Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Feast on Famine: Figuring Out the Best Reception Style to Serve Food

Appetizers are served, originally uploaded by cisko.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcisko/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I have always thought appetizers and desserts were the best part about going out to eat, so our decision to trade in the traditional sit-down set up in favor of a heavy hor d'oeurves reception just seems right somehow.

Of course, there are pros and cons...


  • More focus on the best parts of the wedding - the dancing, drinking and mingling.
  • No awkward head table away from the rest of the party. We're gonna be all dressed up to party, not sit in front of the party.
  • Easier way to make sure all guest dietary needs are addressed. As pescatarians, we've attended plenty of parties where hosts were gracious enough to keep us in mind when making their menus, so we feel the least we could do is have a couple vegan options and gluten-free choices for our friends and fam.
  • No check boxes for "Chicken, Fish, Beef or Tofu" to keep track of.
  • No assigned seating, (with the exception of reserving some tables for our parents and older or disabled guests who might not be comfortable hanging out at high top tables all night).
  • As I mentioned, appetizers and desserts are the best part, and they offer the chance to show off some creativity.
  • Less costly for centerpieces and rentals
  • We don't really have enough room at the venue for full sit-down set up, but we could probably try to make it work. Going apps only means more room to mingle.
  • I once heard my grandmother describe in great horror, her friend traveling to a wedding that only served a few small appetizers and coffee, tea and soft drinks. While we'll have plenty of booze, we don't want anyone feeling slighted cause we decided to go with hors d'oeuvres only.
  • We figured we would have the apps passed for an hour (during what would normally be dinner time) and then have a station set up buffet style so people could graze throughout the evening until it was time for dessert. However, figuring out where that table for this station would go and what would sit there in the meantime in kind of confusing. I guess what I mean is, we're still figuring out the logistics.
  • People sometimes think cheap when they see apps only. Worst yet, sometimes passed apps can actually cost more than the sit-down style so then you look cheap and you're spending a lot of money which just adds insult to injury.
We thought food stations might be nice. Some pasta there, some Thai food there, but that could really add up and possibly hurt us in the end. In addition to needing extra staff to man all of those stations, we would have to ante up on the rental charges and food costs and possibly even on decorations. Then there's sit-down family style, but it seems better for more intimate groups and buffet-style, which is okay, but kind of boring and annoying if your the last table called.

Which way do you think is the best way to go?


  1. apps + dessert! aka stop thinking about other people and do what you want/how you want. it's a celebration. and not people's only meal of the day. if they want a big meal, they can plan ahead and have a bigger breakfast or lunch. i mean, it's all about the booze anyway. duh.

  2. I know, I just want to make sure everyone's happy and having a good time.

    Booze does help though. :)