Setting Up Food Bars at Reception

I would like to have a variety of foods at my reception set up bar style. I'd like to offer several of our favorite restaurants in town the opportunity to provide food from their restaurant with a server or two. We would of course be willing to pay them, but I'd like a discount in exchange for allowing them to promote their food so to speak. Does this make sense to anyone? Have you seen or heard of this before? How would you feel if you went to a reception like this?


By AdinaS from Chicago

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January 9, 20120 found this helpful

Fat chance. Most reputable food vendors would not need "free" advertising. Otherwise why would they be in business. You might find some new purveyors that would do this type of thing, but then it could have disastrous results. It would seen that you were being cheap to me. If you can't afford good food then don't serve a meal. Stay within your budget with out asking for handouts.

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January 10, 20120 found this helpful

Unless your guest list is loaded with high profile people or is raising money for a recognized charity, no restaurant is going to be interested in cutting you a deal for catering your reception. I've done a number of buffet style catered charity fund-raisers and have had success with restaurants but they always want to know who's on the guest list.


From the way you've phrased your question it sounds as though you are planning a wedding reception, and it would also tacky to have adverts for your caterer on the buffet table, frankly.

Charity fund-raiser? Yes.

Wedding reception? No.

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January 10, 20120 found this helpful

I agree this would be tacky for a reception of any sort whether for a wedding, baptism, bar mitzva, etc. The guests aren't there to be bombarded with sales pitches but rather to celebrate a special occasion. Just choose a handful of your favorite restaurants and get bids to choose one from those bids to cater your reception or ask family and friends to help with preparing of food, setting up, serving and taking down but you pay for the items needed.

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February 12, 20120 found this helpful

I am so glad to read the responses. They are right on. Do you have any idea at all of what it costs to run a business? Especially a food business. They are in business to make a profit, not support your wedding. You think you're doing them a favor by "allowing" them to mention their name?


If you can't afford a reception, get married and don't have a reception or just have cake and coffee in the church basement. It's a "marriage", not a wedding you should be celebrating.

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Weddings FoodJanuary 5, 2012
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