Reception Ideas

Lunch Reception - Your thoughts!

Money is very tight and we really can't afford a regular wedding with an evening reception. Even with a small guest list, the reception would cost too much for us. But I've been looking into the possibility of having a late morning ceremony followed by a lunch reception. I've been to one wedding like that and it was nice because we were served a really nice meal and I believe the bride & groom were able to save a lot of money doing it this way. I'm currently starting to contact local restaurants to see if they can accommodate a lunch wedding reception... have any brides had a lunch reception and if so, how did it work out?
After being together for over 11 years and being engaged for over 3 years, we finally got hitched!

Re: Lunch Reception - Your thoughts!

  • You could save even more money if you have the wedding/reception at a non-meal time. That way you don't need to serve a meal at all. You can just serve light refreshments. Have the wedding at 1:30pm and the reception from 2-4:30pm. Serve cake and punch.
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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
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    I've been to a lot of lunch receptions. They all have been nice.






    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. 
  • We had a lunch reception.  It was the exact same cost that it would have been if we had held it in the evening.  Some venues have a difference in price based on time of day or day of the week but not all of them do.  
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  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
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    We did!  Our ceremony was at 10:30 followed by a lunch reception from 11-2. It worked out great, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Foodwise, it was the same cost, but we definitely saved on alcohol b/c we only had mimosas and wine for a toast. In hindsight, we should have skipped the wine, even, b/c I'm not sure people even drank it. Granted, you can always do a dry or limited bar in the evening and cut costs, but we wouldn't have wanted to do that if our wedding had been an evening one. 

    For music, we had a string trio, which was fairly pricey, and I don't know if it was more or less expensive than a DJ would have been for an evening event. Again, you wouldn't be required to have a DJ in the evening, but that's the route we would have gone had we done evening. If you're doing it at a restaurant, you can probably use music they have there already or an ipod, which would be another cost-cutter. 

    Cash bar advocates/lurkers, please take note. I managed to have a lovely wedding and not ask my guests to pay for any of it! 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • edited July 2014
    We had a lunchtime wedding. We served diner-style food: burgers, hot dogs, and fries with milkshakes, lemonade, and soda to drink. Everyone still tells us it was one of the best weddings they've ever been to.
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    MinBride29
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's
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    We had a lunchtime wedding. We served diner-style food: burgers, hot dogs, and fries with milkshakes, lemonade, and soda to drink. Everyone still tells us it was one of the best weddings they've ever been to.
    What?!  I love me some milkshakes!  I need to suggest that to any of my friends when they decide to get married.

    onlyjamielynn
  • I think it sounds like a great option!
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  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    We're having a lunch reception - our venue only offers daytime receptions in the room we chose. Our ceremony starts at 12, which the reception starting immediately after. I've been to a few weddings like this as well.

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    I think this would be a really nice choice.  Best wishes!
  • We're having a Saturday day time reception. Ceremony at 12, cocktail hour 12:30-1:30, reception 1:30-5:30. Long Island caterers rarely have different food packages depending on the time of day (although some do), but the price changes significantly. We're saving about $50pp doing it during the day instead of evening, but everything we're getting/doing is exactly the same. I'm looking forward to everyone staying until the end because they're not too tired to drive home!
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  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston
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    I went to a wedding for a friend several years ago and they had a lunch reception.  Jolly good time was had by all.



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  • We just went to a lunch reception last weekend and it was lovely. We had a nice meal and plenty of dancing.
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  • Thank you all for your comments! I think the lunch reception would be a good compromise to an elaborate dinner reception that we can't afford or to not having a wedding at all (eloping is another option for us and still quite possible).

    The one lunch reception I went to was at a well known restaurant downtown and we were served lovely meals. Being a restaurant, there wasn't room for a dance floor but that is perfect since we are picturing a nice meal with perhaps a few toasts/speeches and that's about it. Just a nice afternoon and be over well before the evening starts.

    The diner-food with milkshakes sounds so adorable. I'm picturing the bride wearing a very fun poufy 50s style dress!! :) The weddings we've attended all followed the same pattern - church ceremony followed by reception at either a banquet hall or country club. I've looked into renting a rustic looking space at a 100-year old Mill that the City manages. The best part, 3 hour use of the space and scenic gardens for only $20 because it's managed by the City. It might be our most perfect ceremony venue!
    After being together for over 11 years and being engaged for over 3 years, we finally got hitched!
  •    I like a lunch reception because we are having one! Our ceremony is at 11:00 with lunch immediately following. In our case, lunch would have been the same cost as dinner for the most part (all inclusive package through Disneyland). The difference mainly being I'm only hosting beer, wine, and soda for lunch. If I had done dinner I would have added hard liquor.

       We like a lunch wedding because we want to head into the parks after and get some shots with our phototgrapher!

  • CMGragainCMGragain
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    edited July 2014
    MinBride29 said: Money is very tight and we really can't afford a regular wedding with an evening reception. Even with a small guest list, the reception would cost too much for us. But I've been looking into the possibility of having a late morning ceremony followed by a lunch reception. I've been to one wedding like that and it was nice because we were served a really nice meal and I believe the bride & groom were able to save a lot of money doing it this way. I'm currently starting to contact local restaurants to see if they can accommodate a lunch wedding reception... have any brides had a lunch reception and if so, how did it work out?
    A "regular wedding" does not mean an evening wedding!  Where did you get that idea?
    Traditionally, weddings were held in the afternoon, followed by a cake and punch reception.  They were usually held at the bride's parents' home until the 1940's, when church weddings became more popular. 
    My daughter had a morning ceremony at church followed by a brunch reception at a nearby country club.  Very elegant!
    If you want to be traditional, the cake and punch afternoon reception is the way to go.  It is also budget friendly.  You could serve trays of little tea sandwiches, too.  The huge, evening receptions are rather new.  Not very traditional!
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  • We had a lunchtime wedding. We served diner-style food: burgers, hot dogs, and fries with milkshakes, lemonade, and soda to drink. Everyone still tells us it was one of the best weddings they've ever been to.
    What?!  I love me some milkshakes!  I need to suggest that to any of my friends when they decide to get married.
    We rented the machine from a local restaurant and hired a waitress from the same place to operate it. They were a major hit, and one of my favorite pictures is of us sipping from the same shake.
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  • my bro and SIL are having a 10am ceremony with brunch reception immediately after. they are having Publix cater it and are having an omelette station with breakfast foods. Only booze is mimosas and bloody marys. They were able to save a lot on breakfast food vs dinner food and also on liquor. Personally, we're all pretty stoked about it- everyone loves breakfast food!
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  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston
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    I host several lunch reception weddings with lite fare lunch, wedding cake, toast, dancing, etc. Call me at as I will be happy to send you a menu.
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  • I"m planning a lunch reception and VERY excited about it. We are also keeping it intimate, so everyone will fit in the small banquet room of an amazing italian restaurant here. We actually chose to have a morning wedding after seeing the huge price difference between Saturday lunch and Saturday dinner. The room is free, you just have a food and beverage minimum. Because we're having it during the day, we can afford a 4 course family style sit down meal. I can't wait!
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