Wedding Etiquette Forum

Meal vs Hors d'oeuvre reception

Maybe I don't understand.  When it is appropriate to have one or the other?  I never gave anything but a seated meal style reception a thought, but the wedding coordinator at my venue suggested we have a hors doeuvre reception.  We are having a Wednesday wedding, 6:30pm ceremony with the reception in the same venue as the wedding.  The reception is a tad on the short side, 3 hours, so wrap up will be done by 10pm.  Not too late for those needing to work Thursday. The WC said many brides and grooms of shorter receptions chose the hors doeuvre reception because it's more casual and "faster".  But I think that if I were coming out to a wedding, I would expect to be feed a meal.  Am I wrong?  Would a hors doeuvre reception be more proper for my style of wedding?

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Re: Meal vs Hors d'oeuvre reception

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_meal-vs-hors-doeuvre-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:22b41c81-14c4-4d1a-b362-64bf3b9a86bdPost:83afbe0a-4fa2-4aaf-9eb0-5642237d1344">Meal vs Hors d'oeuvre reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]Maybe I don't understand.  When it is appropriate to have one or the other?  I never gave anything but a seated meal style reception a thought, but the wedding coordinator at my venue suggested we have a hors doeuvre reception.  We are having a Wednesday wedding, 6:30pm ceremony with the reception in the same venue as the wedding.  The reception is a tad on the short side, 3 hours, so wrap up will be done by 10pm.  Not too late for those needing to work Thursday. The WC said many brides and grooms of shorter receptions chose the hors doeuvre reception because it's more casual and "faster".  But I think that if I were coming out to a wedding, I would expect to be feed a meal.  Am I wrong?  Would a hors doeuvre reception be more proper for my style of wedding?
    Posted by Ramiau3[/QUOTE]

    I think you are free to do either one, and if you want a seated meal, you should have one. Hors d'oeuvres receptions are all the rage these days because people seem to be under the illusion that they are cheaper, but they often are not. Also, it lends to an overall more casual event.

    I think I'd be okay with either style of reception as long as there was plenty of food for me. The cocktail hour actually tends to be my favorite part of going to a wedding, because I love trying a million different little tidbits of warm things.
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  • Well, I think you can choose hors d'oeuvres that are heavy enough for people to make a meal out of - for example, ours isn't a seated dinner, but we are still having a beef tenderloin carving station, a mashed potato bar, and a gumbo station in addition to the crudite/passed type items. Perhaps that's what she means - light appetizers definitely wouldn't be acceptable for a reception at dinner time in my opinion. 

    I actually don't much care for seated dinners because I love being able to make a dinner out of lots of different foods, plus, they really aren't the "done" thing here. We're going to have the bar open, food out, and band playing as soon as the guests walk in - none of that will wait for our entrance.
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  • Forgive my blatant ignorance.  What is the difference between having craving stations & hors d'oeuvres, etc and a buffet style meal?  We are not having a served dinner, but a buffet. 

    Thank you for the advice to start meal as soon as ceremony is done.  That would help with the "time is of the essence" factor to our reception.  Most of the guests will have eaten, just the wedding party would still need to run through the buffet line.  And we can move onto other "party" factors to the wedding. :)
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  • I was having the same debate.

    We decided to do stations. Do you have that option? We are having a Pittsburgh station (3 types on Pgh foods), a carving station, and a salad station (2 types of salads and a veggie.) We'll also have an hors d'oeuvre station with three different types.

    This way, dinner will be faster and it will be a full meal.

    If you decide to do an hors d'oeuvre reception, my caterer suggested you have a starch, a main dish, and a veggie.
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  • Heavy hors d'oeuvres can be just as much food as a meal.  Kind of like tapas -- you eat a few bites of this, a little of that, and before you know it you're full. 

    I think I would also expect a meal, though.  Maybe you could do a buffet-style hors d'oeuvres reception with like a carving station or something?
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  • I am content with any kind of reception as long as I know before I get there what to expect. 
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  • There's no wrong or right way to do it. Well, there is one wrong way: a potluck.

    So, if you aren't doing a potluck, you're already doing it right!
    I agree with other PPs that the heavy hoer d'oveurs (freaking botched that spelling) or tapas style can be just as much, if not more, food for your guests than a sit down meal. Just make sure there is plenty of food. At a tapas reception I went to (I was MOH) they ran out of food, and it certainly wasn't enough for a long evening reception. With tapas, I generally think of fancier food, and more variety too, which is kind of more appealing than a served meal to me (from a guest perspective).

    Basically, I think the style of serving the food doesn't matter, as long as there is enough to adaquately feed everyone.! I think you're right: you do need to make sure everyone gets a meal. That is absolutly acheivable with heavy hoer d' overs/tapas.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_meal-vs-hors-doeuvre-reception?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:22b41c81-14c4-4d1a-b362-64bf3b9a86bdPost:cdd787fa-2f7e-4f3b-b914-30d13b3a7d44">Re: Meal vs Hors d'oeuvre reception</a>:
    [QUOTE]Forgive my blatant ignorance.  What is the difference between having craving stations & hors d'oeuvres, etc and a buffet style meal?  
    Posted by Ramiau3[/QUOTE]

    <div>I have no idea what the official difference is, if there is one, but I don't consider ours a buffet because there won't be designated "ok now everyone go to the buffet and let's sit down and have dinner together" time. The food will be available through the whole reception, the band won't stop playing for anything other than short breaks, etc. To me, a buffet still implies seated-dinner-time, but it's just not a plated meal.</div>
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  • I think having a heav hors d'oeuvres reception is a great idea for a weeknight reception.  It'll likely get everyone fed faster.  And the appetizers are usually my favorite part of a meal -- I wouldn't mind a whole meal of small bites!
  • Ditto PPs. Most of the evening receptions I have been to have served a buffet of heavy hors d'oeuvres. It allows guests to spend more time mingling, and gives them the option of where to sit. And it saves you the stress of creating a seating chart for them.
  • As someone who has been to literally over 450 weddings as a singer in a wedding band I have seen my share of different reception styles.  You can have either one.  If you're going for a shorter reception, I'd recommend a cocktail reception or hors d'oeuvres reception.  A seated dinner takes more time to get all the courses out and still include things like cake cutting and parent dances.   A cocktail reception also allows for more mingling and a free-form relaxed feel. A cocktail reception doesn't have to feel casual, you can make it as sophisticated as you like!
  • just make sure you have enough food....if people are coming from work they won't have time for dinner and will be counting on food!
  • I have no idea what the official difference is, if there is one, but I don't consider ours a buffet because there won't be designated "ok now everyone go to the buffet and let's sit down and have dinner together" time. The food will be available through the whole reception, the band won't stop playing for anything other than short breaks, etc. To me, a buffet still implies seated-dinner-time, but it's just not a plated meal.

    This.

    A buffet implies: "It's table __'s turn to go to the buffet line now"

    Stations are similar to a buffet but are usually spread out and are available the whole night and there is usually no assigned seating. 

    Every single New Orleans wedding I have been to has been this style and it has always been a blast. 
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