no drinking or dancing. You could always have an informal no-host after party with your friends in the evening.
Having said that, if the party is what you want, I think cake, drinks and light finger foods at 8pm would be lovely and as you said, very chic if you do it right. Just soda, beer and wine would suffice — I think it would get more expensive than brunch or lunch, honestly, if you throw in mixed drinks, and its not a good idea to have a cash bar with no food. I think people will dance and have a good time, so if that’s what you want, do that. Just keep in mind what will make your guests happy — do you think your Out of Town friends would prefer to be fed, or prefer to go to a fun party?
Post # 16
I chose the first one, but really because I don’t enjoy dancing and don’t plan on doing a lot of it at my wedding.
But when are you taking photos? Before the ceremony? Between ceremony and reception? If between I would put the ceremony up an hour or delay the reception an hour – just to give you some photo time.