Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,
Is there any etiquette rule about foods served at the wedding reception? We are on a tight budget.
Dear Food fare,
Generally, the food and drinks served at the wedding reception should be appropriate for the time of day and formality of the event. Buffets and lighter foods are served earlier in the day and formal sit down dinners are held in the evening. Wedding cake is appropriate any time of day.
The type of food served may be determined by the reception facility and whether you want a particular cuisine. For example, if having the reception in a Chinese restaurant or catering Chinese food, then the menu can range from dim sum to Peking duck depending on the time of day.
Restaurants and hotels should be able to provide a variety of menu options. You could also consult with a caterer.
Below are general guidelines for basic food for wedding receptions. The morning reception would be the least expensive.
Guidelines for Wedding Reception Food
1. Morning wedding and reception: breakfast or brunch reception with breakfast foods such as bagels, croissants, scones, pastries, muffins, fruit, cheese, pancakes, eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, potatoes. Drinks: coffee, tea, orange juice, apple juice, and if alcohol is served, then mimosa is appropriate (champagne combined with orange juice).
2. Afternoon wedding and reception: afternoon tea or lunch items such as finger sandwiches, salads, pasta, fruit, cheese, and vegetable trays, lighter meals of fish or chicken, rice, potatoes. Drinks: coffee, tea, soft drinks, champagne, wine, beer.
3. Late Afternoon/Early Evening wedding/reception: cocktail reception with trays of hors d'oeuvres served to standing guests or served buffet style. Drinks: cocktails, champagne, wine, beer, sparkling cider, tea, coffee.
4. Evening wedding and reception: family style or formal dinner with minimum three courses such as appetizer, soup or salad, and main entree with sides of vegetables and potatoes, dessert (not including the wedding cake). Drinks: sparkling cider, cocktails, champagne, wine, coffee and tea.