Q&A: The Reception

What should I do if I think we will run out of food at the reception?

Well this can happen from time to time. Good caterers add in their contract 5% extra on the guest count on all food and beverage orders. This little cushion is meant to help keep this from becoming a huge issue. However, say you have a few family members pile on more food from the buffet or a few extra people that did not RSVP show up for dinner, there are a few things you can do during and beforehand to prepare just in case.

Buffet Advice:

  • Ask catering staff to monitor the buffet. Having an extra set of eyes on the food will help discourage guests from taking one too many tacos.
  • Switch out plates from larger ones to smaller ones. Using a smaller plate for the buffet will help curb the urge to fill a HUGE plate to the brim. Naturally, some guests will just fill their plate until it can barely hold no more even if they will not be able to eat everything piled on food mountain.

Plated Service Advice:

  • If you get to a course and you do not think you will have enough for say all 150 plates of dessert, don’t fret. Some venues like hotels that have the catering kitchen in house can help you solve this problem in a jiffy. Hotels and other full service venues with in house catering will have inventory on hand from other events and back-up stock. If you only planned for 120 guests, but 30 people failed to RSVP so you suddenly need more food, using two different desserts can ease this issue. If your wedding dessert for your four course meal is cheesecake and the other back-up option the hotel has on hand is chocolate cake, pretty common actually, just ask the hotel to serve every other guest the two options. That way, it will look like you planned for every other guest to have a different alternating dessert instead of 8 tables with one dessert and the remaining 5 with another.

Do I have to do a receiving line? Do you have any alternatives?

No you do not have to do a receiving line. Here is one alternative, and one completely different idea instead that I think beats the line and Texas heat any day!

Receiving Cocktail Line:

Instead of just standing talking to your guests, ask one or two of your wait staff to serve cocktails to guests once they reach the happy couple. So it’s not your traditional line, but it’s not throwing out the concept entirely either. This would be a great time to showcase your signature cocktail for your wedding as well. If you are not doing a cocktail hour, serving a little snack to help guests enjoy the the wait and greet helps too.

Dropping The Line: Why I think losing it is better!

Okay, so one known fact is that more times than not a couples first meal together at the reception is often boxed up and sent home. If you have an evening wedding, that food may not be revisited until the couple is at their hotel well past midnight. And, the big day is tiring so there is a good chance that food will go uneaten until breakfast, if even then. Not eating, only drinking champagne for a long day’s worth of events is not healthy and will set you up for a hard crash at midnight. Why most couples forgo their food is because they spend the dinner portion of the reception mingling and greeting, like a receiving line. They stroll the whole reception taking pics, talking and forget their food is waiting to be noshed.

So what is my solution? When your guests arrive at the reception space, plan a cocktail hour. Instead of the receiving line that starts the reception and ushers guests into the space, let the happy couple take a break. Plan for the couple to eat their meal during the cocktail hour in a private hushed space. This allows for their first meal together to be intimate, they get to eat and talk about the ceremony, and when all is said and done, mingle without letting food go cold. When the cocktail hour finishes, the couple can then reappear and be announced into the space. Guests can grab their food and the couple is free to mingle on a full stomach, champagne in hand.

Do you have a burning question you want answered? Add a comment below with your wedding woes and questions!


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