Which Wedding Reception is Right for you?



The Lunch Wedding Reception

While you may think that having a lunch wedding reception isn’t as fashionable and apropos as dinner, it does provide you with many savings and can be done just as elegantly as the traditional dinner soiree.

The most important thing to keep in mind when planning a lunch wedding reception is timing. It’s imperative that the ceremony be done early enough that the guests are still in their lunch mode and aren’t moving towards “happy hour” or “cocktail hour” mentality. That mentality will bring in heavier drinking and a bigger bar bill. So, try to have your reception start no later than 2 ish. Your invitation timing should make most of your guests aware of the type of fare being served. Just in case, wording can convey that fact quite easily that this is not a four course dinner by stating “light lunch” or “light hors d’oeuvres.”

Lunches can be very intimate and low key. Depending on your motif ….they can be very elegant or very casual. As, always the more elegant you go…the more expense usually involved. However, an intimate, relaxed atmosphere can be created very easily with nice low centerpieces, soft lighting and bright, fresh decorations.

The meal itself should be filling but not as heavy as dinner. If you stay true to a normal lunch menu you will be fine. Consider limiting the types of drinks served and create a menu of signature drinks. Maybe naming one after the bride and the groom or find out the favorites of some of the other important members of the bridal party such as best man and maid of honor or parents of the bride and groom and having them each come up with a signature drink and name. Another alternative is to serve typical brunch/lunch type drinks such as sangria and mimosas for alcoholic drinks and raspberry teas and lemonades for non.

With a lunch reception, you may not need or desire a full band or DJ. Think about an acoustic guitarist or duet. You could still do your signature dance with your groom while creating a low key, elegant, intimate ambience. Maybe a piano player who can do requests…..outdoor parties can do a steel drum band….or a sketch artist to do simple portraits of the guests which doubles as a keepsake. 

The Dessert Wedding Reception

What decadence! A reception built around everyone’s favorite course …dessert!! Of course, this means your wedding reception will have a later start…..maybe 8 pm after traditional dinner hours are done, but still can contain all the essential elements of a first class reception. The timing should convey that fact that it’s after dinner time but you can be very clear on your invitations stating “Dessert reception to follow” or Join us for desserts at our reception….”

What to serve…?? Well, that’s taken care of isn’t it! Your only major decisions will be how many fabulous choices you want to offer your guests. Though you may want to downsize the portions to bite size ! Of course, you will still want to serve your wedding cake but here again, go with smaller portions since your guests will be filling up on lots of sugar. Another idea, would be to include a cheese and fruit tray for those who may be watching their weight, have health issues such as diebetes and may not like sweet items in general. It’s always a good ideal to offer something to balance out the menu. Drinks could include champagne, Mimosas, sangrias and dessert liquers, wines and cordials. No reception is complete without coffee…maybe even with flavored shots to add to them.

There are several ways to lay out a room for this type of wedding reception but the most efficient is buffet stations. If it is a smaller wedding one long table will work out perfectly fine and be lovely. However, if you are expecting quite a few guests, setting up stations around the room encourages everyone to wander around a bit. Some people will want to sit but it’s not necessary to have seating for all. Cocktail tables are fine, small, intimate groupings of tables and chairs scattered around will create a cozy, intimate setting.

To keep your guests entertained, depending on the length of your reception`, music should be incorporated….be it background music, harpist, acoustic guitarist or if the reception is longer …a DJ, soloist or small band.


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