Texas-Dallas and Ft. Worth

Reception Questions

Hey Ladies! I had a few etiquette questions about the reception. Any thoughts and opinions are always appreciated. :)

When it comes to the cocktail hour (basically the time the guests are waiting for the wedding party to arrive), do you feed the guests hors d'oeuvres. Does that food get eaten or wasted? Also, do you leave them out of the reception area until the wedding party arrives? We are having our reception at hickory street annex but our ceremony at a church. So the guests will arrive back to the reception before us. We have to decide whether to provide drinks/snacks and leave them downstairs until we arrive or go ahead and let them go upstairs. We will be serving a buffet for dinner. 

When it comes to kiddos...we are so unsure to if you say anything at all on the invite. Is it just assumed adults only. We have several family and friends who have mentioned they want to allow their kids to come (in these cases their kids are 13-15 years old and we don't mind. Our son will obviously be there and he will be 14). But we don't want to blow our guest list and budget out of the water when we have limited space and budget. Any thoughts on this?

HSA is BYOB. Have any of you served Liquor and Beer or is it easier to do beer and wine only? We also considered Beer and Wine only for all wedding guests and liquor for wedding party.....All depends on cost. 

Thanks for your thoughts! 

Re: Reception Questions

  • fallbride1109fallbride1109 member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited September 2013

    When it comes to the cocktail hour (basically the time the guests are waiting for the wedding party to arrive), do you feed the guests hors d'oeuvres.

    Yes by all means have something for your guests while they are waiting for you to arrive and the reception to begin.  This is the purpose of a cocktail hour.  It's not exactly a cocktail hour otherwise.  Every morsel will be eaten, trust me.

    Also, do you leave them out of the reception area until the wedding party arrives?

    This would be a question for the venue.  Normally there is a designated space other than the reception area for cocktail hour.

    When it comes to kiddos...we are so unsure to if you say anything at all on the invite. Is it just assumed adults only.

    Never assume.  While I don't believe it's acceptable to list this on the invitation, I did list it on my website and also spread the word by word of mouth.  Also, carefully address your invitations to the adults of the households only, omitting things like "and family." Anyone 18 or over gets a separate invitation addressed to them, even if they live with their parents. That should get the point across hopefully.  If they write their kids in on the RSVP, a phone call will be in order.  You can also do things like list on your RSVP cards "2 seats are reserved in your honor," etc.

    We also considered Beer and Wine only for all wedding guests and liquor for wedding party.

    This is a no-no.  If you can't afford liquor for all your guests, don't have it.  Many brides do beer and wine, that is perfectly acceptable.  Another compromise is to have beer/wine/champagne or do beer/wine and a signature cocktail.  HTH.

     

    professorscience
  • I agree with everything Steph said, and piggyback on the last point. If someone in your wedding party is walking around the reception with something that is clearly not beer or wine, someone may innocently ask, 'Oh, where can I go grab one of those??', putting the WP in an uncomfortable situation. We had beer, wine, and a signature vodka cocktail. I have been to plenty of weddings with just beer and wine, and it has NEVER disappointed me. You will be hard-pressed to find anyone that drinks that couldn't find something to enjoy among a selection of 3-5 beers and 3-5 types of wine.
  • I agree with all of the above.

    I've heard some brides say they don't want to miss cocktail hour, but as Steph said, the purpose of cocktail hour is to entertain/feed your guests while you are finishing your pictures.  You can ask your caterer/coordinator/venue to set aside some of the hors d'oeurves so that you and your H can have some -- I was pretty sad that I didn't get to taste any of the ones we'd chosen.

    One of the best ways to cut costs is through your alcohol budget.  We wanted a full bar, but it just didn't work out.  We went with beer and wine, and everyone got plenty drunk.  =)
    Anniversary

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  • We are skipping the cocktail hour all together - neither of us were dead set on having to see the room before everyone else so we are going to go ahead and have the reception space open.

    Hors d'ouevres, stations and bar will be all open & ready for people to go ahead and eat while they wait for us to get there.  Our reception venue said they would pull together some small plates with a little bit of everything we will have available, they will put us & our bridal party in a side room when we get there after pictures to eat & sit for a minute before being introduced.

    We were stressed about cocktail hour & separate food/drinks so we just nixed it. Good luck with everything!!

  • We did a first look and took almost all of the picture beforehand, except extended family pics. And because our ceremony and reception were in the same place, we just opened up the buffet dinner for everyone as soon as the ceremony was over. So we didn't do a traditional 'cocktail hour', but it wouldn't have really made sense for us.
  • Our cocktail hour was held in the same space as our reception--I don't think there is anything wrong with allowing your guests into that area before your arrival if it will be long before the WP arrives. It would probably depend on the ability of the venue to continue hors d'oeuvres service if guests were to relocate to the reception portion of the venue. Otherwise, they could just keep everyone downstairs then make an announcement for guests to make their way upstairs a few minutes prior to your entrance.

     Every bit of the food we ordered for the cocktail hour was eaten, and that was with the venue holding back a good portion for the entire wedding party. I think that if the WP arrival will lag more than 15 minutes, you really should provide something small for your guests to nosh on.

    Stephie gave great advice re: listing anything on the invite about 'no children'. You may have people RSVP with a child and you or your FI will need to contact those guests directly by phone to let them know that unfortunately the invitation was only for the parents and not the child. Not a fun conversation, but necessary in some cases.

    Our venue allowed BYOB alcohol, and we decided on 2 kegs (1 Miller Lt and 1 Shiner Bock) which were roughly $70 each and Bota box wine--we had 4 varieties, 2 boxes of each (1 box is the equivalent of 4 bottles per box), so on 8 boxes we spent a little over $100. I got them at Tom Thumb where they discount 10% if you buy 6 or more bottles, which this qualified for. We had 130 guests, and this was more than enough. Once you start talking about liquor, it really adds up when you have to figure in mixers and fruit unless you can find a TABC bartender that supplies all of that for an extra cost. Be sure that if you choose to uppgrade any of the choices that they are available to all guests and not a select few. If you want to treat your WP to a special liquor or champagne, maybe do that in the limo from the church to the reception venue.

     

    professorscience
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