Question from A LITTLE FRAZZLED
Hi Angela: My fiance and I love simplicity. We really want a casual, fun and green reception. Our budget is $5000 for 100 guests. We have booked a beautiful botanical garden patio which comes with an indoor space as well. Now the challenge is figuring out the catering/timing/no alcohol.
We are thinking of having guests arrive at 6:30pm, ceremony at 7pm and then have an hors d\’hoerves and dessert reception. For food, we were thinking of mini u sliders/fries, pizza, gnocchi and a fresh veg salad as well as a decadent dessert station. We will be setting up a couple of sofas and about 30 or so chairs. The wedding is in June so we will be providing guests water bottles, non-alcoholic signature drinks and a paper fan.
Do you think the timing is appropriate? Is it okay to just serve non-alcoholic beverages and a few food items but plenty of it? My research on the internet is mixed and now I am feeling very nervous and frazzled
Answer from The Wedding Expert:
Hi and congratulations on your upcoming wedding.
Having your wedding ceremony at 7 p.m., followed by a cocktail reception is perfectly acceptable. Your hors d’ouvres are casual and a matter of personal preference. As for seating, ensure you have places reserved for the elderly in your family so they have somewhere to sit. The comfort of your guests is the main focus of any party you throw—whether it be a wedding or a birthday party. Your seating sounds fine.
Etiquette says that you must have champagne or wine to do the toasts, but no other alcohol need be served. Your idea of non-alcoholic signature drinks is perfectly acceptable.
Food and music are always the main two things people remember about weddings, so ensure you have thought those through fully.
Regarding the food, you need to serve items that do not require people to sit down and eat. Finger foods are best. You say that you want a small number of hor d’ouevres, but lots of it. I would suggest a little larger selection—lots of people have diabetes, high blood pressure and other ailments, and sticking to mostly fried food with a high fat content will be difficult for them. My suggestion is to have more variety.
If I were planning your wedding, I would suggest items like soup served in little cups, little macaroni and cheese balls, petite swedish meatballs, chicken quesidillas triangles, and vegetable springrolls to keep it simple and inexpensive. Little skewers with cooked meat cubes, mushroom caps, and triangles of peppers are a healthy alternative. I would serve the salad in wafer cones to keep it simple, fun and green. If you are wondering how many hor d’ouevres, I would suggest 3 or 4 more items. They need not be complicated, just simple, healthy choices. You can google hors d’ouvres for more ideas.
Your decadent dessert station is a popular choice, but remember those who can’t have sugar or chocolate—fruit and cheese & crackers is a good alternative for them.
As always, the pleasure of your guests is the first consideration of a good host. Your wedding plans sound great. Just add a few more items to the food list for those guests that have dietary requirements, and it is fine.
Good luck with your wedding plans, and feel free to contact me if you have further questions.
Angela Fiebelkorn, The Wedding Expert