Fall wedding reception

Top 5 Types of Wedding Receptions


There are many different types of wedding receptions to choose from. Generally, the style of reception matches the theme and style of your wedding. The style of your reception is affected by many factors including the number of guests and the size of your budget.  Below are different types of receptions to consider:


This type of reception follows a morning wedding ceremony held at 9 or 10 a.m. The meal can be served buffet-style or as a seated breakfast or brunch. 

Foods generally served at a breakfast or brunch buffet reception include fresh fruit, croissants, rolls, quiches, omelets or eggs Benedict, variety of cold cuts, an assortment of cheeses, coffee, and tea. Either a choice of pastries or a wedding cake could be served at the end of the meal. You might choose to serve champagne, punch, wine or Bloody Mary’s.


A luncheon can be served either buffet-style or as a sit down meal. This type of reception would follow a late morning or high noon ceremony and can be served between 12 and 2 p.m.

A buffet luncheon menu might include Salads (such as chicken, fruit, potato, vegetables, pasta, etc.), cold cuts and a variety of cheeses. A sit down luncheon reception generally starts with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and champagne. After the guests are seated, soup or salad may begin the luncheon, followed by an entrée of chicken or beef with rice and vegetables. Tea and coffee are served with the wedding cake. Many couples choose to offer a cappuccino or espresso bar. 

Fall Wedding Reception
Fall Wedding Reception


A tea reception is typically held between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m. Tea, coffee and punch are served along with wine and/or champagne. Finger foods, like tea sandwiches, are served. The meal is finished with wedding cake. Generally, this type of reception is the least expensive and works well for small budget weddings with a large guest list. 

Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom Tip!

COVID has introduced things into our lives that we never imagined. Moms, ask your kids if they would like you to help by working with your venue and vendors to be aware of the COVID Safety Protocols. Especially, around food safety, social distancing, cleaning precautions, etc.


This type of reception is held between 4:00 and 7:30 p.m and dinner does not follow.  The reception should begin by 6:00 p.m. at the latest.  Wine, punch, champagne, and beer are typically served; although you may want an open bar, depending on your budget. Hot and cold hors d’oeuvres can be served buffet-style. 

Burgundy and blue winter wedding with greenery garlands
Burgundy and blue winter wedding with greenery garlands


Dinner wedding receptions begin between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails may be served during the cocktail hour with a sit down or buffet dinner. To keep expenses down, offer wine and beer instead of a full bar. 

The reception style contributes to the atmosphere of the reception. A plated sit down dinner typically has a more formal feeling. This type of reception makes it much easier to get guests’ to focus on introductions, speeches, cutting the cake, etc. The disadvantage of a plated dinner is that many feel it discourages people from mingling. 

Buffet wedding receptions can be less expensive because they do not require as many servers. It’s less formal, and guests mingle more. If you have a larger number of guests, have two buffet tables; one at each end of the room. Food stations can be set up around the room or in different areas. Setting up each station as a theme with a different type of food is popular too.

For more reception ideas, check out my Pinterest boards!

Each of these wedding receptions is beautiful! Choose the reception style that fits you and your fiancé along with your budget. I’d love to hear more about your wedding reception plans. Please leave a comment to share with your fellow brides.


Related Links:

Save the Date

Wedding Vision – A Place to Start

Getting Started Guide – Creating Your Perfect Wedding

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1 thought on “Top 5 Types of Wedding Receptions”

  1. Thanks for your information on the types of wedding receptions. My sister and I have been looking for a reception venue for their wedding. With only six months left to prepare, it’s good that I came across your article for some ideas. Since the couple plans to have an afternoon celebration, I guess it would be under the dinner option. I like what you said about offering wine and beer instead of a full bar to lessen the expenses. Hopefully, we can find a place that is suitable for dinner receptions.

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