lazy. (or: food, part 1)

by Liz on 02.12

That’s what I’ve been. Just lazy.
One of the most difficult parts of our wedding was the food. By a longshot. Not only because we did it all ourselves, but also because I didn’t know picking a dessert reception would be so friggin controversial. People I didn’t even know* argued that I was being rude, ungracious and stingy for serving only dessert. Some said the fact that I was inviting so many people and serving “so little” food made it clear I was just trying to get as many gifts as cheaply as possible.** (note: all of whom were internet people, and therefore don’t actually matter. You’re not invited. What do you care.)

Actual real-life friends pitied me for giving up what they assumed was some life-long dream of serving dinner at a banquet hall. (HA!) And then others just acted like I was some indie weirdo, who didn’t know how weddings are supposed to work. (though the dessert reception isn’t some new-fangled thing…)
All of that is beside the point. The point is, I should’ve shared all of the crap I learned through this crazy process, and I haven’t. So I’m so glad KWu kicked my butt into gear with her question.
Having a dessert reception poses its own difficulties. And catering your own wedding is a-whole-nother monster. So let’s address the dessert part, first, since you’ve said you may hire a caterer…
* damn internet brides think they know everything.

**Um. No. If i’d wanted to get some towels and a toaster as cheap as possible, I woulda just thrown down the cash at a Walmart and called it a day.

PS- sorry for all the self-promoting links. Yuck.

(photos via Love Me Do)

[1] Length. Don’t plan on a very long reception. After 2 or 3 hours, folks are just about in a sugar coma and ready for a nap.
[2] Time of day. This type of thing is usually later at night- assume your guests had dinner before the ceremony, and give them enough time to do it. We’re pretty friggin rebellious, so we didn’t even do that- we had an “afternoon snack” sorta timing, with the reception starting around 3:00. Same rules apply, though- don’t overlap with mealtime, and give your guests enough time to eat before/after.
[3] Let em know what they’re in for. Make sure your invitation says it clearly. No-brainer, right? But just wanted to throw that out there. We said, “Join us for Champagne and Dessert…” but really anything that sends the message that you won’t be serving steak and potatoes is good enough.

[4] “Order of events.” If you’re doing all of the normal wedding reception stuff, it won’t be in the same order as a normal wedding. For one, you may want to cut the cake way early, so folks haven’t overdosed on the sugar already before they get a piece. Figure out that timeline in advance.

[5] Stations. Srsly. And multiple of the same one (or, similarly, one friggin big table with the same stuff on both sides). You want to have at least 2 lines moving at the same time if you have more than 25 people. (Not to mention, a more-snackish-than-mealish reception lends itself to more mingling.)

[6] Easy access drinks. Similar to the above, you want lots of spots for people to grab a drink. No one, sweaty and exhausted from dancing, wants to wait in line for a water.

[7] Avoid sugar shock. Have a leetle something that folks can nibble on to balance the sugar. We did a cheese and fruit tray, cause I didn’t think it would ruin the emphasis on dessert.

[8] Bite size, please. Mini cupcakes, itty bitty brownies- lots of little bites will let guests taste more rather than be stuck with one fat piece of cake all night.

[9] Variety. Plan on a bunch of different textures and flavors. You don’t want everything to be creamy. Or chocolaty.
[10] Last but not least. Consider your out-of-towners. We only had 3 people travel out of state to get to our wedding. But we wanted to make sure they weren’t stuck searching for dinner in a strange city. Our solution to this was to take our families out to dinner after the dessert reception, later in the evening. This way, those 3 people were fed, and we got to thank the rest of the family for all of their amazing help setting up and tearing down. Let me do the math for ya:
dessert reception for 150 + dinner at a restaurant for 65
costs less than
a dinner reception for 65
There are other ways you can do this, of course. Have a pot luck or have someone make dinner at their house, or just give out gift certificates to those out-of-towners to a favorite restaurant. Just make sure you don’t leave em stranded, that’s all I’m sayin.
Here are some links I found helpful-
Rebecca Thuss (for inspiration- notice how making the food different heights and in the same color scheme makes the table pretty)
Oh, and here’s the food we served.

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