6 Types of Wedding Receptions: Pros & Cons of Each Style

There are so many creative ways to celebrate your special day and whatever your personal style and your wedding budget, there’s a perfect reception type to express who you are as a couple. Here are some great ideas on what types of wedding receptions you can have at different times of the day:

1. Breakfast or Brunch Reception

If you’ve always loved brunches, this might be a great option for your wedding reception. Your guests can enjoy a traditional brunch menu including items such as omelets and eggs benedict, and drinks like Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas.

A Brunch reception can be a great way to save on your reception budget, and would allow you to leave for your honeymoon the same day.

A morning reception means that you’ll have an early ceremony as well, and probably not as much time to get ready than if you had your wedding later in the day.

2. Lunch Reception

Similar to the brunch idea, you can do a lighter version of a dinner reception, with either a buffet or plated meals. This way you can still do a morning wedding but have a little bit more time to get ready.

The lunch option just as brunch is a more budget-friendly alternative to a full dinner and you can still leave on your honeymoon the same day if you choose.

While you would be saving on your cost, a lunchtime reception wouldn’t have the same party vibe as an evening one.

3. Afternoon Tea Reception

What a sweet way to celebrate your marriage – an afternoon tea with a variety of finger sandwiches and desserts is a creative and unique way to do a wedding reception. You can offer your guests champagne as well.

An afternoon tea would be another budget-friendly alternative, and would allow you to have an early afternoon ceremony, leaving plenty of time in the evening for dancing or an after-party.

While your female guests might love this option, some of your male guests might not share the same enthusiasm for teacups and mini sandwiches.

4. Champagne and Cake Reception

Why not cut straight to the cake! This option is probably the most budget friendly, and your guests will know to expect only dessert rather than a meal. You can offer a variety of mini pastries in addition to your traditional wedding cake.

This is great for the couple who wants to celebrate with their family & friends but cannot afford a full wedding reception.

Since you’re only offering a dessert, it would be a significantly shorter wedding reception and not as much time to spend with your guests.

5. Cocktail Wedding Reception

Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are a fun way to celebrate your wedding, in a more relaxed atmosphere, allowing guests to mingle without a formal sit-down meal.

You’re offering your guests food while still cutting down on the cost of a dinner reception. More time to mingle with your guests as well, and a casual vibe if that’s what you’re looking for.

Your guests might not get a full meal but may end up drinking more than at a dinner reception, adding to the cost. It might also be harder to incorporate some of the traditional elements of a wedding reception with everyone standing and mingling.

6. Dinner Wedding Reception

This is still the most popular type of wedding reception and offers options such as a buffet, a setup of different stations such as a pasta bar or carving station, or a plated meal.  This option also allows you to have a more traditional flow of events starting with a cocktail hour, followed by dinner and dancing.

Your guests will be well fed and you can enjoy the traditional aspects of a wedding reception with plenty of time during the day to get ready.

This is obviously the most expensive type of reception, and depending on your budget, you may have to cut down your guest list in order to stick within your limit.

Featured Cover Image: SMS Photography



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