Wedding reception menu etiquette

Written by tamiya king
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Wedding reception menu etiquette
Proper etiquette should be exercised when planning the menu for the wedding reception. (Tables decorated at a wedding reception. image by Gina Smith from

Most couples choose to serve a meal at their wedding reception, and in many cases, the meal is dinner. Following proper etiquette to ensure that all guests are fed is very important, and is another factor in ensuring that guests enjoy themselves at the reception.

Reception Cards

A reception card can serve as a good indication of the menu, and it is proper etiquette to include a reception card in the wedding invitation if the reception will take place in a separate location from the ceremony. If the reception will take place before 1 in the afternoon, the reception should be referred to as a "breakfast," regardless of the type of food that is being served.

Menu Choices

Some couples choose to include a list of the entr�es that will be served at the reception on the response cards, so that guests can select the food they would like to eat before the date of the reception. Menu selections should be returned at the same time the guests sends an RSVP for the wedding, and menu choices for the date or children of the guest should be returned during this time as well.

Small Plate Menu

In many cases, guests will assume that the reception will include a sit-down dinner. However, some couples choose to have hours d'oeuvres or appetizers and drinks or the reception. In this case, the type of menu should be included on the top line of the reception cards that are sent to each guest with the wedding invitation. This will indicate that a full meal is not being served; choices of appetizers are usually not included on the reception cards, but couples may feature some foods at their discretion.

Guests with Food Allergies

If children with food intolerances, or adult guests with known food allergies will be attending the wedding reception, it is acceptable for the couple to include a full menu in the wedding invitation, so that guests can indicate foods should not be included in their entr�e. It is also acceptable to print a small replica of the menu to put in the invitation if guests with varying religious or dietary practices will be attending the reception. When guests send meal confirmation cards back with an RSVP, special provisions can be made well before the wedding date.

Menu Display

It is appropriate to have copies of the menu in large print on the serving tables if the reception is buffet-style. This will give guests an opportunity to see the names of each food item before requesting it. Some couples may also choose to have smaller copies of the wedding reception menu at each seat of every reception table. This will remind guests of what is being served if the information was already included in the invitation, and may allow for guests to make small last-minute requests, such as ordering a different side salad, requesting an alternate beverage.

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