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Amy
Beginner June 2021

Reception on a Budget!

Amy, on January 9, 2021 at 6:26 PM Posted in Wedding Reception 2 35
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I am so shocked by some of the prices per person for a reception! We are having a sunset wedding so I don't think a full on meal is necessary. I am thinking of pick-ups and dessert. Is that an acceptable option?? I would love to have money for a nice honeymoon and care more about spending money on that than a fancy sit down dinner that is only going to last a couple hours...

35 Comments

Latest activity by Mrs.g, on January 16, 2021 at 12:39 AM
  • Michelle
    Rockstar April 2021
    Michelle ·
    • Flag
    If your wedding/reception is during dinner time, then a meal is expected. I was in sticker shock when we started looking at venues & we bumped up our budget to get our dream wedding. There’s a ton of ways to save $$$ & you can DIY a lot.
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  • Mrs. Spring
    Master April 2021
    Mrs. Spring ·
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    Does your venue require a certain caeter?
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  • Michelle
    Master October 2022
    Michelle Online ·
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    Sunset is dinnertime unless you are in the middle of summer when is at 9pm. If you invite guests you need to feed them or else elope with no guests. If you choose to have guests, look into restaurant corporate catering which is a crapton of delicious food for 1/10 the price of a regular wedding caterer.
    • Reply
  • Amy
    Beginner June 2021
    Amy ·
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    Wedding actually is in June at sunset lol. So yeah it won’t be over til prob about 830-9 and reception is at a location we will have to shuttle to, so I’m feeling like most people will eat before they come anyway...
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  • Amy
    Beginner June 2021
    Amy ·
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    I am talking to Cambria and they don’t allow outside food/vendors. If I go with them, then yes. But where we are marrying has a pavilion and I could hire my own caterer. I’m still torn as exactly what I want to do.
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  • J
    Master 0000
    Judith ·
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    A week and a half before the longest day of the year, you are fine, outside the dinner hours when people expect a full meal. Make it clear on the invitation, and wedding website, so people won't deliberately skip eating dinner at their usual time.
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  • Michelle
    Master October 2022
    Michelle Online ·
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    When does your ceremony start? How long are you taking for pictures? Is ceremony and reception at the venue? When do you anticipate the reception to start? Most guests do not eat before the ceremony because they expect to be fed something..and they are busy getting ready and travelling to the ceremony venue from home/hotel. Be prepared for many hangry guests to leave early.


    Are you locked into a venue? They are crystal clear when you tour them before booking whether they allow outside catering if you must use theirs. Most places are not flexible that they require their own catering and allow outside catering at the same time.
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  • Amy
    Beginner June 2021
    Amy ·
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    730
    1 hour
    No9pmIf I don’t decide to spend 2 grand on a sit down meal I will let everyone know ahead of time.
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  • Chrysta
    Rockstar November 2022
    Chrysta ·
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  • Hanna
    VIP June 2019
    Hanna Online ·
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    I would definitely plan to serve a full meal if you'll be hosting an evening wedding.

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  • A
    Devoted September 2020
    Amanda ·
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    I think it depends if you’re serving alcohol. If so, you’ll need more than dessert.
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  • Amy
    Beginner June 2021
    Amy ·
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    Dessert and pick ups. Food, just not a fancy sit down..
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  • Amy
    Beginner June 2021
    Amy ·
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    Thank you! Most helpful comment! This is exactly where my mind was! Casual, pickups (appetizers, etc) drinks and desserts. I guess I should have mentioned this is a super casual affair. Lol. Thank you again!
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  • Vicky
    Super January 2020
    Vicky ·
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    What time will your ceremony start? If it's before 8 pm then you will need to serve a meal, regardless of when the reception starts.

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  • Melle
    Legend June 2019
    Melle ·
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    I absolutely understand your sticker shock. It is outrageous sometimes. With the pandemic I’ve been seeing restaurants do take out boxed meals! That way people just take it to go after. Those I bet would be really inexpensive if that’s an option you’d want to entertain
    • Reply
  • W
    Super September 2020
    Willow Online ·
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    Your entire wedding is from 7:30 to 9, and guests have to shuttle there? How long is the shuttle ride? How many shuttles will you have? Will all the guests be able to fit on one trip or will they be waiting around for the next shuttle?


    Sounds like your guests will be getting ready smack in the middle of dinnertime and will have little chance to eat beforehand. Typically a cake and punch reception is at clear non meal hours like 2 to 4.
    Shuttling over to be not be properly fed during mealtime, having to eat and get ready for a mere 1.5 hour event sounds like a big ask of your guests. Also, people tend to dress up more for an evening wedding because they expect a more formal affair.
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  • Amy
    Beginner June 2021
    Amy ·
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    It’s a very small beach wedding. I will be surprised if more than 20 come including wedding party and casual is specified. The shuttle holds 15 and it’s less than 10 minutes away. I never said anything about cake and punch. I said pick ups and desserts. Pickups meaning appetizers and things you can eat easily while mingling. We are not formal fancy people nor are our friends. Our venue is in a courtyard with couches, lounges and fire pits and we are getting married in linen clothes and flip flops. And the 9pm I stated included travel time.
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  • Amy
    Beginner June 2021
    Amy ·
    • Flag
    I did not realize this was such a hot button question. My first wedding was 25 years ago and we only had appetizers and cake and so much time was spent on photography that most of the guests were gone by the time we got to the reception which was the next building over. This is both of our second marriages. We are in our mid 40s as are most of our friends. And our friends like to party and mingle and hang out more than they like to sit in a stuffy formal dining space eating expensive fancy foods anyway so spending 80 on a plate of steak seems asinine. To each his own but that’s crazy to me. I have never once been to a wedding where I expected to be fed and entertained. I have been to 2 recently where we were, but it was cash bar and laid back. I should have given the following disclaimer initially: it’s a beach wedding. It’s casual as all of my friends and family already know. Expectation is less than 30 people. We are getting married in linens and flip flops. If people come dressed formally then that’s their decision, not my well known expectation. We are super casual people with an outdoor courtyard reception complete with lounges and fire pits. Shuttle time is included in the 9pm guestimate of wedding time. I never said cake and punch for food choices. I said pickups (foods that can be easily consumed while mingling) desserts and drinks. I don’t enjoy stuffy fancy sit down affairs and I’m not planning to pay 80-100 per person just because the might be what other people like. The people coming will 100% not care at all if they eat chicken fingers and nachos instead of filet mignon. The majority of weddings I have been to haven’t even served a meal at all. I may remove this post due to the fact that my asking was for honest advice and/or suggestions, not cruelty or discouragement. I’m so disappointed in the undertone of some of these responses. If you have a helpful suggestion, great! I would appreciate that. We have both been married once before. Many years ago and when we were quite young. We are now in our mid 40’s and I guess our expectations have changed. Although my first wedding was literally pickups and cake. No drinks and no dancing because it was at a church and strictly forbidden. This time around I want to be able to have fun not sit around at individual tables eating something no one really likes. My vision is very different from that.
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  • Amy
    Beginner June 2021
    Amy ·
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    Thank you! Great suggestion!
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  • Samantha
    Expert October 2022
    Samantha ·
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    You can have good hearty food that is not sit down and formal - I think it tends to be called “heavy appetizers” or something like that.
    You know your group of friends and family more than anyone - if they are similar to you and don’t expect dinner at weddings, then you know it won’t be a problem.
    I have friends who had the church basement receptions and everyone knew there would only be snacks so understood the reception would be short and they would need to go out to eat after. If anyone is traveling an overnight distance maybe you could take them out to a restaurant before or after?
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