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Rethinking reception menu?

Posted by maryann_al (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 21, 08 at 14:28

My daughter is getting married next May in a 2 pm afternoon ceremony. Her guest list is close to 300 people. For the reception, she is planning on light fingerfoods, mainly cake, punch, nuts, mints. There will be a band and dancing. Although the band is booked for 4 hours, I seriously doubt if anyone but extremely close family will stay longer than a couple of hours. Some of the post that I have read suggest a more substantial menu for dancing and possibly an evening ceremony/reception rather than an afternoon. I know she wouldn't want a later ceremony, if anything an earlier one. My concern is this, with a guest list that large, I don't think I can afford a much larger menu. Is there something that could be added that would not add alot to the cost. Cutting the guest list is not an option. I know some will not attend and there are children who won't eat much, but do we need to rethink this. We haven't sat down with the caterer yet, but will in the next week or so.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Rethinking reception menu?

When the reception doesn't coincide with a meal time you don't need to serve a huge amount of food. What you suggest is adequate, though you might want to add some non-sweet items for those who can't have sugar, particularly if you are serving alcohol.

You are correct that guests won't stay too long for an afternoon reception, nor will they dance much. You might want to reduce the band's time to 3 hours rather than 4.

You mention meeting with the caterer. If the catering comes with the facility, they may have a minimum dollar amount of food that you must purchase. You will want to be sure that you understand everything they expect of you and decide ahead of time what you can afford to pay.


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RE: Rethinking reception menu?

Definitely cut down on the band. I would do a trio or harpist and not worry about dancing mid day. I don't think many will actually dance that time of day.


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RE: Rethinking reception menu?

The wedding is at 2...
At 3 people are exiting the church and going to the reception. How long will that take?
Let's guess that people arrive at 3:30...and the band plays for 4 hours...until 7:30. And you have 300 people eating cake and nuts and dancing??
Cut the band to 2 hours and use that money to serve some cold cuts and sliced bread.
I have been to a lot of receptions at that time of day where paople were dancing up a storm, but there were cocktails and at least a buffet.
Unless you serve a sort of meal, people will leave by 5 PM. And that's OK for an afternoon wedding.
Linda C


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RE: Rethinking reception menu?

Have to agree with Linda. Having the band play for 4 hours means you should have a more substantial food offering. People will expect it with the band playing past the dinner hour. If you can't afford more food for your guests, then do as everyone else has suggested reduce the time the band plays and your guests should be gone before dinner. NancyLouise


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RE: Rethinking reception menu?

After talking to my daughter, she is fine with having a evening wedding....6ish. We will look into having a buffet style reception. The band is booked for 4 hours but said they would stay as needed. So they can stop earlier. I'm glad we still have plenty of time for changes. We may look into doing some of the food ourselves. Thanks for everyones input. I'm sure I'll have more questions.


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RE: Rethinking reception menu?

Before making the decision to provide any of the food yourself, be sure that your receptiom facility allows it. Many do not.


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RE: Rethinking reception menu?

Personally, I hate cake-punch-and-mint receptions. They make me think of a dingy church basement with crepe paper. Why 300 guests? That seems very large. I would have fewer guests and a more hospitable party. The larger the guest list the more details, the more work, more stress and less intimacy. Having had both the big production and the smaller wedding, I really enjoyed my smaller one so much more.


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RE: Rethinking reception menu?

I wouldn't start by cutting the guest list. 300 may sound very large to some, but in some communities it's not even considered particularly big. We don't know how large the families are, or if everyone lives nearby, or other factors that make the list add up fast. And I think the guests are the most important thing!

I agree that you either go later and serve a meal if you want dancing and four hours, or else stick to your original afternoon finger-food reception, but figure on less time and probably skip the dance band in favor of other music.

I would NOT do the food yourself. Don't waste this precious day worrying about food; let a caterer handle it. Especially for 300! If you want to, say, bake something way ahead and freeze it and have the caterer serve it (sometimes they will), that's different. But please don't miss your daughter's wedding while you slave away trying to feed 300 people.


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RE: Rethinking reception menu?

Absolutely right about the food! You will have enough to do that day and you do want to enjoy it, too.


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RE: Rethinking reception menu?

I did not want a buffet dinner reception but rather a served meal for our evening reception. Imagine my surprise to learn that the hotel charged more for a buffet than a served meal. Turns out there is more waste with a buffet, especially with keeping food chilled or warm and so needing to replace it often.


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