Reception Ideas

Cake and Punch Timeline - help!

So my wedding is 8 months away and my MIL wants to invite her whole universe to the wedding (which she is paying for). After months of fighting about HER 150 person guest list and her desire to have TWO RECEPTIONS (yes T-W-O), we settled on having everything at the church with a dry reception. 

Fast forward a couple of months, my stepmother graciously hired a wedding planner for me as a gift. 

She suggested (due to my immense amount of stress) to separate the two events and have the reception somewhere else (where we could better control the guest list - as opposed to basically having an open wedding/reception). 

After reviewing different reception venues and comparing them, we settled on a nice venue with an all-inclusive package (open bar, wine during dinner, champagne, 3 course meal, wedding cake, etc.) because it was not much more expensive than lesser venues. 

SO, as before, my MIL is wanting to have "cake and punch" post receiving line for the wedding. Since this is anticipated to be a large wedding, I'm concerned about the time it takes for a receiving line as well as what happens when the guests get their cake and punch?

Will they be expecting some sort of speech (which we may not have time to give depending on the number of people invited)? Right now the plan is to greet all the guests individually and head to the reception for a more intimate gathering. 

My first instinct says that people will cut the receiving line and head straight for the food and then we won't be able to greet them before we leave. 

Thoughts?

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Re: Cake and Punch Timeline - help!

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's
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    Is your MIL paying for any of this?  If no then have your FI tell her "Sorry Mom but we will not be having a cake and punch reception after the ceremony."

    I just think that if you do the cake and punch (probably will be a total of 1.5 hours) then you run the chance of having the guests actually invited to your wedding having to sit around and wait for your reception to begin.  IMO, if I were invited to your wedding I wouldn't stay for the cake and punch, but rather I would head straight for the reception.  I would also be kind of confused as to what was going on because in my hand I have an invite for a reception at X location but then I see you serving cake and punch outside of the church and I would be thinking, "huh did the other party get cancelled or did something change?"

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    I'm confused about what your FMIL is and isn't paying for. In the first paragraph you say that she is paying for the wedding, which would be at church with a dry reception; then you say that your stepmother hired a wedding planner for you who set up another package.

    If your FMIL isn't paying, then she doesn't get a say and you can plan as you see fit. I agree that a cake and lunch receiving line may well be misunderstood by your guests to be "the" reception and I wouldn't do it. But if your FMIL is paying, she gets a say, and I would try to convince her to limit the receiving line to the actual reception site.
  • Is your MIL paying for any of this?  If no then have your FI tell her "Sorry Mom but we will not be having a cake and punch reception after the ceremony."

    I just think that if you do the cake and punch (probably will be a total of 1.5 hours) then you run the chance of having the guests actually invited to your wedding having to sit around and wait for your reception to begin.  IMO, if I were invited to your wedding I wouldn't stay for the cake and punch, but rather I would head straight for the reception.  I would also be kind of confused as to what was going on because in my hand I have an invite for a reception at X location but then I see you serving cake and punch outside of the church and I would be thinking, "huh did the other party get cancelled or did something change?"

    Jen4948 said:
    I'm confused about what your FMIL is and isn't paying for. In the first paragraph you say that she is paying for the wedding, which would be at church with a dry reception; then you say that your stepmother hired a wedding planner for you who set up another package. If your FMIL isn't paying, then she doesn't get a say and you can plan as you see fit. I agree that a cake and lunch receiving line may well be misunderstood by your guests to be "the" reception and I wouldn't do it. But if your FMIL is paying, she gets a say, and I would try to convince her to limit the receiving line to the actual reception site.
    Sorry for the confusion. My FMIL is paying for the wedding and the cake and punch reception at the church. My parents are paying for the reception afterwards. 

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  • Also, I am also concerned about the guests being confused. Ideally our timeline would be tight. But are we supposed to make a speech at the cake and punch? 

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  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's
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    Okay, I think your best bet is to lay out the timeline in your invites to those invited to the whole thing.  Like...

    Ceremony - A-B
    Cake and punch - B-C
    Reception - C-D

    This way your guests can choose whether or not they want to stay for the cake and punch.

    But really I think this is just a bad idea.  What if the people only going to the ceremony and cake and punch talk to those invited to the reception?  Feelings could be hurt.  Are these people (cake and punch only) being invited via an invite?  Or is it more of a 'church is open to the public so we are having some cake for whoever comes'?  I am just afraid that this could come off kind of like a tiered reception.  I get that your FMIL wants to invite certain people but I think you and your FI need to decide what you want and if the cake and punch is not something that you want then maybe you need to tell her "thanks but no thanks" for the money and pay for the ceremony yourself.

    [Deleted User]
  • Okay, I think your best bet is to lay out the timeline in your invites to those invited to the whole thing.  Like...

    Ceremony - A-B
    Cake and punch - B-C
    Reception - C-D

    This way your guests can choose whether or not they want to stay for the cake and punch.

    But really I think this is just a bad idea.  What if the people only going to the ceremony and cake and punch talk to those invited to the reception?  Feelings could be hurt.  Are these people (cake and punch only) being invited via an invite?  Or is it more of a 'church is open to the public so we are having some cake for whoever comes'?  I am just afraid that this could come off kind of like a tiered reception.  I get that your FMIL wants to invite certain people but I think you and your FI need to decide what you want and if the cake and punch is not something that you want then maybe you need to tell her "thanks but no thanks" for the money and pay for the ceremony yourself.
    Thanks for the advice. Everyone's getting an invitation. I have told my FMIL several times before that I think it's rude to her guests to only be invited to one portion of the event. The church is very close knit so, unfortunately we are dealing with a more 'open church' situation - even though invitations are being sent. People who are not invited, will attend, without a doubt. I'll discuss it further to see if we can come up with an alternate solution/timeline.

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  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!)
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    AJC430 said:
    Is your MIL paying for any of this?  If no then have your FI tell her "Sorry Mom but we will not be having a cake and punch reception after the ceremony."

    I just think that if you do the cake and punch (probably will be a total of 1.5 hours) then you run the chance of having the guests actually invited to your wedding having to sit around and wait for your reception to begin.  IMO, if I were invited to your wedding I wouldn't stay for the cake and punch, but rather I would head straight for the reception.  I would also be kind of confused as to what was going on because in my hand I have an invite for a reception at X location but then I see you serving cake and punch outside of the church and I would be thinking, "huh did the other party get cancelled or did something change?"

    Jen4948 said:
    I'm confused about what your FMIL is and isn't paying for. In the first paragraph you say that she is paying for the wedding, which would be at church with a dry reception; then you say that your stepmother hired a wedding planner for you who set up another package. If your FMIL isn't paying, then she doesn't get a say and you can plan as you see fit. I agree that a cake and lunch receiving line may well be misunderstood by your guests to be "the" reception and I wouldn't do it. But if your FMIL is paying, she gets a say, and I would try to convince her to limit the receiving line to the actual reception site.
    Sorry for the confusion. My FMIL is paying for the wedding and the cake and punch reception at the church. My parents are paying for the reception afterwards. 
    Decline your FMILs money and just do the reception with those that you (and your parents) want to invite (with a proportionate, fair number of her guests invited).  If that's 30 for a 100 person wedding, fine - just tell her the number and let her decide who she wants to invite.  She doesn't get to invite the world.
    AJC430
  • JoanE2012 said:
    AJC430 said:
    Is your MIL paying for any of this?  If no then have your FI tell her "Sorry Mom but we will not be having a cake and punch reception after the ceremony."

    I just think that if you do the cake and punch (probably will be a total of 1.5 hours) then you run the chance of having the guests actually invited to your wedding having to sit around and wait for your reception to begin.  IMO, if I were invited to your wedding I wouldn't stay for the cake and punch, but rather I would head straight for the reception.  I would also be kind of confused as to what was going on because in my hand I have an invite for a reception at X location but then I see you serving cake and punch outside of the church and I would be thinking, "huh did the other party get cancelled or did something change?"

    Jen4948 said:
    I'm confused about what your FMIL is and isn't paying for. In the first paragraph you say that she is paying for the wedding, which would be at church with a dry reception; then you say that your stepmother hired a wedding planner for you who set up another package. If your FMIL isn't paying, then she doesn't get a say and you can plan as you see fit. I agree that a cake and lunch receiving line may well be misunderstood by your guests to be "the" reception and I wouldn't do it. But if your FMIL is paying, she gets a say, and I would try to convince her to limit the receiving line to the actual reception site.
    Sorry for the confusion. My FMIL is paying for the wedding and the cake and punch reception at the church. My parents are paying for the reception afterwards. 
    Decline your FMILs money and just do the reception with those that you (and your parents) want to invite (with a proportionate, fair number of her guests invited).  If that's 30 for a 100 person wedding, fine - just tell her the number and let her decide who she wants to invite.  She doesn't get to invite the world.
    Thank you! I should also add, that FI is an only child and wants the big wedding also. The compromise we came up with was for her to invite who they wanted to the wedding (since FI's father died at a young age, she raised him by herself), and my family would pay for the more intimate reception. 

    The good thing is we still have some time to solidify what is and what isn't going to happen. Hopefully we can get this to change in the near future.

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  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
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    AJC430 said:
    Okay, I think your best bet is to lay out the timeline in your invites to those invited to the whole thing.  Like...

    Ceremony - A-B
    Cake and punch - B-C
    Reception - C-D

    This way your guests can choose whether or not they want to stay for the cake and punch.

    But really I think this is just a bad idea.  What if the people only going to the ceremony and cake and punch talk to those invited to the reception?  Feelings could be hurt.  Are these people (cake and punch only) being invited via an invite?  Or is it more of a 'church is open to the public so we are having some cake for whoever comes'?  I am just afraid that this could come off kind of like a tiered reception.  I get that your FMIL wants to invite certain people but I think you and your FI need to decide what you want and if the cake and punch is not something that you want then maybe you need to tell her "thanks but no thanks" for the money and pay for the ceremony yourself.
    Thanks for the advice. Everyone's getting an invitation. I have told my FMIL several times before that I think it's rude to her guests to only be invited to one portion of the event. The church is very close knit so, unfortunately we are dealing with a more 'open church' situation - even though invitations are being sent. People who are not invited, will attend, without a doubt. I'll discuss it further to see if we can come up with an alternate solution/timeline.
    Invites should only be sent to those invited to the ENTIRE wedding.

    Personally, this sounds like a cluster.  I would have your FI tell his Mom that you will be paying for the ceremony yourself and that a cake and punch is not happening.  If your FMIL really wants to host something for her huge guest list then she can host a brunch the next day.

    Basically you are trying to have two styles of reception on the same day and it is just not going to work.  Time to step and say no.

    AJC430[Deleted User]STARMOON44[Deleted User]
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
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    edited September 2015
    It isn't polite to not invite every guest to the whole wedding, so a cake and punch reception for everyone followed by an "intimate" reception on the same day isn't going to work. I think your FI needs to firmly nix this idea to his mother and just have the "intimate" reception-but invite everyone to that "intimate" reception who is invited to the ceremony.

    I would compromise by letting her host something on another day.
    AJC430MesmrEwe
  • I'd be fine with this if it were as follows:

    2: Ceremony
    3-5Cake and Punch for 200 people- 2 hours (I'd assume most will leave after 1 hour or so)
    7- Dinner for 30 people.

    Or whatever times make sense for you. Or:

    2- ceremony. 150 invited, 200 church people just show up (assume 1 hour long)
    3-4- cake and punch available in church hall- not a reception, just like a church coffee hour
    4-reception at other location begins for invited guests.
  • Hold the phone... It sounds like you're creating an "A & B" list...  Hopefully that's not the case!!!

    Ye who pays, gets a say in how their money is spent!!! 

    Here's a "how to make it work" for ALL guests...  No guest gets a "lesser" invitation to only a portion of the reception...  Assuming the church has a mandatory start time (something that many/most Catholic brides deal with - "the gap")...

    1:00 Ceremony

    2:00 Receiving Line, cake & punch reception in church hall

    5:00 Happy Hour & Dinner reception (with some other form of dessert)

    If your planner suggested breaking this up in any way in terms of an A&B list - FIRE THEM NOW!  It is incredibly rude to break guests up.  All guests are to be treated equally!  With your RSVP, you need to add a line "____  Unable to attend, ____ Attending Cake & Punch reception, ____Attending Cake, punch, & Dinner Reception"  That way you can get a more accurate count.  Since they're paying, they get a say, but they don't get to be rude and create a "my guests vs. your guests" receptions...

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  • To me, this sounds like a situation where your FMIL is very involved in the church where you'll be getting married and is planning on doing one of those "post the wedding in the church bulletin and any church member can show up if they want to". That's pretty common, especially in southern churches. Is that the case here? 

    If so, these aren't really wedding guests. They're church members who decide, of their own accord (without a formal invitation from you), to attend your wedding. You aren't obligated to host these people as formally invited wedding guests.

    If not and your FMIL is planning to send formal invitations to these people, then you/your parents ARE obligated to host them. Not just for cake/punch, but for dinner and the reception. You could get out of this by telling your FMIL that your parents can't afford to host an extra 150 people, so therefore these people cannot get formal invitations.

    Here's how I'd handle it...

    If these people are "church guests":
    3-4pm - wedding
    4-5 - receiving line and "cocktail" hour at the church with church guests and formally invited guests (cocktail hour meaning finger foods and non-alcoholic punch - assuming you can't serve booze - I would not serve cake since you'll probably be cutting cake at your actual reception)
    5-whenever - reception at your reception venue

    If these people are formally invited guests (i.e. they receive an actual invitation):

    3-4 - wedding
    4-4:30 - receiving line at the church (no food or drink)
    4:30-5:30 - cocktail hour at your reception venue (hosted by your FMIL)
    5:30-whenever - dinner and reception at your reception venue (hosted by your parents)
    *********************************************************************************

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    [Deleted User]Viczaesar
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