Wedding Reception Forum

Is a champagne reception too little?

Is it enough to just do a few toasts and serve champagne and cake after a 2pm ceremony? Wouldn't guests feel like it is too short of an event? As a bride I worry I'll feel like I got all dressed up for nothing. Any thoughts?

Re: Is a champagne reception too little?

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    Wouldn't out if town guest expect more after they travelled in? I'm worried about my friends expecting a party like most weddings they've been to. What do people do after a reception like that? I don't want to feel like ''my big day'' went by too fast.
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    JennyColadaJennyColada member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited March 2014
    Personally, if I were an OOT guest traveling for a 1pm (or whatever early afternoon) ceremony, I'd already figure that it'd be a short trip. So I'd plan my RSVP accordingly.

    If I RSVP'd yes then that's because I chose that the travel time was fine for a few hours of celebration.

    So the onus isn't on you to play babysitter to your adult guests. They are adults and are free to decide what is worth their time and what is not.

    Personally, I think that champagne and cake at that time is fine, and I would not feel taken advantage of or shorted as a guest. Based on the start time.
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    Yep, if I saw an invitation that said 2 pm, I wouldn't expect a big party. You can also spread your plan by word of mouth. If you're really worried, put "Champagne and cake to follow" on your invitations.
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    This varies from social group to social group.

    I've never once attended a wedding, regardless of time of day, that did not provide a full meal, dancing and open bar.  It's just what my social group does.    

      I've honestly never attended and/or been invited to a champagne and cake reception.   I would think it was odd to be invited to an OOT wedding that was only cake and champagne.   Honestly, I doubt I would travel a great distance to a wedding like that.  

    Now just because it's uncommon in my social group, doesn't mean it not acceptable. Many people have cake and champagne weddings.  Like @emmyg65 said, she wouldn't expect a big party at 2.  In some groups people have all different kinds of wedding:  cake and punch to full blowouts and everything in between.  The norm, is there is no norm.

    That does not mean you shouldn't have a cake and champagne wedding.  They are a nice inexpensive way to host your guests.   Will your OOT guests be disappointed?  Maybe, maybe not.   It depends what is the "norm" in your group.

    I like the idea of putting "champagne and cake reception to follow" so people like me do not except a full meal.    If I'm going to a 2pm wedding I will eat a late or early lunch expecting food around 3-4pm.

    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. 
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    Take everything Lynda said and pretend I said it.

    We had a 2 PM ceremony and our guests had a full meal.   That doesn't mean a champagne reception is wrong but I don't know that you can say "guests don't expect that" either. 
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    It sounds a little like you would like it to be more than just cake and champagne. If you would like it to go on longer and celebrate more extensively with your guests you can host some hors d'oevres and other snacks to keep things going a bit longer. I have also seen on TK brides who are having a dessert reception in the afternoon invite some guests to a dinner the same evening, but as a separate, unhosted event that is not actually part of the wedding. This is a way to spend more time with your guests and include them in more of the day besides just the afternoon.

    Having said that, cake and champagne is a perfectly elegant way to celebrate your marriage and your guests will likely find it more important that they were a part of such a special event than whether or not they were served dinner at a non-meal time. Ditto PP's suggestion to specify on your invites if you feel this may affect your OOT guests.
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    The only thing I would add to all of the above (excellent) thoughts is the question of how many guests? Champagne and cake are a lovely, elegant way to host an intimate number of guests.  These people are very important to you and you want them to share your special moment.  However, if you are in the 100+ range of guests, it begins to look "gift grabby", as in "come to my wedding, bring a gift, but I am not spending too much money to host you".  If, however, you are most interested in extending the day, then go with singinchick and add some hors d'oevres, and even a reasonably priced DJ.
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    Don't forget the tea and coffee!  If you really want to dress it up a bit, have trays of little tea sandwiches, too.  Miss Manner's daughter had a wedding with a reception like this.  She did NOT specify the reception type on the invitation, either - just the proper, "Reception to follow".
    I think your plans are lovely!
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