Ask wedding guests and they’ll tell you: one of the things they remember most about a wedding reception is how the food was. However, food can be one of the biggest budgetary items for LDS couples planning their wedding celebrations. If you are wondering if you should have a dinner at your wedding reception, consider answering these questions.
Is there room in your budget for a wedding dinner?
Before you determine if you should have dinner at your wedding reception, you need to have a clear sense of direction for your budget. You can check out our LDS Wedding Planning 101 page to read some basics on budgeting. If food is extremely important to you, budget for it. If you’re ok with a few desserts because you want to spend your money elsewhere, that’s just fine.
Can you do a DIY meal?
The LDS community is known for gathering together during momentous occasions. Instead of hiring professionals, do you have an arsenal of church friends and family who could help you prepare more savory foods on a more friendly budget? Talk with your Relief Society president to see if there are any sisters in the ward available. While your close friends may be willing to donate some food, be prepared to provide the ingredients for the sisters to cook with.
When is your reception?
What time of day is your wedding reception? If you’re planning on holding a reception right during dinner, your guests may get hungry. If you do not plan on serving dinner, consider starting the party a little later so people have time to eat before they come to your reception.
Did you hold a luncheon?
Many couples marry in the morning, have a luncheon for the wedding party, and a larger reception in the evening. If you’ve already planned a larger meal for the luncheon, it is more acceptable to have lighter food for the larger crowds.
How many guests are you expecting?
The more guests you have, the more expensive the food will be. If you’d like to have a dinner, consider inviting fewer people to the dinner and hosting a less formal open house afterward with desserts.
Are you holding a reception or open house?
Receptions are generally considered more formal, and the food is more likely to be expected at a sit-down reception. An open house, however, is less formal and generally later in the evening. It’s about giving as many people as possible the chance to visit with the bride and groom.
No matter what you choose, it’s a good idea to make it clear on the invitations if dinner will be served so people can come prepared. A hungry guest is not a happy guest!
If you do want dinner at your wedding reception, check out our list of bakeries and caterers.