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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Types of Wedding Receptions

Do you envision your wedding reception in the early morning light or
as an all night, all-out party?

Breakfast or Brunch Reception
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If you are getting married bright and early in the morning, then you will want to have a breakfast or brunch reception.  Traditionally, the menu would include breakfast classics like quiche, frittata, and eggs benedict.  It's great to have stations set up where guests can get food like omelets and French toast made to order.  For a touch of elegance, consider adding smoked salmon, caviar, or a carving station with ham, turkey or roast beef.  Spice things up with Bloody Mary's, Bellinis and Mimosas.  
And don't forget the coffee!

This type of reception is inexpensive; people will drink considerably less alcohol, and the types of food served are typically cheaper as well.  If you want to get a jump start on your honeymoon, a bunch reception fits in perfectly 
for you to leave the same day.

But consider your guests, especially those who live two hours away.  They'll have to get up very early to make it to your wedding.  Also, you will not have as long to get ready in the morning.

A different take on the breakfast/brunch reception may be to consider a cocktail-style brunch.  Have your caterer reinvent breakfast classics into hors d'ouevres such as mini-eggs benedict, bite sized French toast, and scrambled egg bites topped with caviar.  Keep those Mimosas and Bellini's flowing!

Lunch Reception
The Reception Decor
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If you want an early wedding, but need a little time to get ready than a breakfast reception would allow, consider a lunch reception.  Luncheon receptions are typically held in the late morning or early afternoon, between noon and 2 pm.  They can be either sit-down or buffet style as well.  Lunch menus can include pasta, fruit and potato salads,
skewers of chicken or shrimp, vegetables with dip, smoked salmon and crackers,
and a variety of sandwiches, cold cuts and cheeses.

The lunch reception allows you to serve some of the same favorite dishes that you would at a dinner reception, for a cheaper price.  You still may be able to leave for your honeymoon the same day.

But a lunch reception might be more sedate than it would be later in the evening.

A new idea to the lunch buffet is have a picnic style reception.  Have your caterer package favorite individual meals in disposable cardboard picnic boxes.  Spread out big pieces of colorful cloth and offer pitchers of lemonade and raspberry iced tea.  Be sure to have some tables and chairs or picnic tables available for those who prefer not to sit on the ground.

Picnic Reception

Buffet Reception

Cocktail receptions can be elegant and stylish.  They allow your guests to really mingle with each other.  They are a bit more relaxed than a sit-down meal and often feel like a great party.  The cocktail reception is a fairly formal affair. It is the perfect type of reception to be held in an art gallery, a studio loft, an outdoor terrace, or a landscaped garden.  Hot and cold hors d'oeuvres may be served to your guests by waitstaff or set out on buffet tables.  The wedding cake is cute immediately after the wedding ceremony to allow your guests the opportunity to enjoy along with their champagne and other food.  

The cocktail reception is a nice choice if your venue is small. It will allow you to have more people.  They are also typically shorter than a sit-down meal.  They will allow you and your groom time to really circulate and enjoy the party.  They are also perfect for the couple who is looking to have an elegant affair without going over their budget.  

You may expect a cocktail reception to be less expensive but that is not always the case.  Your guests will likely drink more than at a dinner reception.  Also, since it will not be seated, some guests may have trouble seeing events like the first dance and cake cutting.

Dinner Wedding Reception
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The most formal type of wedding reception is a sit-down buffet dinner.  It allows you time to really celebrate your wedding, treat your guests, and still have everyone up on the dance floor.  It will begin with a cocktail hour, then proceed to an adjoining room for dinner, and followed by dancing, cake cutting, and more.  More planning comes into play for a dinner reception because it consists of many courses. 

The dinner reception allows your guests to feel like you really went all out for your reception.  It will not feel rushed or hurried.

But typically this is the most expensive type of wedding reception.On average, 40% of your entire wedding budget will be spent on catering your wedding reception.  So a lot of thought needs to go into the type of reception, venue, and choice of menu.  The time of day and location of your wedding will narrow some of your choices on what type of reception and the venue that best fits with your wedding plans.

Saving on Your Reception without Sacrificing

Some money saving tips to keep in mind when planning your wedding reception.

  •  Keep the guest list small and intimate.
  • Get married on a Friday or Sunday.  Many venues can be booked for half the price.
  • Pay for only one venue.  Have the ceremony and reception at the same location.
  • Supply your own alcohol from a liquor wholesaler.  You will need to check with the venue to be sure this is allowed.
  • Order one small decorated wedding cake for display and a large sheet cake to cut and serve.
  • Serve your wedding cake as the dessert.

What type of reception are you planning for your big day? 

Share any comments or ideas that you have about planning the perfect wedding reception.


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