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Food and Cakes

NEED HELP... Do you have to provide Sit Down Dinner?

Hi, I am in the beginning stages of planning my wedding, we are looking at a destination wedding for around 150-160 guests in Fort Lauderdale, FL. I am finding the prices for a lot of the hotels and all that is VERY expensive and has HIGH minimum drinks/food prices you have to spend. We are a very laid back, social couple, that just wants our wedding ceremony (in the sand on the beach) and our reception to just be more a fun celebration and not so much a black tie event. We were thinking about doing just ordurves and maybe a few stations INSTEAD of offering a full out dinner...... 

has anyone does this before, if so how did you flow the night with the food??? Do you have to inform your guests of this on the invitations, how to word this if so??!! Any and ALL information greatly appreciated!!!

Re: NEED HELP... Do you have to provide Sit Down Dinner?

  • edited December 2012
    If your wedding is at a meal time, you should serve a full meal.  If you want to have enough hors d'oeurves and stations to fill people up for a meal, that works - but be warned that it is often not any cheaper (and sometimes more expensive) than a standard plated meal or buffet.  

    I see you're new, welcome.  I suggest posting on your local board (to the left) to get venue suggestions.  You might be able to find caterers and venues that are more within your budget.  

  • Agree with sleeper that if all of your guests are travelling to FL for your wedding it would be in very poor taste to not host a meal.  You can't expect people to fly to FL, get hotels, rental cars, etc and not provide them with a meal at your reception.

    This is one instance where I believe you can't just stay away from dinner times and have it be fine.  They are spending a lot of money to attend and you really need to host them properly.
  • You have to serve enough food to constitute a meal at meal time.  It does not have to be a traditional sit down dinner (ours wasn't).  Stations and hors d'oeuvres are okay, but as PP already said, for that to be enough to count as a meal it won't necessarily be cheaper than a plated dinner (but I do think that it lends itself to a more relaxed vibe than a plated meal or buffet). 

    You don't HAVE to serve a meal if people are traveling, but you should be very, very clear on the invitations if you're not so people can make an informed choice to come. "Desserts and light appetizers to follow" would do the trick. 
  • Not only what PP said but if your guests are traveling to your DW, you should really take care of them.  You should definitely provide an amazing meal, some drinks, etc.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I have to say while you don't have to provide a full meal if it's not at meal time, I would think very poorly of a couple who had a DW and didn't provide a meal.   Personally, I think if you are having a DW you need to step up a little.

    To anwser your question, you don't have to have a sit-down meal, just have enough food to be considered a full meal.






    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. 
  • A buffet is fine, an appetizer and food station meal is fine, but it needs to be a hefty selection.  It doesn't have to be a formal, sit down, plated event. But, you need to make sure your guests are well fed.  If I went to a DW and there were only snacks, I'd be pretty irritated. 

    Look into alternate venues instead of just hotels.  Restaurants will often have a private room where you can host your reception. You can look into parks and rec districts. They often have rental facilities where you can bring in your own catering.  There are a ton of options that may be less expensive and give you the more casual feeling you are looking for.
  • edited December 2012
    In Response to Re: NEED HELP... Do you have to provide Sit Down Dinner?:
    [QUOTE]I have to say while you don't have to provide a full meal if it's not at meal time, I would think very poorly of a couple who had a DW and didn't provide a meal.   Personally, I think if you are having a DW you need to step up a little. To anwser your question, you don't have to have a sit-down meal, just have enough food to be considered a full meal.
    Posted by lyndausvi[/QUOTE]


    I agree. It would be one thing if you were getting married in your home town, or even driving distance away. But CMH to FLL is a two day drive or a 300 pp flight. If you expect your guests to shell out 300 person just to get there the least you can do is shell out an extra 20/pp to feed them.

    Also, I get that you want a casual beach wedding, but there are soooo many closer places you could do that. Lake Erie? If you're so keen and saving money and being casual, why don't you also try to make it cheap and casual for your guests?
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    In Response to Re: NEED HELP... Do you have to provide Sit Down Dinner?:
    [QUOTE]ou can't expect people to fly to FL, get hotels, rental cars, etc and not provide them with a meal at your reception. This is one instance where I believe you can't just stay away from dinner times and have it be fine.  They are spending a lot of money to attend and you really need to host them properly. I disagree. The guests decide, on their own, whether to travel, and meals are part of this. I live in a heavily Southern Baptist area, and they can't serve alcohol or dance, so almost all the weddings are in the mid-afternoon, with cake, punch, coffee and maybe some cocktail nuts or mints.  People travel from other cities and states, and aren't offended that there is no full meal.
    Posted by RetreadBride[/QUOTE]
    Are people really having Southern Baptist DW weddings in NC?

    I feel like there is a difference in attending a wedding that is local to the couple (or one of the families hem) and you happen to be from out-of-town.  And planning a full blown DW wedding. where 100% of the guest list is from OOT.
    I don't mind flying "home" for a wedding. I generally stay with family and tack on other events to make the trip worth while.   I feel like a DW is different.
    There are some people are kind of "expected" to attend (parents, siblings, etc).  Sure they don't have to attend, but depending on the family dynamics it's not worth not attending.  I can't imagine asking my parents, siblings and BF to a wedding that far away and give them cake and punch.  They could have just done that at home.






    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. 
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    In Response to Re: NEED HELP... Do you have to provide Sit Down Dinner?:
    [QUOTE]Are people really having Southern Baptist DW weddings in NC? Yes.  The Outer Banks are very popular for destination weddings. People choose to travel for destination weddings.  They decline if it's too much for them, or if they feel that the event isn't worth their time and expense.  It's not a difficult concept, for North Carolinians, at least, although I had the same experience as a Texan.
    Posted by RetreadBride[/QUOTE]

    Sorry, but I side-eye anyone who asks 100% of their guest to travel a long distance (Ie. OH to FL, not a few hours) for a few hour cake and punch reception.    






    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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