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Minnesota-Minneapolis and St. Paul

Need everyone's opinion on recpt food

Daughter's reception is at 7pm next September. We are planning a cocktail/hors d ouerves style menu with a carving station. I think the hors d ouerves menu is pretty extensive and offers a wide variety. Daughter is afraid the guests won't understand and will expect a plated dinner or buffet. I would like to hear your opinions. PS: the hors d ouerves will cost just as much as buffet or plated dinner, so cost isn't the issue.

Re: Need everyone's opinion on recpt food

  • wittyschaffywittyschaffy member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I personally have to agree with your daughter.  However, if you're set on doing an Hors d'ouerves reception, you can simply state that in your invitation... something about cocktail reception to follow or something along those lines so that people understand it isn't a full meal.  Some people might still not get it.  I was blown away by some of our guests who failed to read their invite to a) know that we were having ONLY a reception and b) who failed to read that our reception was on a FRIDAY!
  • edited December 2011
    I think it depends on when the ceremony is.  If the ceremony is at 3:00 and the reception starts at 7:00, then it would be rude IMO to only serve a light meal versus a meal that guests would expect over the dinner hour.

    If cost isn't the issue, what is more attractive about a cocktail/hors d'ouevres reception than a buffet/plated full dinner?  If everything is equal, I'd have the full dinner and not disappoint hungry guests - it will make the reception more fun for everyone (versus people leaving to get more food - it has happened), and people would be more likely to stay later.
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  • hkieslinghkiesling member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I'll have to side with your daughter, too.  With a later reception, guests will probably expect dinner, although 7 PM is almost getting to the point where it's late enough that everyone would have eaten earlier.  What is the rest of the reception like? Pretty traditional with DJ or just chit chat for the rest of the night? How late will it go?
  • drdifabiodrdifabio member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I think as long as there would be enough food to cover the amount of a full meal that is fine - then it would be more of a tapas style meal. But I agree people will be looking for enough food to fill up on. I was at a wedding where they just did passed Hors d'ouerves and there was not enough to go around. With the combo of people drinking and not having enough to eat you can imagine what ended up happening to some.

  • edited December 2011
    I am having a cocktail reception that starts at 8, with a pasta station and other 'heavy' things. I think that if you have a carving station, you should be fine.  However, if you have a carving station and then just veggies/dip/chips, that might cause some problems, especially for those guests who do not eat meat :)  In addition to the pasta station, we are having lots of 'starchy' things such as chipotle potatoes and artichoke 'gratin' to soak up the booze.  Cheese, crackers, tortilla spirals, spring and egg rolls...you get the idea.  We are also having a late night snack.  Nothing is being passed-it is all stations.  I like the idea of a cocktail reception, then people aren't confined to their seats!  But again, our reception is all about the party :)  We are putting on the invite that it is a cocktail reception....
  • LolaBelle515LolaBelle515 member
    Fifth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I agree with the poster above that noting that this is an "hors' dourves" reception in the invitation would be appropriate.

    When I attended an hors' dourves reception, I was shocked to discover how much food there was--and wished I hadn't eaten before the ceremony! (which was at 6pm).

    I think this type of reception can be wonderful because it allows people to graze throughout the night, rather than sit down at one time to eat.  I personally would not be offended at all if it was indicated in the invitation, so that I could prepare in advance if the ceremony is earlier in the day (ie. go out to dinner between ceremony/reception).
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  • edited December 2011
    I'm having a heavy hors doeuvre reception as well!  We're doing a few stations (carving sandwich, mashed potato bar), passed appys as well as platters. You can provide the same amount of food to people they'd get at a traditional dinner by serving appetizers, like a pp said it's more of a tapas deal.

    For us, it's not so much about saving $ (we're spending about the same as a seated meal) it's about the atmosphere. We want to have a party as opposed to a "reception", we want people to move around and mingle and have fun and so this style suits us. we're both grazers and love this kind of food! we didn't want the standard "wedding chicken" and thought this was a great way to get some variety. 

    All of that being said, I totally agree that you should indicate it on the invitation (we're putting "Hors doeuvres, cocktails and dancing to follow") to give guests notice. If you tell them what's up they will prepare accordingly. These kinds of receptions are becoming more common so the concept may be familiar to some of your guests. Sidebar- my friend's May '09 wedding was like this and it rocked. She was worried that her big-appetite relatives would scoff, but it went over really well with everyone.  I think as long as you note the format on the invite and plan for the right amount of food you won't have the problems your daughter is worried about.  Talk to your venue about ordering the right amount of food, they probably have some good info for you.

    good luck!
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  • hkieslinghkiesling member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    For those not having a seated meal, do you still have enough tables and seats for everyone to sit down?  A lot of mingling is good, but I know that at my wedding, people also like to sit and talk to each other, especially the older people.
  • KikiTopazKikiTopaz member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011

    I really appreciate everyone's responses! The ceremony is in the Como Park Conservatory and starts at 6:30. We are restricted to 90 guests so that means immediate family only, no friends or extended relatives. The reception follows in the Como Park Visitor's center so we can invite everyone else. The bridal couple wants a fun and relaxed atmosphere while still being elegant. From the catering menu, we are able to choose quite a few options that almost surpass a sit down or buffet dinner in the quantity of food being presented, both butler passed and at several stations around the room. There is going to be DJ dancing and a photo booth. I am helping my daughter with her website that will feature what foods are being offered so people have an idea of what to expect. The service is offered for three hours then several platters of fruit, cheese and crackers, etc. will be left to snack on throughout the evening. I think it will work fine, but I will share your opinions with my daughter and FSIL. Thanks again.

  • edited December 2011
    hkielsing-our venue has a huge bar, so we are anticipating people sitting at the bar.  We are NOT going to have chairs for 200 people as the dancing is starting the moment we walk down that aisle.  The emphasis of our reception (it should really be called a party) is the music, so we will probably have about 150-175 chairs, plus whatever can be fit at the 60 foot bar...
  • edited December 2011
    I think that if you have the info about the food on the website that will give guests an idea of whether they need to eat beforehand.

    As a vegetarian, I am a little wary about your selections. Please provide more than just veggies and cheese and crackers as your non-meat option. I would be fairly upset if I went to a wedding and that was all I could eat when everyone else got a freshly carved ham or something. I'm not sure how you can have a "vegetarian option" with that, but if you could figure out a non-meat equivalent option, your vegetarian guests will be amazingly thankful, not to mention impressed that you thought about them and their special dietary needs. 
  • edited December 2011

    I second the above persons comment.  Both my FI and I are vegetarians and we have been to so many wedding where our vegetarian choice, sit down or passed apps, has been sooo limited.  This is why we are doing a pasta station with grilled veggies and/or chicken-for those who need some meat. 


    Granted, as a vegetarian I can always find something and I don't usually anticipate that someone will think of my dietary needs, but it is always appreciated.  Not to mention it costs less as well!!

  • wittyschaffywittyschaffy member
    Knottie Warrior 1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011

    ooh, enjoy the Conservatory.  I had my wedding there in October and loved it.  We only had 10 non wedding participant guests there because of the space limitations but it was absolutely lovely.

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