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Reception Ideas

Would this look cheap to you?

edited October 2015 in Reception Ideas
I've been struggling with trying to plan my reception for a long time now, but I think I finally have an idea that will work with my priorities and stay in my budget. However, my mum is worried that it will look cheap and thus embarrassing. I'd like to get some other opinions to see what people think before I make a decision.

I'm thinking of having a 2pm ceremony in August at church and a reception at a golf course shortly afterwards. I don't think there will need to be an entire cocktail hour as I only plan to get the pictures at the church done at this time--the rest can happen after the reception. However, I will have veggies and punch available to guests.

The reception is where it starts to get different. Instead of having a full meal, I'm thinking of having a dessert buffet including: cakes, cheese cakes, pastries, cookies, mousses, brownies, pies and fruits with dip. It will be a dry wedding, but there will be soft drink bar as my potential venue calls it. I don't think I'll bother with a wedding cake since there's already enough cake on the buffet table. I'm not planning to have a dance either since neither FI or I enjoy it. The banquet hall itself is pretty plan, but the mandatory decor package really transforms it and goes far beyond what I would have normally considered since decor isn't really important to me (I'd rather put my money towards something other than chair covers with coloured bows or rhinestones at the back, but the venue is making me pay for them anyway. FTR I like this venue because I can have a Saturday and a reception prior to 5pm. No other venue gave me both while still being affordable). Centerpieces are not included and I'm not planning to spend a lot of money on them. I'm thinking single roses in cheap dollar store variety vases, maybe with a touch of ribbon if I end up with some spare money somehow.

I know it will be short (which is fine) and people might not come (which is livable), but I don't want my mum to be embarrassed. My cousin had her wedding at a castle last summer and since then my mum has become very concerned about my wedding meeting people's expectations. Initially I was going to have lunch, but I couldn't afford it at that venue. Changing to dessert cut the cost of my reception by 25%. If we had a larger yard I'd make it a backyard reception, but I don't think that will cut it either. Plus, our backyard is really small.

So if you went to an afternoon reception that served desserts instead of a meal would you think of the couple (and by extension bride's parents who paid for half) as being cheap? Is this side eye or snark worthy? I don't want to spend that much money to be gossiped about having a crappy wedding. Half the reason I'm even holding the thing is to make my mum happy.

If anyone has any ideas on how to best spread word that there will not be a meal I'd love to hear them. Right now I'm planning to write "Please join us for refreshments after the ceremony." on the invitations, but I don't want people to think the punch and veggies are all there is going to be. I'm also planning to put in an extra piece of paper with a map of how to get from the church to the golf course and the address of my wedding website. I figure I can better explain on the website, but there's no guarantee people will look at it.

One last thing, do you think it would still be okay to have speeches at this reception? My mum thinks not, but I still feel like FI and I should say a few words to thank people for coming and recognize those who helped us. Plus, speeches are my favourite part of a wedding so I'd like to at least have my parents and the best man give speeches.

Thanks for reading!

Re: Would this look cheap to you?

  • I think it's absolutely fine to do an afternoon dessert reception, especially if the desserts are high quality.  I wouldn't think you were being cheap by doing that.  I might think you were trying to keep the budget down/save money, but that's not the same as being cheap. What you're describing in terms of decor doesn't sound overly elaborate either.  

    You could add a few touches to make it seem a bit fancier... not sure what a "soft drink bar" is, but what about a "build your own lemonade" kind of thing.... like have plain lemonade (this works for sodas or other non-alcoholic drinks), and then have things you can add to it, like fruits or infused syrups or something.  Use nicer glasses and fun straws to dress it up a little.  

    Being cheap is when someone has an evening wedding in a fancy venue with elaborate decorations, or crap like horse and carriage rides or a super expensive dress, but then has a cash bar to "save money".  
    Married 9.12.15
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    [Deleted User]kimmiinthemitten
  • Oh also on your invite, you can put "Please join us for a dessert reception at ABC Golf Course" and then include the insert like you mentioned.  That way they know what's coming and don't skip lunch by thinking you're going to serve a meal to them, even though it's not at a meal time.  
    Married 9.12.15
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  • We are already looking at something to accompany the veggies. I just felt my post was long enough so I didn't include it. Our top choices are: crab, sandwiches, cheese, shrimp, and salmon. We were only planning to pick one, but I might be able to get a third option if I take tighten the budget elsewhere or take out of the anything I didn't think of fund.

    The soft drink bar also includes juice, milk, tea, and coffee so there are less sweet drinks on the menu, I just didn't type them out. I'm pretty long-winded when writing so I get really self-conscious about the lengths of my posts.

    The church had a room, but my mum was really upset and said she wouldn't bother coming at all at that point because it would humiliate her by being too cheap. She felt that any community hall that was big enough to accommodate the guest list was similarly inappropriate. She's often reminding me how important it was that she had a large wedding so that my grandfather could be proud. Plus, it turns out she's been dreaming about my wedding since I was three so the fact I'm not willing to finance a big fancy affair is a large let down for her.

    That's why I figured a nicely decorated banquet room would be a nice compromise. Although I now do see your point. I can remember thinking to myself when I got the invitation to my cousin's wedding that while I thought it was nice that my cousin was her reception in a castle among other things, but I wished she had given me a plus one so that my FI could go with me. In the end it didn't really bug me, but I did wonder about priorities. I can see how someone could see my decor and think "that's nice, but couldn't you have given me a meal? I could probably take some decor out pretty easily. When I had initially inquired about lunch I felt it was unnecessary to have so many tables lit up in the middle of the day. They told me I could, but it wouldn't change the price. The same probably applies to other decorations. I hadn't thought of it because I figured--I'm paying for it, I should use it. It's just a matter of managing my mother's tastes with what will seem appropriate to guests. How much do you think the guests will think is appropriate? I've been thinking about nixing the centerpieces altogether to save some money since I don't think anyone will say "What an awful wedding reception! There were no centerpieces!" For what its worth the room itself isn't that fancy. Its a public golf course which I think might make a difference, but I don't go to a lot of golf courses so I can't be sure. Usually there are clubs and stuff like that hung on the walls of the banquet hall, but they take them down during weddings. Honestly, the outdoor patio where the punch, veggies, and other thing is much nicer in my opinion. Were it big enough I'd host the whole thing there. The only thing that makes the place fancy is the restaurant in the other building. It has an amazing (but expensive) buffet and is well known as one of the best places to eat in town if you can afford it. They'll be doing the catering regardless of what I pick though so at least I know the food will probably taste great no matter what I pick.

    And yes I do mean toasts under three minutes. I know lots of people don't like speeches which is why its something I can live without, I'll just be a little sad if there aren't any since it was something I was actually looking forward too and the one thing I was going to miss if we had a small private ceremony and went out to dinner with out immediate families and grandparents. I'm glad I can at least give a short toast to thank people for coming. Thank you for the correction about individual recognition though. I've been to so many weddings where the bride and groom thank everyone from their parents to the waiters to even the gardeners who work at the reception site and I doubt were even present. I figured it was standard practice. It is okay to ask, but not require people to make speeches? If my mum and dad no longer want to make a toast that's cool, but I'd like to at least ask the best man (closer to the date) if he would be willing.

    Thanks for all your advice! It was really through :)
  • jacques27jacques27 member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 1000 Comments 5 Answers
    edited October 2015
    In my head, I was thinking of my local country club. And again, it isn't that I would think it's cheap, but more...incongruent. Chair covers and bows and big centerpieces and full China settings seems overkill. So, depending on what all is involved, maybe pare the decor down, but if it's a little more informal than your typical country club, you're probably fine.

    And really, it sounds lovely and like you have a really good handle on how to provide an appropriately hosted reception for your guests. It seems like the main issue is your mother has a case of "keeping up with the Jones's" and wants to basically show off. She is free to get married and plan her own wedding as she sees fit. The fact that your mother's self worth seems to be derived from showing off for others should not be your problem to solve, especially if you're the one paying.
    [Deleted User]kimmiinthemitten
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    I agree with @adk19. This is not up to your mother. This is not her wedding. If you, your fiance and she (her?) all agree , then she can pay 100% for the wedding she wants you to have. On the other hand, if she's really that upset about the choices you're making, you can give her back any money she's paid (because the "those who pay get a say" saying does apply), not accept any future money and plan the wedding you and your FI truly want without any outside input.

    The most fun wedding I've ever been to was at a wild west themed attraction and restaurant. Not exactly swanky but well hosted. The fanciest wedding I've ever been to was also the stuffiest and had the worst food. 

    FWIW, my husband is my MIL's only child. She's big on image and was really upset to learn that we wanted a very small wedding. She wanted us to invite everyone she's ever known so she can show off how great she it. We paid for our wedding ourselves and there were 33 people in attendance. Only a total of three people from her "side" were invited. We loved our wedding. 
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    [Deleted User]Amanderson1290
  • Anyone who complains that a properly hosted event (dessert refreshments for an afternoon non-meal time wedding) for the time of day "cheap" is the rude one. If your mum cares so much about a castle wedding she can pay for one.

    THIS.

    PS-OP-your cousin was extremely rude for inviting you to the wedding w/o your FI.  You and your FI are a social unit, he is not considered a "plus one." Please don't make the same horrible etiquette mistake, invite all guests w SO's by name on the invite.

    [Deleted User]JediElizabethAmanderson1290
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    I think it sounds awesome, and your mom is being a judgmental bitch. She needs to stop worrying so much about things looking cheap unless she wants to offer to pay for something that would be more upscale in her eyes and that she would be less embarrassed by.
    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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