Food and Cakes

Appetizer Only Reception

My fiance and I ended up picking a venue that does not allow any outside food (we must order all food from them, except the cake). The dinners are pretty expensive, so we thought instead of providing full dinners to our guests, we would change the time of our ceremony to an hour later (changed from 6pm to 7pm), and instead have an "appetizer only reception". We would have a full bar with cap, a couple different butler passed hors d' ouevres, and have appetizer bars provided by the venue. The bars we picked are a mashed potato martini bar, which includes fixings, "comfort food" bar, which includes mac n' cheese, meatloaf, and mashed potatoes, and a cheese tray and fruit display, which includes seasonal fruit, 6 different cheeses, and crackers. We are ordering enough for each guest to have 2 servings of the mashed potato martinis, and 1.5 servings of the other stations. As well, we instead opted to have a small 2-tier wedding cake (just for cutting purposes, and to save the top for 1st anniversary) and we are ordering large cupcakes from a local bakery. We will be ordering 8 different flavors of cupcakes, to make sure everyone has a flavor they like and to accommodate some family members with diabetes and sensitivity to sugar. This is saving us $1500+. I feel like what we are providing is plenty for our guests, being that the wedding is later in the evening, and the invitation would state "appetizer only reception". What i'm wondering is does this seem rude? Has anyone been to an appetizer only reception? Were there any issues? Did you like it better than a pre-selected meal? Opinions?

Re: Appetizer Only Reception

  • That sounds great! Yum!
  • If you are having a mashed potato martini bar, I would have some sort of other veggie with the 'comfort food' bar.

    It sounds like you have enough that this would be heavy appetizers which I would be okay with having for dinner. You may want some crudites or other veggie items if you have a lot of vegetarian friends coming.

    Some would say not to list the kind of reception you are having, but I have the UO that I enjoy knowing ahead of time what to expect. I would change the wording from 'Appetizer Only Reception' to 'Appetizers Reception'. Only implies that you are shortchanging something.

    Are your guests having to stand for the reception or are their tables and chairs for every butt?

  • We are lucky enough not to have picky friends or family, and no vegetarians. Both sides are full of people that love their meats and starches! I was kind of wondering if we should exchange doubling the fruit and cheese display for half fruit and cheese, half veggie/antipasto. Unfortunately, the comfort station is preset, so the only foods they serve are the mac n cheese, meatloaf, and mashed potatoes. And there will be plenty of tables and chairs for everyone to sit and enjoy themselves, and still plenty of room to walk around and talk. 
  • We are lucky enough not to have picky friends or family, and no vegetarians. Both sides are full of people that love their meats and starches! I was kind of wondering if we should exchange doubling the fruit and cheese display for half fruit and cheese, half veggie/antipasto. Unfortunately, the comfort station is preset, so the only foods they serve are the mac n cheese, meatloaf, and mashed potatoes. And there will be plenty of tables and chairs for everyone to sit and enjoy themselves, and still plenty of room to walk around and talk. 
    I think you should still prepare, unless you talk to everyone you are inviting daily. I switched over to being vegetarian shortly before a friends wedding (there was no option to select a meal on the invitation, it was buffet style) and could only eat the rolls at their wedding.
    image
    ahoyweddingInLoveInQueens
  • Yes it seems rude. Feed them dinner. It is dinner time. If you can't afford to feed your guests a meal at meal time you shouldn't have picked this venue. 
    I agree with this 100%. I think of dinnertime as anywhere from 6pm to 8pm (I'm used to working a 9-6 job, getting home around 7pm during the week). If I were invited to a 7pm wedding, I would absolutely think that I was going to get a full meal, and I would probably leave early to go find real food if not. The only way I think this would be ok is if the apps will be unlimited, and guests can eat their fill instead of having a meal.

    Also, what does "a full bar with cap" mean? Will guests be cut off once you hit that cap, or will the bar switch over to cash bar? Or will they just have a limited selection?
    STARMOON44InLoveInQueensCMGragainshort+sassy
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    I think the bars are actually offering dinner food - meatloaf, mac-n-cheese, mash potatoes. I agree a veggie addition is needed. As long as there is enough food for everyone to have their fill, I think you are fine.
    ernursejshort+sassy
  • STARMOON44STARMOON44
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    edited August 14
    I think the bars are actually offering dinner food - meatloaf, mac-n-cheese, mash potatoes. I agree a veggie addition is needed. As long as there is enough food for everyone to have their fill, I think you are fine.
    I think if they were offering food equivalent to a meal it wouldn't be $1500 cheaper, so I am doubtful. 

    They're doing 2 stations of real food, one of fruit and cheese, and only 2 passed hors d'ouevres. That's not even a particularly generous cocktail hour spread, let alone a meal equivalent. 
    charlotte989875InLoveInQueenslevioosa
  • My fiance and I ended up picking a venue that does not allow any outside food (we must order all food from them, except the cake). The dinners are pretty expensive, so we thought instead of providing full dinners to our guests, we would change the time of our ceremony to an hour later (changed from 6pm to 7pm), and instead have an "appetizer only reception". We would have a full bar with cap, a couple different butler passed hors d' ouevres, and have appetizer bars provided by the venue. The bars we picked are a mashed potato martini bar, which includes fixings, "comfort food" bar, which includes mac n' cheese, meatloaf, and mashed potatoes, and a cheese tray and fruit display, which includes seasonal fruit, 6 different cheeses, and crackers. We are ordering enough for each guest to have 2 servings of the mashed potato martinis, and 1.5 servings of the other stations. As well, we instead opted to have a small 2-tier wedding cake (just for cutting purposes, and to save the top for 1st anniversary) and we are ordering large cupcakes from a local bakery. We will be ordering 8 different flavors of cupcakes, to make sure everyone has a flavor they like and to accommodate some family members with diabetes and sensitivity to sugar. This is saving us $1500+. I feel like what we are providing is plenty for our guests, being that the wedding is later in the evening, and the invitation would state "appetizer only reception". What i'm wondering is does this seem rude? Has anyone been to an appetizer only reception? Were there any issues? Did you like it better than a pre-selected meal? Opinions?
    I agree with Star that this is not enough food for a mealtime and it's rude to cut a cake and not serve it to your guests. The ceremony is during a mealtime, so you need to serve a meal. 

    When ive been to appetizer only weddings it's much earlier in the day, or later (ceremony not starting until 8, so it's clear there isn't a meal provider). Honestly it just sounds like you care about your venue more than you do feeding your guests properly. 
    STARMOON44InLoveInQueensJediElizabeth
  • So, I'm on the fence.

    To get away without serving dinner, I feel like things shouldn't start until 8pm or later. Think about when you go out on Friday or Saturday night.....are you completely done with dinner and ready to go out with friends by 6:30/6:45 (when you'd have to arrive at the ceremony)? Probably not. It's early - and I say that as a parent of a 1 year old who doesn't even go out anymore.  :D

    However, mashed potatoes, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese...these ARE dinner foods. And if you have enough, I would call this more of a strolling dinner than appetizers. (I have never considered meatloaf an appetizer.) 
    *********************************************************************************

    image
    ernursejGreenjinjo short+sassy
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    I'm also on the fence. The food described seems OK, but it doesn't seem like enough for 7pm. 7 is dinner time, and just about everyone will arrive hungry expecting a meal. 

    STARMOON44charlotte989875InLoveInQueensshort+sassy
  • STARMOON44STARMOON44
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    edited August 14
    So, I'm on the fence.

    To get away without serving dinner, I feel like things shouldn't start until 8pm or later. Think about when you go out on Friday or Saturday night.....are you completely done with dinner and ready to go out with friends by 6:30/6:45 (when you'd have to arrive at the ceremony)? Probably not. It's early - and I say that as a parent of a 1 year old who doesn't even go out anymore.  :D

    However, mashed potatoes, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese...these ARE dinner foods. And if you have enough, I would call this more of a strolling dinner than appetizers. (I have never considered meatloaf an appetizer.) 
    Is it really being served in dinner portions though? Those may be foods that can be served as a meal, but they aren't being served as a plated meal. I'm just very doubtful. When I see successful dinners that are just apps there are usually tons of passed apps, all kinds of stations, including something really substantial like a carving station, a pasta station, etc. This doesn't sound like much food. 
    InLoveInQueens
  • So, I'm on the fence.

    To get away without serving dinner, I feel like things shouldn't start until 8pm or later. Think about when you go out on Friday or Saturday night.....are you completely done with dinner and ready to go out with friends by 6:30/6:45 (when you'd have to arrive at the ceremony)? Probably not. It's early - and I say that as a parent of a 1 year old who doesn't even go out anymore.  :D

    However, mashed potatoes, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese...these ARE dinner foods. And if you have enough, I would call this more of a strolling dinner than appetizers. (I have never considered meatloaf an appetizer.) 
    Is it really being served in dinner portions though? Those may be foods that can be served as a meal, but they aren't being served as a plated meal. I'm just very doubtful. When I see successful dinners that are just apps there are usually tons of passed apps, all kinds of stations, including something really substantial like a carving station, a pasta station, etc. This doesn't sound like much food. 
    Yea, it's definitely questionable. I mean, how is $1,500 being saved if there's still enough food to constitute dinner? Because no steak and waiters serving? Or because not enough food?

    IF (huge IF) she has enough, it shouldn't be an issue - just a different style of dinner.

    I went to a wedding like this that started at 7 and ran out of food because people figured it was a strolling dinner, being at dinner time and all. OP - you're going to have to be really sure they have enough. Running out of food is probably the worst thing that could happen at a wedding reception. It's just not an option. If you're even a little bit unsure, move the event to starting at 8:00. 
    *********************************************************************************

    image
    charlotte989875
  • Hmm, I'm kind of on the fence too. You're serving dinner *types* of foods, but two mashed potatoes (did I read that right?), and fruit and cheese & crackers seem more like cocktail hour snacks and I don't think should count as part of a meal. If your ceremony starts at 7, when would the meal start? That's kind of tricky timing, since 7 is dinner time for a lot of people, so with getting ready, travel time, etc they probably wouldn't have time to eat before and will be hungry after.

    How big will the servings be? We just went to a wedding this weekend that did apps as the meal, and had to go to dinner after. It was a small wedding, and there was enough for us to have a couple servings of each item, but the portions were tiny (each thing could have been eaten in 2-3 bites). I love apps as a meal, but this doesn't seem like it would be quite enough.

    Also, what do you mean when you say you're having an open bar with a cap? It's considered poor etiquette to switch to a cash bar at any portion of the evening. Could you switch to just wine & beer + maybe a signature cocktail or two if you want to include hard liquor? That would save a good bit of money too. I don't know your crowd, but we did wine & beer, and one of our beer options was a local hard cider, which the non-beer drinkers loved. 
    southernbelle0915STARMOON44InLoveInQueensCMGragain
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    Yes, the capped bar concerns me too. Does that mean the bar will close or turn to cash when a certain amount is reached? You really can't do that. 

    STARMOON44InLoveInQueenscharlotte989875CMGragain
  • We are lucky enough not to have picky friends or family, and no vegetarians. Both sides are full of people that love their meats and starches! I was kind of wondering if we should exchange doubling the fruit and cheese display for half fruit and cheese, half veggie/antipasto. Unfortunately, the comfort station is preset, so the only foods they serve are the mac n cheese, meatloaf, and mashed potatoes. And there will be plenty of tables and chairs for everyone to sit and enjoy themselves, and still plenty of room to walk around and talk. 


    Even without no vegetarians, I think more veggies are necessary. If the comfort station is preset, then change the potato martini bar. If someone doesn't eat mashed potatoes, then they are out with two of the choices already. I would keep the double portion of fruit and cheese and add a double portion of veggie/antipasto.

    I'm okay with the apps if I'm thinking that your reception will start after 8pm. If it starts before 8pm, you need way more food.

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    I do not understand picking a place you can't afford?  Well you can afford, but at the expense of your guests.  

    7pm is dinner time.   Really, I've worked in the restaurant industry for years and 7 pm is prime dinner reservation time.   Didn't matter when I lived in the mid-atlantic, the south, the mid-west or the west.   7 pm is the most popular time for people to make a reservation.

    I don't get the options either.    Mashed potato bar and then a  comfort bar that also includes mashed potatoes plus mac-n-cheese?  That is a lot of starch going on there.  Where are veggies?  Is the veggie tray the only option. How big are portions?

     It seems more like a limited buffet to me.    I mean, I like meatloaf, but do not consider it an apps item.

    I guess if the portion sized are good it will work.  It just doesn't seem cohesive to me.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    InLoveInQueensCMGragainsparklepants41
  • My husband is diabetic.  No potatoes.  No pasta.  Limited fruit.   He would be very unhappy with your plans.

    Why did you book this venue before thinking this through?  Big mistake!

    Capped bars are horribly RUDE!  No excuse for this.  None.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    InLoveInQueens
  • It's great to save money but it should never come at the guests' expense.  If you'd come here saying "FI and I decided not to have flower centerpieces on our tables and we're saving $1500+" we'd all be giving you virtual high-fives.  In my world cocktail hour starts at 7 and has more food than you're offering...the actual reception starts at 8 and there are pasta and salad courses before the entree. So moving from 6 to 7 doesn't really change things. And unless we're talking super-size portions, I don't think you have enough food (definitely not enough variety).  You know your guests much better than I do, but if I was a guest at your wedding I wouldn't be blown away.   
    InLoveInQueens
Sign In or Register to comment.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards