Wedding Etiquette Forum

Cake and Punch Reception

Me and FH have settled on a sweet, and simple cake and punch reception. We have no issue with this. Although we do have people coming in from out of town. Some are family that are a few hours away, and 2 are friends that are out of state. My parents are very concerned about not having any food (my grandpa is diabetic, although he knows how to deal with it), which I understand but I have never wanted a sit down dinner. IMO as long as I let the guests know in the invitation that it will be a Cake and Punch Reception, I see no real problems.

Thoughts?
"Let me give you some advice. Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." - Tyrion Lannister
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Re: Cake and Punch Reception

  • We were planning on having the ceremony from 1-1:30 pm. The reception is held at the same place as the ceremony, so the reception would be immediately after.

    Also, everything I've ever seen has said that you should include something along the lines of "Please join us for blah blah blah after the ceremony" Usually dinner and drinks, drinks and dancing, etc. Is this not true??
    "Let me give you some advice. Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." - Tyrion Lannister
  • I think you can just let people know by word of mouth that there won't be a meal, so they can plan accordingly - eating before, bringing a snack if they need it, etc.
    holyguacamole79OurWildKingdom
  • What if the ceremony was 1:30-2 with the reception starting approx 2-2:15? We also don't want to serve any alcohol (MAYBE a champagne toast) and no dancing, just fun background music.
    "Let me give you some advice. Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." - Tyrion Lannister
  • edited June 2016
    Meat and cheese platter with crackers, veggie tray, bowl of mixed nuts (if there aren't allergy concerns) or a snack mix.

    I had originally thought of that, and I don't mind getting some food trays from HEB (grocery store that will also be doing my flowers and maybe my cake). However FH has a really big issue with giving people grocery store platters. He feels that if we have food at all, we need to have real food and not just platters of finger foods.

    Non-sweet beverage options like tea, coffee, a diet soda or sugar-free lemonade/iced tea.

    That one I don't really mind at all, I just don't know how to do a coffee bar without spending big bucks or having to hire someone to make the coffee.
    "Let me give you some advice. Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." - Tyrion Lannister
    OurWildKingdom
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited June 2016
    Meat and cheese platter with crackers, veggie tray, bowl of mixed nuts (if there aren't allergy concerns) or a snack mix.

    I had originally thought of that, and I don't mind getting some food trays from HEB (grocery store that will also be doing my flowers and maybe my cake). However FH has a really big issue with giving people grocery store platters. He feels that if we have food at all, we need to have real food and not just platters of finger foods.

    Non-sweet beverage options like tea, coffee, a diet soda or sugar-free lemonade/iced tea.

    That one I don't really mind at all, I just don't know how to do a coffee bar without spending big bucks or having to hire someone to make the coffee.
    You can rent a coffee urn for $25 max (at least around here). Set it up and plug it in about an hour or 90 minutes before your reception (depending on how big the urn is; typically it's 45 seconds to a minute per cup) and you're golden. You might even be able to borrow a coffee urn from a church or other group. Get a couple of thermal pitchers (typically they hold about a quart) for cream/milk. Don't forget a nondairy option for anyone who is lactose intolerant or vegan.
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers

    Meat and cheese platter with crackers, veggie tray, bowl of mixed nuts (if there aren't allergy concerns) or a snack mix.


    SITB

    We're doing finger sandwiches; fruit, cheese, and vegetable trays; and a couple of deli and specialty trays for our guests who need gluten-free and lower carb options.
    MairePoppyCMGragain
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited June 2016
    Nothing wrong with a cake and punch reception!

    I would move your ceremony until 2pm, start your reception at 2:30, and it can end between 4-5 pm.

    I would add in a couple of options- water, coffee and tea. I would get some simple trays- cheese/crackers, fruit/veggies, even snack food like chips, popcorn or a mix. I would stress to FH it is meant to be a snack, something to nibble on. If you have the budget, you could get something catered, like pin-wheel sandwiches and the like, but that is not necessary.

    As for what you state on your invitation- technically no, you should not list what kind of reception you are having. The time of the event should give this detail and your guests should graciously accept whatever you offer. What you write is "Reception to follow" at the bottom under where you have listed the location/address of your ceremony site. I would spread via word of mouth that you are having a cake and punch reception. If you have some extra snacks and sugar-free drinks, you won't need to worry about issues such as diabetics. (Personally though, I think putting "Cake and punch reception to follow" is a victim-less crime).

    P.S. If you *did* want something catered, you can of course go the restaurant route, or you can look at organizations such as Knights of Columbus, Rotary clubs, or even some church groups provide low cost catering where they provide food, drink and the needed utensils to go with it (such as the coffee/ tea urn).
    OurWildKingdomCMGragainPrettyGirlLost
  • ei34ei34 member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I've seen "cocktails at half-past six in the evening, dinner and dancing at eight" (or something along those lines) included in my invitation.  Not on the invitation itself, but on the reception card or one of the many other cards that come in the big envelope.  So I agree with @SP29 that mentioning "Cake and punch" wouldn't be hurting anyone.
    Ditto PP about having a tiny something other than actual cake and punch. Fruit/veggie platters, wraps, hummus, etc. Especially if you have some family a few hours away, and friends from out of state, I'm not sure when they'd have the chance to eat a proper lunch.
    holyguacamole79Vivandiere8PrettyGirlLost
  • I think it can be crowd dependent.   In my family/circle a meal is expected.  My wedding was at 2 PM and the reception started at 4 with a full meal.   
    MesmrEweMairePoppylc07
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    What if the ceremony was 1:30-2 with the reception starting approx 2-2:15? We also don't want to serve any alcohol (MAYBE a champagne toast) and no dancing, just fun background music.
    A cake and punch reception starting around 2 - 2:15pm will be very appropriate.
    Knottie1459970861SP29
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Just as an aside, OP, if you want to have a dry wedding that is perfectly acceptable, however I'd suggest having something non alchoholic for toasts. Having a champagne toast and then saying no more seems wrong to me and confusing for guests. If don't want any alcohol don't have any at all.
    A sparkling grape juice or cider would be nice and not terribly expensive.
    Knottie1459970861spockforprezscrunchythiefSP29
  • Honestly, I have never received a wedding invitation that didn't list the type of reception that was happening after the wedding. We included that cocktails and dinner was happening immediately after the ceremony because everything is at one venue and also because we wanted to hint that there would be no dancing so people know it wasn't going to be a late evening.

    Vivandiere8[Deleted User]AroundTheBlock
  • ernursej said:

    Honestly, I have never received a wedding invitation that didn't list the type of reception that was happening after the wedding. We included that cocktails and dinner was happening immediately after the ceremony because everything is at one venue and also because we wanted to hint that there would be no dancing so people know it wasn't going to be a late evening.


    I'm confused about this as well. Over two years ago I was on here all the time when preparing for my wedding, combed every thread about etiquette, saw things like "Don't tell your guests what to wear on your invitation". But... I never saw "don't put dinner and dancing to follow" or something along those lines.

    Now as others mentioned I also didn't put this on the actual invitation, but I did have in on a separate insert.

    Right now I'm wracking my brain trying to figure out how this could possibly be rude. Any other kind of invitation would include such a thing wouldn't it, why not a wedding? Why would there be this weird, random wedding etiquette that people "Should just know by the time of day". Especially when so many people have complained on here about being blinded sided by showing up starving only to find it is a cake and punch reception. Whatever time of day you try to plan a wedding there will always be preparing, driving, and ceremony to push the reception to a meal time in one form or another. Also since the invitation says "ceremony" regardless of weather is a five minute exchange of vows to a full blown Catholic mass... it can be hard to tell exactly what time of day the reception will be.

    Also as Ernursej said... I have never been to a wedding that didn't include this. Personally I would hate it if I was left wondering if I should eat ahead of time or not. But can someone explain the thought process behind why it would be rude?
    image
    Knottie1459970861MairePoppy[Deleted User]
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited June 2016
    @Vivandiere8   I've received wedding invitations that have 'dinner and dancing to follow,' and wasn't the least bit offended. 

    The explanation that I've seen is that it's rude because it implies the guests are unduly interested in what they'll get out of the situation. Or, the hosts are showing off.
                       
  • Yeah, I can't really understand how it would be seen as rude still. I don't have a reception insert and I just sent my invitation to the printer today and it says "dinner immediately following " on the bottom. Putting myself in guests' shoes and thinking of when I've been a guest it is very much appreciated to have that little bit of information. I have been a starving guest before unfortunately. I guess people can choose what to do. This is a case where I'd prefer not following etiquette.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    [Deleted User]Vivandiere8
  • I think if your FI doesn't like grocery store platters then you can get the platter catered.  But I'm going to echo the others that even a cake and punch reception should have a little extra non cake something or I think you can expect the reception to last a half an hour. 
    MairePoppySP29PrettyGirlLostlc07
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I think OP's gotten great advice so far. I think everyone who said not to put reception details on the invite are correct, as an invite should be Who/What/When/Why. People receive a suite of information on weddings these days. Having a separate informational card in the envelope is really helpful. We had our RSVP cards indicate a meal selection, so dinner should have been obvious. I also put a timeline on my wedding website (ceremony at 6pm, cocktail hour at 6:30pm, dinner at 7:30pm) knowing that people would want to plan accordingly. 
    ________________________________


    Knottie1452098987InLoveInQueenscharlotte989875MesmrEwe
  • For the most part, the quality of the actual food from a grocery vs. your average caterer is pretty similar.  I know I can't tell the difference.  I might invest in some nicer platters if you're worried, but I'd rather have food that's less fancy than no food. 

    We had a very simple looking buffet set up-plastic utensils and plates, standard sterno set up, plastic tablecloths on the buffet line.  We had so, so many compliments on the food.  No one mentioned the set upt stuff.
    MesmrEwemadamerwinbadbnagdwaylc07
  • edited June 2016
    OP, we're having a cake/punch reception with heavy apps for our wedding on Saturday.  

    I listed on our reception card that we were having a cake & punch reception (with heavy apps) and have been able to spread by word of mouth how we're having sandwiches, meats/cheeses, fruits/veggies, water/tea/lemonade and of course, yummy cake.  It's been really received so far by wedding guests and family.  We are having a 2pm ceremony with the reception beginning around 2:45 once ceremony is over.  
    MesmrEweshort+sassyTrixieJess
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited June 2016
    I think OP's gotten great advice so far. I think everyone who said not to put reception details on the invite are correct, as an invite should be Who/What/When/Why. People receive a suite of information on weddings these days. Having a separate informational card in the envelope is really helpful. We had our RSVP cards indicate a meal selection, so dinner should have been obvious. I also put a timeline on my wedding website (ceremony at 6pm, cocktail hour at 6:30pm, dinner at 7:30pm) knowing that people would want to plan accordingly. 
    Whoops!  Sorry, but an invitation should tell the guest who (bride, groom and hosts0, what (wedding), when and where - not why!  The why opens the door for those icky, sweetie poems that I really hate to see on a wedding invitation.  People who are invited to a wedding already assume that you love each other.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    MesmrEwe
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited June 2016
    Meat and cheese platter with crackers, veggie tray, bowl of mixed nuts (if there aren't allergy concerns) or a snack mix.

    I had originally thought of that, and I don't mind getting some food trays from HEB (grocery store that will also be doing my flowers and maybe my cake). However FH has a really big issue with giving people grocery store platters. He feels that if we have food at all, we need to have real food and not just platters of finger foods.

    Non-sweet beverage options like tea, coffee, a diet soda or sugar-free lemonade/iced tea.

    That one I don't really mind at all, I just don't know how to do a coffee bar without spending big bucks or having to hire someone to make the coffee.
    A cake and punch reception is very much like a tea.  You are SUPPOSED to serve finger foods at an afternoon function, but they are not required!  You need a fork for the cake.  Little tea sandwiches, wraps, crudites are appropriate and a very nice touch.  This is real food.  No potato chips, please.
    I agree with the others that you need to change your ceremony time to 2:00PM.
    Most churches and clubs have a big coffee maker that is used for these occasions.  You can also rent them.  There are coffee junkies out there who really need their caffeine fix.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    MesmrEwePrettyGirlLost
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    CMGragain said:
    I think OP's gotten great advice so far. I think everyone who said not to put reception details on the invite are correct, as an invite should be Who/What/When/Why. People receive a suite of information on weddings these days. Having a separate informational card in the envelope is really helpful. We had our RSVP cards indicate a meal selection, so dinner should have been obvious. I also put a timeline on my wedding website (ceremony at 6pm, cocktail hour at 6:30pm, dinner at 7:30pm) knowing that people would want to plan accordingly. 
    Whoops!  Sorry, but an invitation should tell the guest who (bride, groom and hosts0, what (wedding), when and where - not why!  The why opens the door for those icky, sweetie poems that I really hate to see on a wedding invitation.  People who are invited to a wedding already assume that you love each other.
    LOL. I was thinking the "why" was a ceremony of marriage. But I can see the what and the why being the same thing! 
    ________________________________


    CMGragainOurWildKingdomJediElizabethKnottie1452098987
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited June 2016
    There's another reason not to put it on an invitation...it opens the door to opinions and judgment from the recipients about the entertainment you're having. Gracious guests will accept your hospitality without comment, schedule as they need to around it, and get anything you aren't providing on their own time and dime. Nongracious guests will complain and bitch because you're doing such-and-such, and it's just so wrong!
    CMGragainDrillSergeantCat
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