Wording on invitations

lesley535February 11, 2008

I am planning an evening wedding in june, ceremony at 6:30, and reception immediately following. We are not having a big sit down dinner, but will be serving hor's d'oeurves before speaches & dancing. Later in the evening, we will be setting up a buffet with cold meat & buns, cheese, veggies, fruit & desserts. My question is how do I word this on my invitations? I am affraid that if it is not mentioned, then our guests will assume that there will be a formal dinner.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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all your guests need to know in advance is, are you going to feed them a meal?

The style of the meal is not something they need to know in advance.

Style of dress, yes. (they have to GET dressed before they leave)

Style of meal, no. (they can eat when the food shows up)

This is not a commercial setting in which people decide to come bcs it's going to be a hot meal w/ waiter, etc.

They *do* need to know if there will be a meal, because they need to eat if you're not feeding them. (and if a bride & groom expect their guests to show up in the middle of the dinner hour, they really should serve a meal, which you are.)

If you wanted to, you could use the wording that goes:

Reception following at LocationNameHere

and say instead "buffet reception following at..."

Or don't mention the reception on the invite itself, but include a card that says "joins us afterward for hors d'oeuvres and a cold buffet"

These are family and friends; if they hear about wedding plans, they'll figure it out.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 2:11PM
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Talley Sue is 100% right, as always.

I don't think you need to put anything more than "reception immediately following the ceremony" or "reception to follow" on the invitation.

If the wedding were at, say, 3:00, maybe people would be confused about whether there would be a meal or not, so you'd need to say that there will be. For a 6:30 wedding, though, people will assume that there will be a meal unless you specified otherwise, and, as Talley Sue says, that is exactly what you are providing. The menu, style (buffet as opposed to served) and formality do not need to be specified on the invitation.

And therefore I wouldn't -- for some reason, usually when we try to give more helpful information, it actually ends up being MORE confusing. I guess that's because people wonder why they are getting all these details hosts don't usually give.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 6:26PM
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I ususally agree with gellchom & talley sue but in this case, I differ. The reason I differ is because you are serving the meal in two separate steps, and those two steps are separated by a span of time. So, what potentially will happen is that people will fill up on the hors d'oeuvres, not fully realizing that a cold buffet will follow after dancing.

Result, you could run out of hors d'oeuvres and/or have too much food leftover on the later buffet.

So, I think I'd try to make it clear that there are two separate food events, so to speak.

Join us afterward for hors d'oeuvres, then dancing and a cold buffet.


Hors d'oeuvres reception immediately following the ceremony. Dancing and cold buffet to follow.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 1:07PM
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I see your point, lowspark, and it's a good one. But why "cold buffet"? It seems unnecessarily, I don't know, apologetic. And there is nothing for which to apologize -- I think your plans sound great, Lesley.

I would just write "Dancing and light supper" or "Dinner and dancing," depending on how substantial a spread they are planning. The fact that it is cold, buffet style, or casual doesn't mean it isn't dinner.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 3:56PM
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Ok, gellchom, I'll go for that! I wasn't really thinking about the words "cold buffet". I like light supper! So I'll revise my wording above to say:

Join us afterward for hors d'oeuvres, then dancing and a light supper.


Hors d'oeuvres reception immediately following the ceremony. Dancing and light supper to follow.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 5:56PM
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I would use the words "cocktail buffet" or "cocktails and buffet",
I went to a reception last summer...wedding was at 1:30, reception immediatly following at a place about 30 minutes drive away....and when we arrived there was a full meal buffet, with carved beef roast, lasagna, salads cold cuts cheeses veggie platter etc. Who wants all that at 3 in the afternoon? Obviously lots of people because they were piling their plates!
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 10:34AM
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Thank you ladies! I'm so happy I stubled upon this web site.
I agree that we should not be apologetic, however...some people feel that a wedding without a "sit-down" formal dinner is "cheap".

Thanks again

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 8:22PM
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