Reception Ideas

Lunch Time Meal Ideas

mrsbananymrsbanany member
100 Comments 100 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
edited June 2014 in Reception Ideas
We are getting married next August at a beach club on Cape Cod.  Our venue is pretty expensive so in order to save money we are having a Saturday lunch reception however, the meal prices are still pretty hefty - there is no difference between lunch and dinner pricing.  Since it is lunch time we want to have lighter food, still enough to leave guests full and happy, but not as much as the dinner portion.  We are also having an after party at my summer house which will have even more food.  Do you have any ideas that might work to serve some lighter food to help cut costs?  We were thinking about skipping passed apps and just having two stations for cocktail hour (a cheese and pizza station) but we are still a little unsure of what to do for the meal. Any ideas are much appreciated! 

ETA: made the title a little more specific

Re: Lunch Time Meal Ideas

  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Sorry, but if it is during a meal time, you have to serve enough volume of food to constitute a meal. If you only have 2 stations, the queues will be out of control.  I think you should change venues to something more affordable or shift your time to non-meal. Remember, if people are starving, they are going to leave early to get food. Which means they won't make it to your after party. I love casual lunch/brunch weddings, but if I went to a fancy club and only got served pizza, I would be side eyeing the priorities.  Plus, people ALWAYS eat more than you think at light food receptions, especially at a meal time. Food and drinks should be the main priority of the reception, not the venue.

    Here are a few ideas of where you can go from here:
    - See if you can shift it to a brunch wedding instead of lunch. Start your ceremony at 10:30/11ish. Sometimes breakfast/brunch is cheaper
    - Change venues so you can afford a meal
    - Shift your ceremony to 2pm and host afternoon tea (cake, punch, scones, finger sandwiches, petit fours, coffee, tea etc) from 3-5 and then back to your house for a casual afterparty. You would have to have enough food at the afterparty for dinner, but see if you could have a BBQ going, that would be inexpensive.
    - Have a dry wedding or beer and wine only hosted and use the open bar money for more food such as a pasta station (no cash bar option!). 

    Things that are NOT an option:
    - Cash Bar
    - Not enough food for a meal time reception.

    Everyone remembers the weddings where there wasn't enough food for the wrong reasons. No one leaves a wedding hungry thinking "but at least the venue was pretty". When I'm starving, even the inside of a McDonalds looks damn good. 

  • Hate to be the downer, but here is the problem that I have seen.  When a couple makes themselves "venue poor" the rest of the event comes off looking cheap, not budget, but out and out cheap.  Have you ever seen 20, or more, adults charge a food station and then not get a decent amount of food?  It gets ugly. If you are not fully committed to the venue, try to think of a place that will allow for a more balanced budget, and a place that does not say "Well, they went over their heads trying to look fancy and the rest just fell flat." If you have signed the contracts, then try to have filling foods at the stations like an antipasto salad that incorporates sliced meats and cheeses with the vegetables.  Also, mashed potato bars are still happening and they are very filling as are pasta bars.  Pizza is cute, but not very filling.
  • @londonlisa and @lauderdalepink -  OP did say she was having a meal.   She just doesn't know what to serve that is lunch appropriate. 

    She said the cheese and pizza stations were for cocktail hour, and needed help figuring out a lunch time meal choice.

    "We were thinking about skipping passed apps and just having two stations for cocktail hour (a cheese and pizza station) but we are still a little unsure of what to do for the meal. Any ideas are much appreciated! "

    OP - what time is your wedding?   Would brunch options make sense?  

     

    cupcait927japrincess24
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited June 2014
    @Queerfemme, yes, I understood that she did say pizza, but I was concerned about how she kept saying light food. 

    OP- are you doing a meal in addition to the stations, or are you looking for more light things to add to the stations?

    I agree brunch may be a better option here. 
  • tammym1001tammym1001 Akron, Ohio member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    @Queerfemme, yes, I understood that she did say pizza, but I was concerned about how she kept saying light food. 

    OP- are you doing a meal in addition to the stations, or are you looking for more light things to add to the stations?

    I agree brunch may be a better option here. 
    OP already said she was doing a meal and the pizza and cheese stations were for cocktail hour. That is what @queerfemme also was pointing out. OP is having a meal in addition to cocktail hour!!!!

    OP - I think that for a lunch reception having something lighter is perfectly fine. In this case I would be ok with salads and maybe some fancy sandwiches or if you wanted to serve something hot you could go with a pasta or even soup (although I don't know how people feel about that in August).

    I think what you are offering for your cocktail hour sounds perfectly fine since you are having a meal right after.
    image
    japrincess24
  • Clam bake! Or sandwiches.
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Ok, thanks, I must have misunderstood. If the meal is in addition, maybe do something regional, like clam chowder, crab cakes etc. As long as "lighter" doesn't equate to less food!
  • Ok, thanks, I must have misunderstood. If the meal is in addition, maybe do something regional, like clam chowder, crab cakes etc. As long as "lighter" doesn't equate to less food!


    Yeah, I read this part of the post "but we are still a little unsure of what to do for the meal" as, we still need to figure out what to serve for lunch, but not that they weren't serving it at all.

    I usually think of lunch as a lighter meal. A sandwich, soups, pasta salads, green salads, etc.  And dinner as more formal, heavier hot meals, with a meat and a couple of sides.

     

    LondonLisa
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    What kind of options does the venue provide?

    I think sandwiches, soups and salads would be fine.   Maybe an airline chicken dish or a pasta dish if you want something hot..   It's hard to say without knowing what options and pricing from the venue. 






    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. 
  • Our reception is from 11:00-4:00, we haven't worked out the ceremony time yet but I am assuming it will be around 9:00-9:30ish.  So I think with that timing while we could do brunch, a lunch might be more appropriate since it goes until 4.  We are definitely having a meal, we just don't know what kind.  Lighter doesn't mean less food it just means not the filet mignon, mashed potatoes, and hearty veggies.  Since our ceremony is so early we are also thinking about getting coffee and pastries for the church (but that also makes me kind of nervous incase people spill coffee on their nice clothes)

    The venue offers very traditional wedding food (salmon, chicken, lobster, filet and combo plates). However, our coordinator is amazing and has been working constantly to make it fit our budget and still make sure that everyone is fed and happy.  She said we can be creative with the menu since we are doing lunch but we can also still serve the dinner meals. I think we could do a chicken or a salmon dinner plate and still get away with it being "light" for lunch but I also want to kind of gauge what other options could be as well.  

    I like the idea of a clambake but FI hates sea food.   If we did sandwiches, what kind would we do, what would we serve with it and how would it be served? I would think buffet style.  

    Also a question on the bar.  We are still going back and forth between a beer and wine and a full bar.  If we did beer and wine but had a signature cocktail would that be bad? I feel like people might get bugged if we offered only one cocktail and it was something they didn't like.   
  • I'm not sure what the point of asking us is. Ask your venue what the menu options are and pick cheaper ones. If it's a pretty expensive beach club I doubt they're going to be willing to serve a sandwich buffet.
  • AprilH81AprilH81 Columbus, OH member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    I would do the ceremony at 10:30 or 11:00 and then go into a "cocktail hour" with fruit, cheese and veggies, then do brunch foods, but hearty enough for a full meal.  French toast, bacon, sausage, quiche, etc.
    photo composite_14153800476219.jpg
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Honestly I think the best course of action is to ask to speak to the chef and see what he can provide at your budget.  You can guide him by saying you are looking for a brunch or light lunch, etc   He will know food costs to be able to create a menu.   Sales managers rarely know what is possible outside of the fixed menus the chef created for them.

    source - DH is a chef and meets with clients all the time to determine menus that fit into budgets.






    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. 
    mrsbananytheartistformerlyknownas
  • atlastmrsgatlastmrsg member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited June 2014
    Cheese and pizza? Sounds like a total bummer, especially for vegans or people like me who avoid dairy. How about brunch miniatures? Mini sausage biscuits with sage garnish, mini eggs benedict, mint and fruit skewers, mimosas, etc. Pizza at a fancy beach club sounds sad for anything other than a post-party snack at an evening wedding. Also, old people or people with kids at home/hotels with sitters may not come to after party, even if better food is promised. So don't bank on the hungry people waiting for food at a second event. Make the first event their adequate brunch/lunch.
  • tammym1001tammym1001 Akron, Ohio member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    I'm not sure what the point of asking us is. Ask your venue what the menu options are and pick cheaper ones. If it's a pretty expensive beach club I doubt they're going to be willing to serve a sandwich buffet.
    Because this is a forum to ask questions. 

    OP wanted opinions on what kinds of things would be good  for lunch so that's why she asked. Im sure the beach club has options, but she wanted to know what people would like.
    image
  • She didn't ask what people like to eat for lunch. She asked what are lighter options to lower her cost. The only people who can answer that work for her venue.
  • theartistformerlyknownastheartistformerlyknownas peaced out. member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers First Anniversary
    You do seem to contradict yourself between hoping lighter foods will save money, and saying lunch and dinner are the same price. Do you mean a steak is the same price whether it's noon or 6? Well...of course it would be.

    Agree you need to work with the chef on the best options that they're experienced in preparing. Thought starters for summer lunches, though...
    Chicken salad on croissants (just label whether made with mayo or MW as it's divisive)
    Smoked or grilled salmon
    Grilled vegetable skewers
    Sliders with gourmet toppings
    Gazpacho
    Caprese or antipasto salad

    Also, please go easy on the cheese for cocktail hour. As much as I love it, I wouldn't do both stations cheese-based. I'd trade one out for a fruit or vegetable based option, or maybe shrimp cocktail.

    image
    image
  • If her budget is pizza, I don't think wants to spend money on shrimp cocktails and salmon.  Also, I'd laugh if I saw a label on chicken salad based on whether it contained Miracle Whip.  If she does chicken salad sandwiches, people can take a bite for themselves and decide whether to eat the rest.
  • The cheese station is not just a pile of cheese, it's cheese, fruit, veggies, and a raw bar so it is not so heavily cheese based. We would not have chosen the pizza one if the other one was just cheese, we just felt that with the other options it made more sense to have the pizza station if we were serving lighter food for the main meal.   

    I'm feeling a lot of budget shaming going on here. Obviously I would not choose a venue that is out of budget. The lunch time option made this venue fit easily in budget I am just trying to gauge what kind of food should be served based on guest preferences.  
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited June 2014
    mrsbanany said:
    The cheese station is not just a pile of cheese, it's cheese, fruit, veggies, and a raw bar so it is not so heavily cheese based. We would not have chosen the pizza one if the other one was just cheese, we just felt that with the other options it made more sense to have the pizza station if we were serving lighter food for the main meal.   

    I'm feeling a lot of budget shaming going on here. Obviously I would not choose a venue that is out of budget. The lunch time option made this venue fit easily in budget I am just trying to gauge what kind of food should be served based on guest preferences.  
    No one is budget shaming, the first post wasn't worded very clearly. You said lunch and dinner were the same price and your venue was expensive. Please could you clarify: Does the venue do a cheaper lunch option? Are you thinking of doing more stations and having it cocktail style? Is a buffet an option? It is really hard to suggest what to do without knowing some specifics about the venue and what exactly CAN be done. Do you have to use the in house caterer? Have you negotiated with them about options?

    I mean, everyone loves taco trucks and they are inexpensive but it doesn't mean your country club has one parked out back for general use!
    theartistformerlyknownas
  • mrsbananymrsbanany member
    100 Comments 100 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited June 2014
    mrsbanany said:
    The cheese station is not just a pile of cheese, it's cheese, fruit, veggies, and a raw bar so it is not so heavily cheese based. We would not have chosen the pizza one if the other one was just cheese, we just felt that with the other options it made more sense to have the pizza station if we were serving lighter food for the main meal.   

    I'm feeling a lot of budget shaming going on here. Obviously I would not choose a venue that is out of budget. The lunch time option made this venue fit easily in budget I am just trying to gauge what kind of food should be served based on guest preferences.  
    No one is budget shaming, the first post wasn't worded very clearly. You said lunch and dinner were the same price and your venue was expensive. Please could you clarify: Does the venue do a cheaper lunch option? Are you thinking of doing more stations and having it cocktail style? Is a buffet an option? It is really hard to suggest what to do without knowing some specifics about the venue and what exactly CAN be done. Do you have to use the in house caterer? Have you negotiated with them about options?

    I mean, everyone loves taco trucks and they are inexpensive but it doesn't mean your country club has one parked out back for general use!
    Cheaper lunch option? On the regular menus, no. If we want the filet it is the same price and it is the same portion which I think might be too big for a lunch reception.  But we were told that we can be creative with what we want to offer and use the in house caterer.

    We can have a stationed dinner, no buffet. 

    We have a meeting with them next week to discuss this but I want to be prepared with some ideas when I go into it which is why I want to know what people would like for lunch. 

    ETA: As far as I am aware, anything can be done so it is not so people do not really need to know what is an option because it seems like we can come with any suggestion and they can work with it.
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Ok, thanks- so are you asking for more stations to be added to the Pizza and Cheese or are you asking for options for a sit down meal?
  • Sit down meal options. Those would be the options for cocktail hour. 
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Ok, well I always think local specialties are great, so is there anything regional that could be dressed up? You mentioned cape cod, so I'm just going with general ideas and what was previously said:

    - Clam chowder, nice salad, finger sandwiches

    - Crabcakes and clams

    - lobster rolls

    - fish and chips

    Or go completely different and serve something family style instead of individual plates. A good one for this is Paella. You could also make cocktail hour into tapas and serve Sangria.

    mrsbananychibiyui
  • Fairyjen1Fairyjen1 member
    250 Love Its 100 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited June 2014
           I think beer, wine and a signature drink are just fine for a lunch wedding (or any wedding for that matter). I am having a lunch wedding and I am hosting only beer, wine and soda (coffee, tea and water are included in the package) so you are doing more than me having a signature drink! However, my wedding is immediate family only and I know no one there is going to want anything harder than wine or beer at lunchtime. 
  • lc07lc07 Sunny Southern California member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    mrsbanany said:
    Our reception is from 11:00-4:00, we haven't worked out the ceremony time yet but I am assuming it will be around 9:00-9:30ish.  So I think with that timing while we could do brunch, a lunch might be more appropriate since it goes until 4.  We are definitely having a meal, we just don't know what kind.  Lighter doesn't mean less food it just means not the filet mignon, mashed potatoes, and hearty veggies.  Since our ceremony is so early we are also thinking about getting coffee and pastries for the church (but that also makes me kind of nervous incase people spill coffee on their nice clothes)

    The venue offers very traditional wedding food (salmon, chicken, lobster, filet and combo plates). However, our coordinator is amazing and has been working constantly to make it fit our budget and still make sure that everyone is fed and happy.  She said we can be creative with the menu since we are doing lunch but we can also still serve the dinner meals. I think we could do a chicken or a salmon dinner plate and still get away with it being "light" for lunch but I also want to kind of gauge what other options could be as well.  

    I like the idea of a clambake but FI hates sea food.   If we did sandwiches, what kind would we do, what would we serve with it and how would it be served? I would think buffet style.  

    Also a question on the bar.  We are still going back and forth between a beer and wine and a full bar.  If we did beer and wine but had a signature cocktail would that be bad? I feel like people might get bugged if we offered only one cocktail and it was something they didn't like.   
    PPs have you covered. I, too, was confused at first about the meals costing the same no matter the time of day but trying to stay on a budget. I now understand that they are willing to be flexible with what they serve and can potentially reduce the cost based on that. I'd ask them for suggestions. It might be easier for us to help once we have choices given to you from your venue.

    Also, don't worry about people spilling on their clothes. People will appreciate refreshments and could spill on their clothes at any time of day, potentially. It's no reason not to serve people.
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