Okay not to serve food at 8PM wedding reception

My Fiance and i are getting married next month and we are very tight on our budget and are wondering if it is wrong not to serve food at the hall,. The hall costs a lot to book and now we cannot change the vendor due to the contract. Our wedding is at 6 pm and it’s a beach wedding. We are expecting 100 people but the reception doesn’t start untill 8. We did not indicate on or invitations that we were serving food. Please help. :unsure:

Brandi Hamerstone,

It is unfortunate when you get stuck in a situation that puts complications on your budget. However, there really isn’t a way around serving something at the reception. Having a ceremony that begins at 6pm (dinner time) and then that leading into a reception at 8pm, means people will be really hungry by your reception start time. If you can work something out and do trays of food (cheese & vegetables) and have desserts available then maybe that could be the minimum you could do. The problem even with this, is that your guests will be hungry so they will eat quite a bit, so you would have a hard time with the quantity you would need.
The other issue is then, what would your guests do at your reception without food? You certainly couldn’t have any type of bar without offering food. If you were asking your guests to stay for the duration of the evening, you they wouldn’t make it without something to eat.
There really is no way to ask people to come to an event during dinner hours and not feed them. Is it possible to change your time? Have a morning or afternoon ceremony, where the reception food cost would be minimum?

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

I agree. The “rule” is that we serve the type of food and beverages guests would expect at the time of the event we host. I’m also concerned with the ceremony beginning at 6 and the reception beginning 2 hours later. What will the guests do in the mean time?

I’m sorry your budget is so tight, but because you have guests, their comfort should be the utmost concern.

Perhaps it might be less expensive to cancel that contract, losing the deposit, and taking your reception elsewhere, where you might be able to serve less expensive fare.

Nancy Tucker

All great options and I would say unless there is no way in the world to provide food for 100 that you cut the guest list and feed what you can. Requesting “the honour of your presence” doesn’t mean to plan on eating somewhere else.


i gess i forgot to include or geust are going for dinner before and after cermony and the cermony is going to take 1hr thaxs for all your replys so are geust will be bissy for the 2 hours after and we will be serving cake two different kinds.

Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites, Inc

It’s really not polite to invite guests to a wedding and then expect them to go off to get their own meal.

Brandi Hamerstone,

I’ll have to agree. Since you did ask based on etiquette and what is proper for weddings, it isn’t fair to expect your guests to feed themselves OR to assume they will be getting dinner on their own before/after the ceremony. You can certainly do whatever you want with your wedding day but since you asked, people won’t be pleased with being asked to celebrate your big deal, feed themselves and then asked to come to have some cake at your reception site as part of the celebration. I would say that it would almost be more polite to NOT have the reception than it would be to have people out during dinner time and only offer cake.
Again, it is your day to do what you can/what you can afford but your guests will more than likely be disappointed with the current concept you have planned for your reception.


thanxs for all your suggestion i will be trying to firgure out someway to feed my geust as i see it would be verry inproper of us to not to thanxs again to all of your replys cheers!!!

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

I agree. This is not polite or kind at all. We just don’t treat our guests in this manner.