If you are planning a smaller reception/open house for your wedding, 100 guests or less (that is smaller for Utah), consider an hors d’oeuvres reception (yes, I did have to look up how to spell that, it’s a tricky word!). I wish I had done something like this for my own wedding because it provides a more social atmosphere by encouraging mingling. Your event will feel more like a party than if you serve a sit down meal. It may even be less expensive than the sit down meal, based on what you select to serve and it will definitely be more fun!
Here are some Hors d’oeuvres reception ideas to consider:
As long as you note on your invitation the type of event, guests will know what to plan for and won’t come expecting a meal. Plan for 6-8 bites per person. For lots of fun mini-food ideas visit here.
You can have food stations placed around the room, have them passed by waiters (or willing nieces and nephews who otherwise would be running around causing a scene), or you could do a combination of both – have a few food stations around the room and then have a few items passed that fit the theme of your wedding.
Here are two important tips:
1- The more items you offer, the more you will need to prepare because chances are there will be many who want to taste it all. If you’d be safe to offer 3 savory, 3 sweet and two drink options.
2- Help yourself out by portioning the food for guests. Place a few veggies in a cup with some dip rather than placing everything on trays and allowing guests to portion items themselves.
It is less common in Utah to offer an open bar because of the demographics. However, I love the idea of having an open soda bar. Have a station where guests can have a “bar tender” pour them a glass of their favorite soda and offer syrup mix-ins to make it fun. Or, do an Italian soda bar or offer a signature mocktail (that’s a nonalcoholic cocktail).
Rather than setting up large banquet round tables, go for tall cocktail rounds and add in a few that are low with 4 chairs per table. The way you set the room will tell guests what you want them to do. If you have large rounds with 8-10 chairs they will sit down and not move. But if they are at a cocktail round they will be up and will be more likely to socialize with each other.
To continue the party atmosphere I really like the idea of live music for this type of wedding. You could do a band, a pianist, dueling pianos or something unique to your wedding theme (like steel drums). You could also choose to go with a DJ who will help keep the party going.