Wedding Advice: Can I serve hors d’oeuvres instead of a traditional wedding reception meal?

cocktail hour

QUESTION: We’re trying not to serve dinner at our reception, since that’s more expensive. What time of the day would it be appropriate to have a reception with just hors d’oeuvres or desserts?

Kaella’s Answer: This is one of the best options when trying to cut back on costs. I have several ideas for different types of hors d’oeuvre and dessert wedding receptions. Kaella Lynn Events is all about making sure the wedding represents the couple. If you were my client, I would ask you and your fiance many questions to decide which time of day and type of reception would be the best fit. Let’s say you aren’t really into a late night party, and your favorite food is french toast. Then I might recommend a morning ceremony and midday reception of passed brunch inspired hors d’oeuvres.

But if you and your guests love to dance late into the night, then I would recommend having a cocktail, hors d’oeuvres and dessert reception in the evening. Just make sure you allow time for your guests to grab an early dinner before the wedding begins, and be sure to clarify this in your invitation and wedding website.

We Say: Go for it! If having more of a mingling cocktail-hour reception is more your style anyway, serving heavy hors d’oeuvres instead of a dinner is fine. Just make sure that 1) it explicitly states you’ll be serving hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail instead of dinner, and 2) that you’ll be able to provide a variety of appetizers stationed throughout your reception. We found a great article from Glamour with all the deets you need on how to throw a great cocktail hour reception. Read it here, get inspired, and then get planning!

Need more wedding advice? Read Kaella’s previous posts:

About our KaellaKaella Wilson is the founder of Kaella Lynn Events, a wedding planning and design boutique based in San Francisco. She believes the difference is in the details. Whether you’re planning a grand event or an intimate celebration, Kaella combines artistic design with meticulous planning and management to produce a memorable event that represents your style. Follow her on twitter @Kaellalynn.

Photo: Heather Kincaid Photographer via Style Me Pretty