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Yes, You Can Skip Serving Dinner to Wedding Guests — Here’s How

As weddings grow in size, complexity, and cost, many couples are looking for ways to scale them back down without losing the fun. With meal service for hundreds being one of the biggest costs of the reception, you may wonder if there’s any way to skip serving dinner.

In fact, there are many ways to do this. Here are a few of the easiest, most cost-effective, and most subtle ways you might consider skipping the traditional wedding dinner at your reception.

1. Have a Brunch Wedding

The full-service dinner traditional to so many weddings occurs because of the timing. After all, if you invite people to an event around mealtime, they’ll expect that meal. So why not change the timing of your wedding?

Brunch weddings are easier and less expensive for several reasons. They’re generally shorter overall, brunch foods tend to cost less than a seated dinner, and alcohol costs are lower. Not only will a morning or midday wedding let you serve a low-cost meal, but it also makes the entire event more memorable.

2. Host a Cake and Punch Reception

Cake and punch receptions sound a bit old-fashioned, but they’re a great alternative to long, expensive receptions. Most cake and punch receptions are held immediately after the ceremony, often at the same venue.

The couple gets a chance to greet and chat with their guests. They can participate in many reception traditions, including cutting the cake, having a toast, and a first dance. But the reception is usually only one or two hours long and doesn’t require a meal of any kind.

3. Take a Meal Break

Most couples take a break between the wedding and reception in order to take photographs, change clothing, or turn over the venue. Expand this to two hours and inform guests in advance that they may use this time to get their own meal. This method shifts the responsibility for dinner to the guests, but it also allows them to choose what they want to eat and enjoy dinner in smaller groups.

If you plan a split event, though, make certain it’s clear to guests before they arrive that dinner will not be served, and set a time for them to return for the reception.

4. Replace It With Appetizers

As with the brunch wedding trend, appetizer-only receptions can reduce the cost of feeding guests while still technically feeding them. Heavy appetizers with lots of protein—such as shrimp, steak, fish, wings, and more—keep guests full at a lower cost than a full dinner. Again, it’s important to make sure guests know that only appetizers will be served. It’s also best to keep this type of reception a little shorter.

5. Make the Reception Private

There’s no rule which says that you must invite everyone to both halves of your wedding day. Scale up the guest list for your ceremony, but stipulate that the reception is private. You can then scale down the reception to whatever fits your style and your budget. This can be a little harder for couples to stick to their guns on, but it lets you treat your reception invitees to a more elaborate meal.

Some couples pair a private reception with a short cake and punch reception after the ceremony. All guests can enjoy the highlights of the reception, but the couple is only paying the cost of serving dinner to their later reception guests.

Where Can You Get Help?

Finding the right solution to simplify your wedding—or your wedding budget—can be challenging. But it is absolutely possible. Get help from the experienced wedding professionals at Pristine Chapel Lakeside . We provide a wide range of wedding services and venues to fit your goals. Call or visit today to learn more.

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