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Intimate afternoon wedding, cake and punch and dinner?

This is a multi part question. 

We are heading in an intimate affair direction with a total of 20 people at a B & B about 3 hours from where we and all of our guests live. The B & B has an aweseome little wedding package which has a ceremony at 1 pm and cake and punch immediately following until 3. I love the venue and the direction it has been taking us for this. I would like to host dinner as well. I have found some very nice restaurants that offer banquet menus or regular menu items for groups this size. I know that "gaps" are not necessarily a good thing but I cant see doing dinner at 3:30 especially right after cake. 

Would it be ok to start a cocktail hour at the restaurant at 5:30 and then host the meal starting around six? 

Has anyone done a restaurant reception? Is it ok to host only beer and wine when in a banquet room at a restaurant? (It is listed as an option on the banquet menu) we wont be having a dj or dancing, just dinner and chit chat with some good food and maybe a few drinks, until we are ready to go back to our rooms. 




Re: Intimate afternoon wedding, cake and punch and dinner?

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    edited February 2014
    Your cocktail hour would need to start immediately following the end of what you're hosting at the B&B. And honestly for a ceremony at 1pm, I would expect lunch afterward, not cake and punch. That's mealtime, considering people will need to be getting ready when they would normally be eating.

    How far away is the restaurant? Would it be possible to have a cocktail hour start there around 3-3:30 and serve dinner at 4:30? Or else just use the B&B for the ceremony with a reception following at the restaurant whenever your ceremony ends.

    ETA: And yes, hosting beer and wine only is acceptable as long as you are not offering drinks your guests pay for at all. Have a drink menu or let the servers list off what is available with no mention of anything else.
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    This is a unique situation so I'm curious to see the responses. In this type of a situation I'm almost thinking a gap might be nice, as you said for people to get hungry again. This wouldn't be the normal gap that most people say is unacceptable. You are hosting them with food immediately after your ceremony. You're just opting to carry this into a longer event. If I were a guest at your wedding, I would appreciate the afternoon gap to relax (recover from possible sugar/carb crash after cake), take a nap & freshen up for the evening and not feel rushed. Then it would seem like a more relaxing weekend get away then a busy day. That's just me.
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    If you want to serve a meal I would see if the B&B would let you start the ceremony at 12:00 and then have lunch immediately following there at the B&B.
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    That is exactly what we want. Relaxing weekend not rushed from one place to the next. I figure that we can use the time in between to get some pictures and chill out for a little bit. Some of the guests are people we party with on a regular basis and we almost always build some downtime in to the schedule. The rest are immediate family, some of whom may require downtime (FIs sister fighting a losing battle with cancer we hope will be able to make it, my two year old will hopefully still require a nap in 7 months lol) so I don't think it will be a huge issue but wanted to see what others thought. 
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    2leadsingers2leadsingers member
    5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
    edited February 2014
    Your cocktail hour would need to start immediately following the end of what you're hosting at the B&B. And honestly for a ceremony at 1pm, I would expect lunch afterward, not cake and punch. That's mealtime, considering people will need to be getting ready when they would normally be eating.

    How far away is the restaurant? Would it be possible to have a cocktail hour start there around 3-3:30 and serve dinner at 4:30? Or else just use the B&B for the ceremony with a reception following at the restaurant whenever your ceremony ends.

    ETA: And yes, hosting beer and wine only is acceptable as long as you are not offering drinks your guests pay for at all. Have a drink menu or let the servers list off what is available with no mention of anything else.
    There are two restaurants that I am looking at both within a ten minute drive. One is a high end classy place that we would get a banquet menu similar to that of a hall, salad, roll, fancy chicken dish option and fancy steak dish. The other is a cozy lodge feel with good savory favorites and good atmosphere that we might end up with pasta and a meat and salad family style instead of plated. Both are within price range, driving range, and available. 

    I cant change the time or the cake/punch if I go with this venue. That is the package and it isnt customizable unfortunately.  

    ETA: venue info
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    See I wouldn't consider what you are planning as really having a gap.  I see it as two different events. I see that the ceremony and cake and punch reception was the wedding and reception.  I then see the dinner as a separate thing (not part of your wedding) that you are inviting everyone to but that not everyone has to attend if they do not want.

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    Can you maybe do a light brunch before the ceremony as well? Or will the Am be too busy for you?

    I am, as well, planning an intimate destination wedding (10 people) and we are planning on holding the ceremony at a restaurant, then sitting down to lunch and drinks.

    As it is early enough, we may take a break and hang out with our guests (I might look into renting a trolley and touring the city or taking a ride on the wine train) and then do a dinner as well.

    But as your time frame stands, you are basically expecting people to eat breakfast and then fast until dinner at 4 or so, and that's quite a long time with no food. :/
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    I could see about brunch beforehand. That is correct Maggie, the dinner will have a separate invitation/RSVP.  It will be a separate event. I would expect all guests to join us being the small group that it is, but I did plan on having a separate invite for that. The morning will hopefully not be that rushed, we do plan on doing pictures but since there wont really be a wedding party there wont be much time involved for that. 
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    I would be okay with that gap too. Especially if I was staying at the B &B.
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    Honestly, I think this kind of gap is totally fine. I like the idea of what you have planned.
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    What do you expect your guests to do between the end of the reception and the beginning of dinner?  Is everyone staying at the B&B?  Can you just do a hospitality suite so that people who are leaving have somewhere to go?  

    It's only 20 people.  As long as they have somewhere to go and continue the social event, I don't see an issue with it.  But as a guest, I would find it rude for you to say goodbye at 3:00 and tell me to come back in two hours.  

    I agree with PP about 1:00 being lunch.  If people are 3 hours away, most will drive in the day of the wedding.  That means breakfast, and then cake until dinner?  Can you push the ceremony to 2:00 to make sure people know that you won't be serving lunch, and then avoid some of the gap issue?  
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    I can not change the time of the ceremony or cake. I can make dinner earlier. I just didn't think that people would want to eat dinner right after cake. I can probably push it up and make it earlier at the restaurant say appetizers and cocktails starting at 4 and dinner closer to five. I will see about having some hors d'oevres and brunchy stuff out before the ceremony as well. I planned on doing bags for hotel rooms with snacks as well. Thanks for all the help. It will probably work out better that way anyway, make it an early evening, then we can hit a bar or back to our jacuzzi/fireplace suite ;) 
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    I also see this as two separate events - the ceremony and reception, then you're inviting everyone to dinner after (you're paying, right?).  My only concern will be for those who aren't staying at the B&B or nearby.  Where would they go and what would they do in between?  Would they be able to stay at the B&B and have access to the beverages, etc? Other than that, the main event (wedding) is over with, so the gap isn't a big issue. People can choose not to go to dinner.
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    See I wouldn't consider what you are planning as really having a gap.  I see it as two different events. I see that the ceremony and cake and punch reception was the wedding and reception.  I then see the dinner as a separate thing (not part of your wedding) that you are inviting everyone to but that not everyone has to attend if they do not want.
    I agree with this. When you do the invite  you can put "reception to follow", which is cake and punch. Then you can put in an insert or post on the website something about how you'd love to host everyone for dinner and drinks at restaurant at x time. It's sort of like a next day brunch that everyone can choose to attend or not. It could be nice.  
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    I see it as two different events too. I tend to eat lunch early, so I would probably stop on the way if the invite said the reception was just cake and punch. Maybe you could see if they could throw some cheese and crackers in along with the cake, just in case anyone needs anything a little more substantial. As long as people have someplace to hang out in between (are they all staying there?) you should be fine.

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