Types Of Wedding Receptions

Types of Wedding Receptions

Last Updated on September 6, 2021 by admins

Today, we’re going to be looking at the different types of wedding receptions you may like to choose – whatever your budget may be. From the time of day, to which mealtime you’re eating it – there’s a lot to sort when planning your big day. I’m here to show you the types of receptions you could have, and make it easier for you! Let’s take a closer look.

Wedding Reception Formats

There are a range of formats available, ranging from formal to more casual. I went for something in the middle; a choice of 3 main meals you were served at a buffet, and then went to sit at your designated table. However, let’s look at some options you may like.

Sit-Down Meal

The most “traditional” is the sit-down meal. Whereby your food is brought out to you, almost like you’re at a restaurant. It brings an extra piece of luxury to your wedding and is a great way to treat your guests. It’s usually a 3-course meal, but it can be as many, or as few courses as you’d like.

If you’re the couple, it gives you plenty of time to chat to your guests in a calm environment and really make the most of your day, in between the hustle and bustle. Getting married really is tiring! The downside to the sit-down meal is that they’re always the most expensive option. A large portion of your budget would have to be put aside if you’re looking for a 3-course meal for every guest.


A cheaper alternative is the buffet. While the food isn’t brought out to you, you still get to spend most of the time sitting down! What I love about buffets is how many choices you have. It’s great if you have a lot of guests with dietary requirements or fussy eaters, as there will be something for everyone.

Another bonus is that there’s so many options to choose from now. Hog roast, BBQ, traditional meals – you can serve anything at a buffet. While it may not be as luxurious as a sit-down meal, the food is usually just as tasty. And the guests often just as happy.

Afternoon Tea

If you’re not looking to be traditional in any way at your wedding, afternoon tea is becoming increasingly popular with recent weddings. Finger sandwiches, scones, cakes, and desserts – your guests will certainly be happy. My mom opted for afternoon tea at her wedding and it went down a treat. You can add a glass of champagne/prosecco for every guest to add a bit of luxury for your guests.

If you’re on a tight budget, afternoon tea is a great substitute for a sit-down meal. However, due to how small most of the food is, you may have a few hungry guests later. But that’s nothing a few chips and dips won’t sort out once the party begins!

Hors D’oeuvres/Cocktails

If you like snacking on food with a glass of something alcoholic in one hand, this is the perfect option for you. If you like to talk and want your guests to mingle, this is a great suggestion. It’s also a good idea if you have a lot of guests – that way you can accommodate more people as you won’t need as many tables.

While the price of this one is inviting because of how little you’ll need to buy – again, you may end up with hungry guests in the evening. And not just hungry ones, drunk ones too. If you have an early wedding, this may not be the best option as people may be drunk from very early on in the day.


If you’re an early riser, or a nervous bridge/groom – a brunch may be a good idea. You can get married nice and early, then have a brunch with your loved ones. You can really make it fancy, with breakfast items like eggs benedict and mini pastries. Mimosas are the perfect brunch-time drink. You can have a break before the evening party and enjoy the first few hours of married life once you’ve finished eating. Some couples may enjoy this break.

However, if you don’t want to rush getting ready and leisurely enjoy your day, this may not be the right choice for you.

Wedding Reception Styles

There are a range of wedding reception styles you can choose from. And whether you want your reception formal, or something a bit more out there – there’s something for everyone. A few style ideas to consider are:

  • Romantic – soft lighting, elegant flowers, light colors
  • Alternative – bright lights, jam jars as centerpieces, copper/gold tones
  • Chic – lace tablecloths, flower drapes, bunting
  • Disney – do I need to explain this one? The theme of my wedding was Disney!
  • Vintage – as long as it looks old and well-loved, anything can be vintage
  • Modern – block colors, simplistic designs
  • Whimsical – bright, bold colors, multicolor flowers, balloons – the crazier the better
  • Rustic – pastel flowers, hessian, jars – anything boho chic

Whatever your style, there’s something for everyone. This article from Brides has a great selection of styles to get you started on your dream wedding.


I hope this article has helped you see the types of wedding receptions you can have, and how many there are available. This list is by no means exhaustive either. The most important thing to decide before you start is your budget. If your budget is on the smaller side, some options may not be available to you.

You could even have a mix of receptions! You could have a sit-down meal in the daytime and a buffet in the evening. There’s no set rules at so what you should have at your wedding. The most important part is that you and your partner are happy…and enjoy the food, of course!

If you’ve had your wedding, what reception did you go for? If you’re waiting to get married, what are you hoping to have? Let me know in the comments below.

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