Q&A: Do I have to serve a full meal at my reception? - Wedding Receptions - Wedding Planning

Wedding Registry

for guests

Going to a wedding? Find a couple's gift registry and wedding website with one easy search.

Search >

for couples

Customize your registry profile
Create a registry at top retailers
Consult your registry checklist
Give back with a charity registry


Unique Wedding Ideas – Weekly!

Don’t forget any of the details for a perfect wedding day. Sign up now.

Please fill out all fields!


Photo Credits:
Barn Reception -- Geoff White Photographers
Reception Cocktails -- Geoff White Photographers
Bouquet Toss – Bishop Photography
Wontons - Anna Kuperberg Photography
Reception Hall - Geoff White Photographers
Candy Jar - Geoff White Photographers
Meat Platter - Geoff White Photographers

Do I have to serve a full meal at my reception?

A No, you don’t. You can certainly opt for a passed-tray wedding reception of hors d’oeuvres instead of a full meal. These types of wedding receptions are ideal for afternoon and evening cocktail receptions. Cocktail wedding receptions are perfect if you want an evening ceremony but you’re worried about serving your guests a late meal. If you don’t plan on serving a full meal, make that clear on the invitations, so guests know they won’t be eating dinner at your reception and they can arrive prepared. Just turn the reception into a cocktail party. If you want to go the more traditional route, you can still give your guests seating assignments and set up food buffet-style. If the passed-tray, cocktail party vibe is what you’re going for, then skip traditional tables and opt for lounge furniture.