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afternoon reception

I was wondering if anyone here has had an afternoon reception. If so, did you serve a meal? Just hors d'oeuvres? Did you have an open bar? Just wine and beer? What time did you start and end? I think an afternoon reception would be better because I would like to have my wedding at a very nice place and it would be cheaper to not serve a meal, but my fiance thinks that people would expect one. But lets say the ceremony started at 1, 1:30 and the reception ended at 4-5ish. What do you think? Experiences both as a bride/groom and wedding quest would all be appreciated! Thanks!


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Jan. 20th, 2006 01:09 am (UTC)
I had a 12:30 ceremony, on a Sunday afternoon, followed by a reception which included lunch, dancing and an open bar.
Jul. 8th, 2008 11:54 pm (UTC)
how did that go? did people drink and dance even though it was early?
Jul. 9th, 2008 01:54 am (UTC)
They did. Probably not as much drinking as there would have been on a Saturday night, but it was lovely and pleasant.
Jul. 9th, 2008 01:55 am (UTC)
thanks for the info. and oh my gosh your cat is precious
Jan. 20th, 2006 01:14 am (UTC)
I would expect as a guest to have a meal unless it states that "light refreshments" will follow the ceremony or something like that, then people can come prepared.
Jan. 20th, 2006 01:16 am (UTC)
As a guest at a wedding with the times you've given, unless expressly stated otherwise, I would expect a meal (a late lunch in this case). Not saying that you have to have a full meal, but if you're not going to, I would make sure you state it clearly to guests, so that they can prep.

I was once at a wedding that was more of an afternoon tea instead of lunch, but since we weren't told that ahead of time, I didn't know to eat more beforehand, and was definitely hungry for much of the reception.

As a bride, we're having our ceremony at 11:30am and reception starting at 12:30pm (same location), with passed hors d'ouevres when guests enter, followed by a sit-down luncheon at 1pm. The open (full) bar is from 12pm on till 5pm (i.e., from when guests arrive till when they close us down).
Jan. 20th, 2006 01:17 am (UTC)
I don't think it would be a problem if you let your guests know beforehand that you aren't serving a meal.

When my fiance' and I get married, we won't be serving a meal and will include that detail on our invitations with something like, "Light refreshments", like another commenter suggested. :)
Jan. 20th, 2006 01:20 am (UTC)
Mine *will be* an afternoon reception. We'll be having fruit trays, veggie trays, cheese trays, and a chocolate fountain. No sit down, no meal. Water, coffee, tea, and punch will also be available. Our invites will say something along the line of "Reception to Follow. Light hors d'ouvres will be served."
Jan. 20th, 2006 02:53 am (UTC)
Afternoon wedding
We are doing this too. Ceremony is at 1, heavy appetizers to follow along with cake. It should certainly be enough to satisfy guests, but without the cost and the hassle of seating everyone all at once. I never thought of mentioning it on the invite, but I guess I should! HHF
Jan. 20th, 2006 01:38 am (UTC)
Our wedding was at 2 p.m. and our reception started at 3 p.m. and went till 7:30. We put on our reception card:
Hors d'oeuvres served at 3 p.m.
Dinner to follow at 4:30 p.m.
(Or something similar to that - I can't remember eaxactly right now!)

So when people got there, we had out a hors d'oeuvres table with fruits & cheeses on it. We also had cokes, water, tea, wine & champagne available the whole time as well.

At 4:30 we had a served buffet dinner which included salad, roast beef or chicken on a bed of rice pilaf, potatoes, & a roll.

And then of course wedding cake later. :)
Jan. 20th, 2006 02:56 am (UTC)
For my wedding (2.25.06), the reception will begin around 2:30pm (the wedding begins at 1:00, if all goes according to plan...). We are having a salad bar, which includes green salad and a huge variety of toppings, two different pasta salads and a fruit salad. Also included is going to be cheese/cracker tray, fruit tray, and cake (of course, yay). We'll also have champagne, cider and dancing - all that jazz.

On the reception cards, I put "luncheon to follow ceremony". If anyone comes expecting a sit-down meal, I'll be surprised. Looking back, maybe I should have put "light luncheon", but at this point, I have more important details to worry about, rather than someone being in a huff about the menu. I mean, really. :)

I, personally, think it's a wonderful idea to have an earlier wedding - I'm happy that my new husband and I will have a whole evening to relax together and...you know...um, okay. :) I can't imagine finally getting to the hotel past midnight and being COMPLETELY worn out.
Jan. 20th, 2006 03:20 am (UTC)
I think you're actually dealing with two issues...
a) Would they expect it?
b) Would it be inappropriate to not serve a full meal?

I think your fiance is right in thinking people will expect a full meal. But I think that's more a function of "people expect to be treated to a full meal when invited to a reception" versus the time of day. It's certainly not inappropriate to do something other than a full meal, but since it's the norm these days, you probably will have to forewarn guests.

Luckily, that time of day (ceremony at 1:30ish, reception ending 5ish) isn't the normal meal time and therefore not really be a burden to guests if you didn't do a full meal (whereas you would likely get lots of bitching if you held the reception from say, 6-10pm and only had mixed nuts and a cheese tray). The time you're saying sounds like a good time where people have plenty of time to eat lunch beforehand and it will end early enough for people to make dinner plans. Providing some light refreshments might be nice, but even just wedding cake would be okay. Go for it.
Jan. 20th, 2006 03:57 am (UTC)
I agree with most others in that it's fine to not serve a full sit-down meal, but you should mention something to that effect on the invites. Even a lunch would be much cheaper than dinner, but I also think hor d'oeuvres and cake would be fine. If you're on a budget, I would skip the full bar and just offer wine & beer selections...I don't think anyone needs hard liquor at that time of day. :)
Jan. 20th, 2006 04:46 am (UTC)
I'm having a two o'clock wedding with reception lasting until about seven. We're having a pot luck, but expect to have lighter fare rather than a heavy meal. We're also not having any hard liquor, but homebrewed wine and mead instead.
Jan. 20th, 2006 06:13 am (UTC)
I'm having the opposite dilemma. I want a 1:30 wedding, but I want some pictures at the reception site after dark!

I am planning on feeding them though. You could easily get away with just hor d'oevres if you ended at 5.
Jan. 20th, 2006 09:45 am (UTC)
that'd be ok... we had the ceremony at 2pm and the reception lasted till 1am... plenty of time for dark pictures at the reception :o)
Jan. 20th, 2006 10:16 pm (UTC)
Lol, but ours won't last THAT long. My people don't like to dance, for one, plus that's a ton of extra time to pay the photographer for.
Jan. 23rd, 2006 09:21 am (UTC)
hehe ours was, and it was great, a proper party! not just dancing though, loads of people were sitting at the tables chatting to new friends and meeting people they hadnt seen for years - fantastic :o)

...and we only had the photographer up till the dinner started at about 5ish
Jan. 20th, 2006 02:31 pm (UTC)
My ceremony was at 2pm, reception at 3-ish. We had heavy hors d'oeuvres, champagne, and wine, but no beer. Some of my husband's less saavy friends would have abused their beer privileges. LOL. We had a meat carving station where ppl could make little sandwiches, fruit trays, cheese trays, pastries, etc and everyone seemed satisfied!
Jan. 20th, 2006 05:59 pm (UTC)
Our wedding is starting at noon, with the reception as soon after the ceremony as is feasible (same location). We were planning to just have light refreshments, but the place we ended up booking includes the meal, so we shall feed the guests! Buffet lunch for all, and then cake. Dancing also, but no alcohol. Reception goes until 5.

So, if you want to give them a meal, go ahead -- lunch is just as much a meal as dinner. However, it is less expected, so if you don't, it should be fine. Although, as other people pointed out, tell the guests one way or another so that they know whether to eat beforehand or not.
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