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Will people start eating if the Bride and Groom are not present? Sorry probably stupid post!

ScottishSarahScottishSarah member
First Anniversary First Answer 5 Love Its First Comment
edited January 2016 in Wedding Etiquette Forum
Hey all!  I was wondering if you could share your thoughts on the comments one of my bridesmaid's made on my menu. 

Her thoughts were that people will not want to eat until the bride and groom are seated, but my thought was to have food (anti-pasta family style) on the tables so people could start eating straight away while we are going through the receiving line.  I would hate to keep our guests waiting to eat!!!  

We are 100% wanting the receiving line to ensure we don't miss any guests when thanking them for coming.

She said that either staff (or signage) should suggest that people start eating straight away should they wish, but for me that seems a bit silly?  Surely if the food is on the tables then people will pick as and when they wish?  My friend thinks people will feel bad to start eating if we are not seated?  Would you?

Below is my menu and timeline...

Wedding ceremony 4pm till 4.45pm.

Veg crudités and dips during cocktail hour 4.45pm till 5.45pm served with Cocktails, Prosecco and craft beers.

Receiving line for 100 guests starting from 5.30pm till 6pm.

Antipasti on platters on the table served with Prosecco for guests to start on while waiting for all guests to be seated.  2 short toasts at this time once all guests are seated.

Anti Pasta, Bocconcini, chargrilled vegetables, salami, parma ham and mortadella, smoked salmon, sunblush tomatoes and olives, dressed rocket and mizuna, crusty breads with olive oil and balsamic family style.

6.30pm pasta course and main served.

Pasta course, open crab and crayfish ravioli, ribboned courgette and cream sauce.

OR option of pasta with a tomato and parmesan sauce.

Main, Chicken Saltimbocco, Madiera jus, sautéed potatoes with fresh garden herbs, 
caraway scented carrots wrapped in baby leek, roasted vine tomatoes.

OR option of 

Charred Aubergine, Courgette, Beef Tomato and Goat's Cheese Gateau, Wilted Spinach, Pesto and Aged Balsamic Syrup

(Dietary requirements catered for separately)

First set of band.

Wedding cake, Dessert TBC, cheese platter and fruit platter, coffee and tea, served buffet style.

Drinks, white and red wine served table side and other drinks such as rose wine, beer and mixed drinks available at the bar.  The menu will list these so guests who do not drink wine know that alternatives are available to them.

Sorry for such a long post!!!!  Do I need to tell people to start to eat??  Should I instead serve the anti pasta as part of cocktail hour?  

Many thanks in advance!
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Re: Will people start eating if the Bride and Groom are not present? Sorry probably stupid post!

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    I had 147 people and my receiving  line didn't last 30 minutes.  So you might save some time there.

    To answer you question:   I would start eating if there is a plates of food sitting at my table.     That said,  I know many people who will not.   It's not something I would stress over.






    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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    I would feel weird digging into the main course if the B&G were not seated, but something like an Antipasto plate would be fine. I would consider it as an appetizer.

    Is your cocktail hour and reception in different rooms? I'm also wondering how the flow is going to work. 
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    SP29 said:
    I would feel weird digging into the main course if the B&G were not seated, but something like an Antipasto plate would be fine. I would consider it as an appetizer.

    Is your cocktail hour and reception in different rooms? I'm also wondering how the flow is going to work. 
    PROBALLY STUCK IN THE BOX......

    Yes the reception will be in a separate area.  The cocktail area will be outside if a nice day, or in the ground floor rooms of the castle if too hot or cold outside.  The dinner and dancing will be in an nearby pavillion.  
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    jacques27 said:
    Why is your receiving line after the cocktail hour and what are people supposed to be doing during that time period if they are the first in line?  What are you doing during cocktail hour?

    I think some people would know to go ahead and eat, but that timeline makes it weird and if I'm person three in the receiving line and my friends or tablemates are persons 99 and 100 in the receiving line, I would feel funny starting without them.  It's not even a bride/groom thing - half the time during dinner I don't even know where they are or if they are eating, although it's usually common for them to be served first.  It's just a common courtesy wait until everyone at your table is seated and served to start eating thing.  I never start eating at restaurants until our entire table has been served - it's just basic manners and dining etiquette.

    Is the cocktail hour in an entirely separate room than everything else?  Otherwise, it would seem kind of awkward to be settled with putting down my purse and sweater, etc. and mingling to have to go line back up.  Is there a reason the receiving line isn't immediately after the ceremony as people are lining up to exit the ceremony space you receive them and they go into the cocktail hour where by design it's more of a laidback mingle atmosphere?
    This is a really good point, tablemates may not necessary seat at the same time so of course they will wait for each other.  The cocktail area is in a total separate area (as in a 1-2 minute walk) to the dinner space and our venue is quite large.  

    The receiving line was intended to start before the end of cocktail hour in order to reduce the time for guests to be able to seat and start eating.  I hate being hungry myself so while I don't wait to rush our guests, I thought it would be best to reduce the time till dinner somewhat.

    Thank you so much for the speedy replies!
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    Is there a reason you wouldn't do the receiving line right after the ceremony which would then flow into cocktail hour?  That seems to be a smoother transition with less room for confusion.  

    How will this 5:30 receiving line work?
    The reception is in a separate building on the estate to the cocktail hour so the idea was to welcome guests as they are entering the reception space.
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    ScottishSarahScottishSarah member
    First Anniversary First Answer 5 Love Its First Comment
    edited January 2016

    lyndausvi said:
    I had 147 people and my receiving  line didn't last 30 minutes.  So you might save some time there.

    To answer you question:   I would start eating if there is a plates of food sitting at my table.     That said,  I know many people who will not.   It's not something I would stress over.
    Many thanks for your answer, I put in 30 minutes to be on the safe side.  Hopefully it won't take so long??
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    I would also move the receiving line to the end of the ceremony or entrance to the cocktail hour.     I think it would be better flow than the entrance to dinner. The cocktail hour doesn't have a "start time" in terms that everyone needs to be in the room or at a table for eating and drinking to begin.

    My own receiving line doubled as the line to the bar :tongue: 






    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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    Thanks girls, I feel a bit silly to stress over it but I don't want anyone to be hangry.  Me and FI went to a wedding where we were SO hungry that I can't face that thought!
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    So all you will have on the table once people enter the reception room are anti-pasta platters?  So basically an appetizer?  I think if people sit down and start picking at the platter then it is no big deal.  I mean that is kind of the whole point of having food already at the table right?  Like when people have salads already at each guests seat so once the enter the room they can grab another drink (if necessary) sit down and munch on some salad and rolls.  So no, I don't think you will have to tell people they can start eating.  They will probably figure that out on their own and will probably not feel super uncomfortable to start eating what is basically an appetizer.

    Now if you told me that the entire meal was out on the table (like family style) then I would say people may be a bit hesitant to dig in when others are still entering the room and/or the B&G haven't sat down yet.

    But I do agree with Lynda about moving the receiving line to right after your ceremony.    I think the flow will be a lot smoother.

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    I think it's weird. No one wants to stand in line waiting to be received in the middle of a party, they just want to go sit down with their friends.
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    I also agree that the receiving line would be better going into the cocktail hour. Much smoother transition.
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    I have to say, I'm probably the dumbass that would sit there and ask other people, "Can we eat yet?" if something was on the table. In my circles, appetizers are passed or out on buffet tables, not sitting family style before a plated meal (except for just bread maybe). Also raised in the "don't eat until everyone at your table sits down" mindset, I'd sit there until everyone was done in the receiving line. 

    Heck, maybe as part of your receiving line you should say, "Enjoy the apps!" Otherwise, I vote menu card and/or sign at the table. 

    It's definitely not a silly question! I just happen to agree with your friend, OP. 
    ________________________________


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    I have to say, I'm probably the dumbass that would sit there and ask other people, "Can we eat yet?" if something was on the table. In my circles, appetizers are passed or out on buffet tables, not sitting family style before a plated meal (except for just bread maybe). Also raised in the "don't eat until everyone at your table sits down" mindset, I'd sit there until everyone was done in the receiving line. 

    Heck, maybe as part of your receiving line you should say, "Enjoy the apps!" Otherwise, I vote menu card and/or sign at the table. 

    It's definitely not a silly question! I just happen to agree with your friend, OP. 
    This is how I was raised too. If they were passed apps, it would be one thing, but if I got to my table first, I would most definitely wait for everyone to arrive to begin eating (and even then, I would hesitate, not knowing whether these were appetizers or part of dinner). I agree that a little card on the table telling people to dig in would not hurt, just to be safe.
    BabyFruit Ticker
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    Hum, mixed options?  Something to think about.  I guess worst come to worst people not starting the apps will only delay diner very slightly.  Maybe I'm overthinking it??    

    We did think about the recieveing line stright from the ceremony but space wise it doesn't flow so well in our venue.  I think if we had a tradditional church if would work much better.

    If we are outdoors for the ceremony/cocktail hour then people will be a bit scattered, and if we are indoors the castle has VERY narrow and dark passageways between rooms (It's a 600 year old Scottish castle) so I don't think there is a place where the line up will be comfortable for guests.  

    The Pavillion however has a built in 'reception' room with sofas and a place for our table plan, cake etc so my reasoning was that receiving people (casually) as they go in for dinner would work best.  1st as they will all have to pass through that room so we won't miss anyone, 2nd there is lots of space and 3rd they can look for their seat or sign the guest book if there is a 'queue' to talk to us and they want to wait.  We are planning on having our wedding planner be the 3rd person in the receieving line to help guests find their seats.  Here is a map of our reception space and a picture of the venue.  

    Thanks again to everyone who answered, I really trust the opinions of the ladies on this forum. 

    Pic of the venue, ceremony and cocktail hour indoors in the castle or on the lawns if a nice day.  Dinner and dancing in the Pavillion.

     
    Reception room of Pavillion.



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    now that I look at your venue layout.  Having the receiving ling at the reception would be fine.

    I still do not think it will take 30 minutes.  So the most people will wait for a full table is 15-20 minutes. That is if they plan on waiting for a full table to eat.  Not horrible in my opinion.






    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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    lyndausvi said:
    now that I look at your venue layout.  Having the receiving ling at the reception would be fine.

    I still do not think it will take 30 minutes.  So the most people will wait for a full table is 15-20 minutes. That is if they plan on waiting for a full table to eat.  Not horrible in my opinion.

    SIB...................................................................

    Thanks Lynda xx
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    While it has happened, it's very rare we get a couple come back and say our advice ruined their wedding.    If anything we get lurkers thanking us for our advice. 

    Taking care of your guests enhances your guest's experiences.  Which in turn, raises your status as an awesome host.   Which makes your wedding more awesome.










    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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    lyndausvi said:

    While it has happened, it's very rare we get a couple come back and say our advice ruined their wedding.    If anything we get lurkers thanking us for our advice. 

    Taking care of your guests enhances your guest's experiences.  Which in turn, raises your status as an awesome host.   Which makes your wedding more awesome.




    Wow, really? Was there a recent (past year) post about the advice here ruining a wedding?

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • Options
    While it has happened, it's very rare we get a couple come back and say our advice ruined their wedding.    If anything we get lurkers thanking us for our advice. 

    Taking care of your guests enhances your guest's experiences.  Which in turn, raises your status as an awesome host.   Which makes your wedding more awesome.




    Wow, really? Was there a recent (past year) post about the advice here ruining a wedding?
    I vaguely remember something in the last year or so about that. I think it was a post her on E., but I don't remember the details. I bet searching for a thread "You all ruined my wedding" would lead to something...
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    You're getting married in Fingask castle?  FI and I went to a performance there when we were in the UK a couple of years ago.  It's such a beautiful place!  Your wedding will be gorgeous!
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    While it has happened, it's very rare we get a couple come back and say our advice ruined their wedding.    If anything we get lurkers thanking us for our advice. 

    Taking care of your guests enhances your guest's experiences.  Which in turn, raises your status as an awesome host.   Which makes your wedding more awesome.




    Wow, really? Was there a recent (past year) post about the advice here ruining a wedding?
    I vaguely remember something in the last year or so about that. I think it was a post her on E., but I don't remember the details. I bet searching for a thread "You all ruined my wedding" would lead to something...
    Maybe not the same thread you are thinking of but there was a post titled "Lost a friend for following etiquette" last year. She didn't lose a friend for following etiquette. What happened was, she didn't invite a friend dress shopping because the friend wasn't invited to the wedding and the friend got upset and didn't want to be friends with OP anymore. She clearly did not lose the friendship because she followed etiquette.
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    RlovesR said:

    You're getting married in Fingask castle?  FI and I went to a performance there when we were in the UK a couple of years ago.  It's such a beautiful place!  Your wedding will be gorgeous!

    Thank you so much! It's a really special place and you won't believe how little it costs to hire. They are so flexible as well but they are also slightly mad so I just fell in love with the place. You can have any caterer you want and they will stock the bar with anything you like. We have booked the whole estate for 4 days so my family and bridesmaids can have a mini break with us in their cottages.
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