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How to avoid having a dinner at my wedding?

I’m really not into the huge wedding with the sit down dinner and I don’t really want to spend that kind of money. My fiance’s family is very formal so I was wondering if there is way to get around having a dinner with it still being classy. We both have large families and there is no way we could afford it.

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17 Responses to “How to avoid having a dinner at my wedding?”

  1. ramcharger said:

    just invite people to a wedding with no mention of reception after. you could talk it over with both families,you and your fiance,and decide which route to take with monetary help from all,or leave it out.

  2. Dr.local-yocal said:

    If I were you I would talk to the reception hall about having a wine, cheese, and fruit hour with cocktails then a buffet type spread of appetizers. You can ask for tappas style apps, as they use chicken, fish, etc and have more substance. You could then follow that with tappas style deserts also to stay in that theme. It would be very pretty and allow your gets many more choices than at a sit down dinner…

  3. Garnet Glitter said:

    Have your ceremony and following reception in between the meal time hours and make it short….2-3 hrs tops. have a cake & coffee reception in a lovely venue and instead of party style dancing, play violin or string quartet, even classical piano music in the background…and do not forget the champagne toast.

    or consider having a mid-morning wedding followed by a champagne brunch… again breakfast foods are not as pricey as dinner foods, it can be as elegant as you make it without breaking the bank. Dance music would not be played, just lovely background music.
    Good luck.

  4. lisa87 said:

    just stop get through it one time thats all it is is just one time come on i think you can do it

  5. Forever 25 said:

    Have your ceremony early at 1pm and then just do a coffee/cake hour afterwards – and specifically let guests know this so they plan accordingly.

    You can say, “Please join us for coffee and cake immediately following the ceremony from 2-3pm.”

  6. Challenge said:

    If you are financially able to do it, you should always have a sit down dinner. Your wedding is about you – no doubt. But, the “classy” part of the wedding is about being gracious to your guests and showing them a good time as well. However, this is only if you can afford it.

    If a sit down dinner is not in your budget. You can always go to the justice of the peace and go to dinner at your parent’s house afterward. Or you can have a small ceremony at a home and serve something light for food.

    Either way, you set the stage for guests for the type of wedding they are invited to and they know that the purpose of the day is to mark the occasion, but not to be elaborate with lots of fluff.

    Also, I would suggest you do a search on I have seen many scaled down wedding on that site that have been beautiful!

  7. Rachel-waiting for 11/21/09 said:

    It’s really all in the timing. If you have the ceremony start way before or shortly after a dinner reception would, then you won’t be obligated to serve a full dinner. It’s only if you are hosting guests through the dinner hour that it would seem “rude” to not serve dinner.
    Just avoid the 4-6:30 time period and no one will think twice about a full dinner. And that is very popular now, I think cocktail receptions are chic.
    You can either have the day start much earlier (ceremony starts around 1:30 and the reception winds down by 5) or much later than a normal dinner reception wedding would be (ceremony at 7:30 or 8 pm) then you could still have that late night reception feel.
    The only tricks to having those go over well are 1) informing guests on the invite that the reception Is “cocktail reception to follow” 2) not leaving for picture right after the ceremony, since it’s shorter and guest kind of expect a meal if they are left alone waiting like typical weddings. 3) have an open/alcohol for a late night reception. You can’t expect to not serve guests a meal AND have them pay for drinks. Even if you only offer a wine/beer type limited bar. That might be the only extra cost of a cocktail reception versus and afternoon reception … The cocktails.

    Best wishes!

  8. Steph said:

    We decided to have a midnight ceremony. The cocktail party will start at 10 pm, ceremony at 12 am, followed by the reception with heavy appetizers, drinks & cake. People will have already eaten dinner beforehand but will still be hungry so we definitely need to feed them. It’s a unique idea and so far our family & friends love it.

  9. Nehru said:

    Be frank and tell them you can’t afford.

  10. fizzy stuff said:

    You have to have it during the day, and it has to be no more than 2 hours.

    Basically if your reception is ANYTIME after 5pm, you need to serve dinner of some sort. And you cant have people hanging around a party for more than 2 hours with no food… they will get bored.

    Yes, you can do it. Do a mid-afternoon reception with cake and coffee, champagne and a few nibbles. Keep it to 2 hours and everyone will go home in time for dinner.

  11. An excellent advice giver said:

    NO. You MUST have a sit down dinner! If you dont it will look cheap and your guests will be upset. Also your fiance’s family would want a sit down dinner.
    You can have a buffet (which means you get MORE options and MORE food for about the same price as a sit down dinner) instead of a plated dinner.

  12. kill_yr_television said:

    Have a tea or even a tea dance. Miss Manners can tell you all you need to know about high tea, tea, cake and champagne receptions, and so on. Get Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior and you will find tons of elegant and traditional do it yourself ideas instead of attempts to sell you products.

    The main rule is that if you want to avoid providing a substantial meal then you have to keep things short. If your ceremony starts at two then by five thirty you need to be either saying “We’ll be serving in about twenty minutes” or saying “Good bye.” If you keep your guests until six, then you need to serve something substantial — not necessarily expensive, just filling and plentiful.

    Miss Manners explains that high tea is LESS formal than just plain old tea in that it includes brunch type items like little sausages and scrambled eggs and cold sliced meats. High tea counts as a meal.

    What ever you do, Miss Manners is the book you need.

  13. jaded said:

    it is not unheard of that the grooms family does pay for the reception if it is truly important to their family and that is fine. just go along with it if you can.

    it is just fine to have a cake and punch reception right after the ceremony in the church hall. it will last about an hour, two hours tops. as kil yer said, it is a short affair. it is never proper to try to have a big formal reception with dancing and toasts and all the trimmings, and……no food. so a low key, short greeting at the church hall is perfectly acceptable for your purposes. who knows, perhaps the grooms family will then want to have a private dinner with their own family afterward.

    a modest cake and punch reception used to be the norm in many areas. a wedding dinner dance was only done by very wealthy families. like garnet said, wedding breakfasts are very very charming, too, and used to be done as the normal reception in the catholic church long ago.

    i would highly recommend you and groom talk to his family and tell them what you have said here. perhaps you could bring up some of the ideas listed in the answers you have received as options for them.

  14. diamondcollector said:

    i think it depends on where you live.

    in new york, new jersey, new england area, sit down dinner is the norm.

    where i live, cake and punch in the afternoon is the norm.

  15. HIS! said:

    What about a dessert reception? Be sure to include that on the invitation so the guests won’t come expecting dinner.

  16. My thoughts said:

    Have a ceremony early in the afternoon with a “light refreshments gathering” afterward. Serve trays of veggies and dip, fruits, squares, and cold meats with assorted breads.

    If the ‘reception’ runs from about 1;30 to 4:00 or 4:30, that’s enough time for people to mingle and visit, and still get home in time for supper.

    As an alternative, have the ceremony at 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. with a light reception immediately following. No dancing or anything like that. Just mingling and fellowship.

  17. velma1899 said:

    The classy thing to do is to make it clear from the timing of the wedding and reception that no meal is being served. Inviting guests during a mealtime does obligate you to provide one.

    I work in the wedding business. You can have your wedding during the day. It tends to be less formal. Less formal is not less classy.


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