No sit down dinner at reception for evening wedding

We are trying to not spend a lot of money on our wedding and reception. Our wedding will be at 7 PM with the reception immediately following, we have decided on having finger foods and snacks as well as punch and soft drinks. I have spoken with my future husband’s very proper Grandmother and she says that she didn’t think we should have a sit down dinner and no one would really be expecting it since we are young (we are 22 and 24). My question is, how do I word the invitation to let the guests know that there will be finger and snack foods but no dinner or buffet?

Any help given is helpful and appreciated. Thank You!

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Dear Stressed,

Unfortunately your grandmother in law is incorrect. Your guests will most likely be expecting a meal at that time of day. It would be best to schedule your event for a time when people do not expect a meal, such as 2 pm. 7 pm. would not be an appropriate time. Many guests would be expecting a meal and alcohol.

If this is an informal affair, you could word your invitation to read that a light snack reception following. We normally do not write this on invitations. However, for informal affairs, your invitations could even be verbal. So, we have fewer restrictions.

If you do host this at 2 or another appropriate time, you do not need to mention refreshments.

Best wishes,


Thank you for the information, our wedding will be informal so I’m thinking we will be ok to put the light snack reception on the invitation or on a card included in the invite.

I have another question, how can my fiance’ tell his mother to back off? We are both fed up with her always trying to change everything and add things. I have a great relationship with my FMIL but since the wedding planning got underway she has been driving me crazy. There are a number of things she is doing, and I have tried to cooperate as much as I can. I am getting completely stressed out, I have told my fiance’ and my family that if one more thing gets changed then there will be no wedding as I can’t take anymore. Everything I do is wrong or should be done better. I love my FMIL very much and don’t want hard feelings between us. But I also want to have a wedding that I plan and that I am happy about. We are trying to plan a very informal weddingwhere only the wedding party is dressed up and the guests can be comfortable in their own clothes and not have to go out and buy a new outfit just for our wedding. Please HELP! My FMIL has changed the date, location, and time, she has tried to add colors to my wedding as well as have the chairs covered during the wedding (which my F and I would have to pay for and then have no use for afterwords), have a sit down dinner (which starts at $10 per head and would total to more than $1000, F and I would have to cover this also), has added people to OUR wedding party because she wasn’t happy about F’s siblings not being in the party, the list goes on and on. Any advice you can give us will be extremly helpful. My F wants to talk to her, but doesn’t want her to get angry (he says he doesn’t care if his mother comes or not but I think he would be happier if she was to be there) and then take it out on me or whatever she may do.

Again, thank you for your help so far, and any advice will be extremely useful.

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

This is a perfect time for your fiance to set boundries and limits. She probably still sees him as a child for her to lead.

It appears as if you two are paying for this. So, it is his responsibility to tell her that she cannot plan anything. He really should be standing up for what you two plan and want.

If he doesn’t, where will this end? Will she be naming your children?

Of course, all of this would have to be said in private and at a time that she is calm. But, she shouldn’t have had the right to change your plans.