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Have a Coffee and Dessert reception. This is only a possibility if you hold your wedding at an appropriate time of day (either in the afternoon before dinner, or in the evening after dinner) when you are not obligated to feed your guests a complete meal. We had the following:
This was my dream reception, which was made even better by its low cost. My sister-in-law purchased the chocolate fountain, but they only cost about $30, so it's still inexpensive, especially considering the wow factor. I asked a variety of (very close) friends and relatives to each make a cheesecake. I purchased cookies and other sweet finger foods (frozen cream puffs for example) through a food warehouse like Sam's Club or Costco. A friend made our wedding cake as a gift, but if you have a dessert reception, you can have a much smaller cake because no one wants to eat it after all those sweets:) We had TONS of leftover cake. Just make enough to feed each other and take the pictures.
For a smaller wedding (we had 200 guests), I think the chocolate fountain, drinks and wedding cake would suffice. Provide some meaningful entertainment (we had close friends and family sing some of "our" songs, and we had a slide show, among other things) and everyone will be enjoying themselves so much they won't notice you've saved so much money on food.
Our reception was very intimate, meaningful and elegant, exactly what I wanted. To top it all off, it was super cheap as well!
this is a great idea. i wish i would have done this for my wedding. weddings should be about the celebration of the marriage not about how fancy and expensive the wedding and reception are.
I love this idea. I had an afternoon wedding and we had sandwiches but I think this would have been better and easier. I love the afternoon wedding because then the bride and groom have time to unwind and relax after the wedding, maybe have a romantic dinner together.
Another spin might be to have a "high tea" with little tea sandwiches, different pastries and fruit. You could have a tiered serving tray on each table or have a buffet for people to pick their own. The possibilities are endless!