Dinner Only Reception Advice

Tuesday, November 29th 2022. | Weddings

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Heather Lee is the managing editor of the lifestyle blog Minted, Julep, and a former editor for seven years. He has written for Bon Appétit, Sunset and Shape.

Dinner Only Reception Advice

Dinner Only Reception Advice

Dreams are often the favorite part of wedding guests, so extending the “cocktail hour” into the entire reception is a fun idea. But if you decide to go this route, be sure to let your guests know on the invitation—the last thing you want is for them to be disappointed because they were expecting a sit-down party. So what’s the best way to show them off? We are here to answer your questions.

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If you’ve decided to skip a more formal reception in favor of a cocktail party, it’s a good idea to let your guests know not to expect a lavish meal. Clearly state “Cocktail Reception” or “Cocktails and Wine to Follow” on the wedding invitation to let them know you’re hosting a cocktail reception, not a five-day party.

Time it so the reception starts earlier and include the end time by saying something like “Cocktail reception to follow, 5 to 8 p.m.” This leaves plenty of time to mix and mingle, while giving hungry after-dinner guests time to eat.

Also, keep in mind that your guests will eat more food during the cocktail hour that follows the meal, so you’ll want to increase the amount and/or variety of food you serve; The plan is at least ten suminas for each one. Guests are likely to drink more than sit down to eat, so budget accordingly as your alcoholic beverage prices can skyrocket. By clicking “Accept all cookies”, you agree to improve cookies on your device. Support with navigation, site usage analysis and our marketing efforts.

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Christine Tice Studman is a New York-based food and wine writer and founder of The Rose Project, a rose pairing food series.

Food at your wedding is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of the entire event. Whatever style you choose, whether it’s a formal dinner or a cocktail reception, the menu should reflect the two of you as a couple.

“You invite people to that special party you always have,” says Nancy Parrague, director of sales at Paula LeDuc Fine Catering & Events in Emeryville, Calif.

Dinner Only Reception Advice

Nancy Parrague is the Director of Sales at Paula LeDuc Fine Catering & Events, a leader in Northern California wedding catering for decades. It has built its name on delicious and vibrant menus featuring hyper-local and hyper-seasonal cuisine.

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Although Parragu says the sit-down lunch is the most popular format, it’s not the only way to do it. We consulted a seasoned pro for her expert advice on how to pull off each type of reception, such as the pros (and cons) of each style and the cost factors involved.

A traditional reception style, many couples opt for a plated meal. This is where all the guests are seated and have a formal dinner. Usually, if it is served at the table, it consists of two courses (salad and appetizer) as well as dessert. Usually everyone is served an appetizer, then the main course is served in several different ways:

A sit-down dinner can be very economical because you can literally control the price. In terms of food and rental costs, a dinner party is usually cheaper than a family meal or a buffet because you don’t have to have as much food (in terms of quantity and variety), but service costs are usually slightly higher. .

We like to do something a little different and couples choose a first course and a main course for all guests, plus there’s always a quiet vegan/vegetarian option. It’s a great guest experience. When you invite people over to your house for dinner, you usually don’t ask them what they want. It also helps with food waste, which is a big priority for us. “

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A family meal is exactly what it sounds like: everyone sits down, placing large plates and bowls of food around the table, just like you would at home with your family. This is a great option if you want to seat people at the table but don’t want something as formal as a plated meal. While the first course is usually served with one or two options, the main course includes a small amount of protein and multiple proteins with two or several sides.

Expect to pay 10 to 30 percent more for dinner because you have more menu items and may have less control over how many people you serve, according to Parragu. You definitely don’t want to run out of food, so always over-order here.

Wondering how much food to order? Parragu offers one or two different dishes for a first meal and less than one protein and two sides for a main course, or up to two proteins and four sides.

Dinner Only Reception Advice

“We always work closely with the designers to understand the design of the table in advance,” says Parragu. “There’s nothing worse than having nowhere to put food, so make sure the tables have room for everyone and that the dishes and utensils are appropriate for the tablescape. This is a good general rule of thumb to avoid large plates. Also, be sure to train captains and servers where each plate or bowl is on the table and go through the service flow to make sure everything is as smooth as possible.”

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The buffet has long tables covered with a variety of food options. This style of cooking gives your guests more variety, especially if you want a variety of dishes or have picky eaters. The most important thing to consider here is how to get your guests through the food aisle as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Like family style, expect to pay 10 to 30 percent more for a buffet than for dinner, Paragu says, because you have more menu items and less control over how many people eat. The advantage of a buffet is that staff costs are about 20 percent lower than a plate or family meal, depending on the layout and the service you want.

“Think about all the elements and focus on the visuals,” says Parragu. “You want the food to be lively and bright, so think about color in everything. If you have a lot of starchy ingredients, think about mixing them with colorful elements.”

Have multiple food access points so that people are not always queuing. Parragu suggests an entry point for every 50 guests and stresses the importance of having staff at various points to train guests as they move through the buffet to avoid any traffic jams. And if possible, don’t send all the guests to the buffet at the same time.

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Buffets are good things beautifully displayed, so the sky’s the limit here. What are the things to keep in mind when planning a menu? Avoid peanuts! Think about foods that are difficult for guests to navigate and consider adding or removing a chef or staff member from the buffet to serve that item. You don’t want your guests to work for their food.

Venues are very similar to buffets in that they offer your guests a variety of food options. Stations usually have tables or areas specifically dedicated to food or cuisine. These are more interactive and engaging than the help desk, so you need people to work in these positions.

This is a great opportunity to get creative and inject your personality as a couple. For example, if you love oysters, make an oyster stand. If you like pizza, bring a pizza oven and have the chef make a custom pizza. Do you like cheese? Add an epic cheese bar!

Dinner Only Reception Advice

Menu prices will be similar to a buffet or family meal. The staff and cost ratio is usually the same as a buffet, but remember that if you have several locations, the rental cost will be much higher.

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It’s important to consider the layout and floor of your station, and be sure to keep in mind all the other design elements that fit the space, such as light fixtures, tables, couches, and couches. You want to maximize space for people

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