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Long Break Between Ceremony & Reception

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CNYHopeful

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 9, 2008
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360
Hey all,
I''m curious to know if any of you have a similar situation.
Our reception begins at 7pm and that''s a good 3.5 - 4 hours after our wedding ceremony ends. There is no formal cocktail hour because the buffet is served within the first hour (7:45pm or so). People will be hungry, so what should we do?


Breakdown:
150 guests
Buffet dinner
Full Open Bar for 3 hours from 7pm - 10pm
Option of hors d''ouevres trays = $1 per person per tray (adds up!)
 

kittybean

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 2, 2008
Messages
4,125
We have a similar situation (darn Catholic Saturday Mass taking up the late afternoon at the church, and we wanted an evening reception); there will be 3 or so hours between the end of the ceremony and the reception. We are planning on doing a formal cocktail hour, though, with passed hors d''oeuvres, a cheese-and-cracker station, and a crudites station.

Maybe you can skip the passed hors d''oeurves (expensive and labor-intensive) and just do cheese and crackers with maybe some vegetables and dip? Also, maybe you could have bread and butter available on the tables as everyone is being seated so that people can nibble on that if they''re famished and have to wait a while to get their buffet meal? Alternatively, you could think about having a pre-set salad course so that people can begin with that before they go to the buffet. This would be an added expense, but it might be less expensive than the passed hors d''oeuvres depending on your caterer.

Hope that gives you some ideas!
 

Lanie

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 20, 2008
Messages
1,793
We have a big gap as well...for the same reason Kittybean said. We are having passed hors d''ouevres at the beginning, but they were included in our price. I agree with Kittybean about the cheese/fruit/veggies display. I''m sure your caterer should have some sort of option like that. I hate the idea of a gap, but sometimes there''s nothing you can do. Our reception venue said that people will inevitably start showing up before the reception start time too! I can see my old aunts standing outside the door like it''s a Christmas sale.
 

Winks_Elf

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Nov 28, 2008
Messages
1,674
Is there any chance of changing the buffet to a sit-down dinner, with a Viennese table around 10 pm? I don''t know how many hours your reception is going to be for, but they usually last 4-6 hours. People are going to get hungry later.

Also, how many out-of-town guests are coming? If they are all staying in the same hotel, you may want to check into doing a little something at the hotel, and a shuttle between hotel and reception site.
 

tlh

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
4,511
I like the cocktail hour, where they just serve a glass of champagne- just to get people mingling - before dinner. People don''t expect to eat right away... but could help break up some of that time - if wine or champagne is served at 6pm.

Also, Is there a bar nearby? I always like it when people spread the word after a wedding, and there is a huge time gap from ceremony to reception... I''ve been to a couple weddings where they had really fun guest book attendants, and they would always spread the word after the receiving line... when people would be outside, they''d hand out the bubbles and say, go to XXX across the street from the reception hall - we''ll hang til dinner. It is amazing how many people would go ... also when the wedding reception was at a hotel... people would check in to their room and head down to the hotel bar early... it is a fun way to mingle. People don''t always want to get their drink on... but they just want the social aspect of being with family they may not have seen in awhile.

 

Bex215

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 26, 2008
Messages
38
I''m with tlh, see if you can suggest a bar or restaurant nearby where people can get a drink and maybe a nibble if they''re starving. I''ve been to lots of weddings where we''ve done this and not only is it fun, but its a great way to meet other guests.
 

Lanie

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 20, 2008
Messages
1,793
TLH...that''s such a good idea! I might get a hotel suite and have some wine and beer and appetizers in there so people have a meeting place. Don''t think there are any bars close to my hotel/reception.
 

tlh

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
4,511
Date: 3/24/2009 12:21:59 PM
Author: Lanie
TLH...that''s such a good idea! I might get a hotel suite and have some wine and beer and appetizers in there so people have a meeting place. Don''t think there are any bars close to my hotel/reception.
I went to a wedding with a suite... it was AWESOME... it was a preparty-- ANNNNNNNND POST PARTY... even the 90 yr old grandmas were up there afterwards... it was a lot of fun. Weddings are such happy times!
 

CNYHopeful

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 9, 2008
Messages
360
Great suggestions, ladies!

KittyBean- Good suggestion about the cheese & crackers set up. I looked online at the tray options, and it looks like they also offer mini hot dogs and fried zuchini trays for around the same cost. I''ll definitely ask about the bread too, so that might tide some people over.

Lanie - I can so totally picture some of my aunts and uncles showing up there extra early too!
FI and I are considering having some pictures taken at the reception around 6pm, so if the early arrivals get bored, they can oogle over the beautiful grounds (hoping weather''s good!)

WinksElf- About 60% (75) guests would be coming in from out of town. My family''s all in Jersey and Connecticut, so there''s a lot of people we''d have to sort of entertain. We will offer baby sitting at a suite in one of the hotels, so most of my siblings and cousins with children will probably mingle back there in some of the rooms in between. We''ll definitely look into the shuttle since the reception site is about 15 minutes away from the hotel and church.

TLH , Bex, & Lanie- So true. A bunch of my friends and family have gotten together at bars & restaurants in recent weddings. It''s a great way to spend the the time and both our families really seem to do a fine job of keeping themselves entertained with free time (perhaps too well). I''m trying to think of whether there are any reputable places on the way to the reception site. Just don''t want people to get too lost going off course!


A follow up question:
For those of you with lots of time in between, how are you, the bride & groom & wedding party spending the time? I get irritable when I don''t have enough food in my tummy, so I''m wondering if we should arrange something for just the party too.
 

Lanie

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 20, 2008
Messages
1,793
Date: 3/24/2009 4:18:07 PM
Author: CNYHopeful
Great suggestions, ladies!

KittyBean- Good suggestion about the cheese & crackers set up. I looked online at the tray options, and it looks like they also offer mini hot dogs and fried zuchini trays for around the same cost. I''ll definitely ask about the bread too, so that might tide some people over.

Lanie - I can so totally picture some of my aunts and uncles showing up there extra early too!
FI and I are considering having some pictures taken at the reception around 6pm, so if the early arrivals get bored, they can oogle over the beautiful grounds (hoping weather''s good!)

WinksElf- About 60% (75) guests would be coming in from out of town. My family''s all in Jersey and Connecticut, so there''s a lot of people we''d have to sort of entertain. We will offer baby sitting at a suite in one of the hotels, so most of my siblings and cousins with children will probably mingle back there in some of the rooms in between. We''ll definitely look into the shuttle since the reception site is about 15 minutes away from the hotel and church.

TLH , Bex, & Lanie- So true. A bunch of my friends and family have gotten together at bars & restaurants in recent weddings. It''s a great way to spend the the time and both our families really seem to do a fine job of keeping themselves entertained with free time (perhaps too well). I''m trying to think of whether there are any reputable places on the way to the reception site. Just don''t want people to get too lost going off course!


A follow up question:
For those of you with lots of time in between, how are you, the bride & groom & wedding party spending the time? I get irritable when I don''t have enough food in my tummy, so I''m wondering if we should arrange something for just the party too.
I want to know the answer to this as well. We will be running around taking pictures, but there has got to be some down time where we can sip some champagne and have a little something to eat. I think I''ll call the reception place and see how early we can get there before it actually starts.
 

katamari

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2008
Messages
2,949
Is there any place nearby where you could organize an activity of some sorts? Like visiting a nearby art gallery, taking everyone to a zoo, a sightseeing tour, an activity in a park, bowling, anything? To me the food problem is far less of an issue because there are so many options for cheap snacks, but the boredom problem is something that would concern me much more. Giving your guests, particularly ones from out of town, 3-4 hours before they can go to the next venue suggests to me that you need to find something keep them moving. You don't want them going back to the hotel, winding down, and then getting out of the fun mood.
 
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