Wedding Reception Alternatives – Part 1

Fun Reception Alternatives! – Part 1

A traditional wedding reception typically involves a sit-down dinner of some type or a buffet at a rented venue. It is the part of the event where everyone can let their hair down and celebrate your special day, often with some form of music or entertainment.

There are, however, alternatives to the traditional type of reception described above. If you’re looking to cut cost or who just want to do something a little bit different you may want to consider one of the following fun reception alternatives.  For Part 1 of this article I’ve included the following ideas:

  • The picnic reception
  • The cocktail reception
  • The barbeque reception
  • The champagne and cake reception

The Picnic Reception: This type of reception is perfect for spring, summer or autumn weddings.  If you have a Vintage Wedding Theme – this is a fabulous idea!

If you choose your venue right, then you can plan for a rainy day – with the event taking place in a barn or other open building.  Getting everyone outdoors and serving picnic fare is a fun way to make your special day really unique!  It also makes for a much more relaxed atmosphere. The type of food served will typically be cheaper then what would be expected at a sit-down dinner or even a buffet. You and your fiance may want to cater the reception or cook everything beforehand, or hire in outside caterers.  If you are lucky, you may have some wonderful friends and family members who could help out!  If the number of people invited to the wedding is fairly small, then preparing the food yourselves (or by family or friends)  wouldn’t have to be too difficult. It will, however, require some pre-planning!

Cocktail Reception: Instead having a traditional reception where a meal is served, you may want to throw a cocktail reception instead.  Drinks and a few light snacks / canapés would be the only items served. It would be a good idea to mention that a cocktail reception will be following the ceremony in your invitations so that people are prepared and not anticipating a meal.

Barbecue / Hog-Roast Reception: This type of reception would be great if you would like your wedding to have a warm, intimate feel.  Steak, chicken and sausages could be served from the BBQ as well as a few sides and drinks. A barbecue reception could even be hosted at the your home or that of one of your parents.  If budgets allow, then you could bringing in outside caterers to cook in special BBQ’s and Smokers, in addition to a hog roast.  I’ve performed at many weddings where the evening buffet has been replaced with a hog-roast, and everyone has loved it!

Champagne and Cake Reception: A champagne and cake reception is a much cheaper option then a traditional reception where a meal is served. It is possible to make this type of affair both classy and tasty. Champagne and cake isn’t a bad combination is it!
Remember – if you would rather not throw a traditional reception – you don’t have to!  The important thing to remember when planning your wedding reception is that it’s YOUR wedding reception. Don’t let people say ‘you can’t do that’, ‘it’s just not done that way’, or ‘it’s not traditional’ – if they do say these kind of things – you don’t have to listen!

It’s your day, your choice and ultimately those who love you will be happy for you no matter if you’re all standing in the middle of a field, hip-deep in mud with rubber boots on (now wouldn’t that be a sight for a wedding reception!).


John Parkin is a professional entertainer who has recently married and combines this experience with that gained at performing at weddings since 2006 to offer advice, and tips to not only create a package of magical entertainment to compliment your unique day, but with the wider wedding planning as well.

John works in harmony with your wedding and makes sure that your guests are entertained in those moments where there can be a lull – such as between the Wedding Breakfast and before the Evening Reception.

An amazing Ice-breaker – John will ensure that your guests talk about your event for years to come + John is fully insured member of Equity – so you know your event is in safe hands.

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