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After wedding reception party at our house

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In about a month, our daughter is having an early afternoon wedding reception at the General Warren Inn where the ceremony will also be held. It is basically her show and for the most part, we were asked to stay out of the planning. While about 2/3 of the guests are either friends of the bride and groom, plus some groom family members, about 20 of our friends and family will be attending. Since the reception is mainly cocktails, hor douvres, a few stations offering sliders, macaroni and cheese, and salad - and wedding cake - this is not a formal sit down lunch or dinner and since the party is expected to be over around 4:30, we were thinking of inviting the 20 or so people to an after party at our house. A number of them are from out of town and we would be doing this instead of a brunch the next day. My dilemma is I am not sure what to serve and when to serve it? I think we will be appetizered out but I would like to serve something special that can either be prepared by a caterer or us but not sure when we will have time to do it. I originally thought our daughter would have some carving stations but she isn't doing that and wanted something different. Plus she is a vegetarian. We are not. I like the idea of medium rare prime rib or a filet roast, but I realize these don't usually taste as good if reheated. I am wondering if anyone has done this - either having the meat cook very slowly while we are at the event - we would then have to slice it or perhaps if there is a caterer who could do something like this for under $500 including the slicing? Since there are some people who don't eat red meat, we would probably also prepare some type of chicken dish that can be made ahead of time. My husband can make a good lasagne plus he likes to grill but I think this will be too messy for people since they will be dressed up. Any thoughts on this or any suggestions of caterers for limited service? Thanks in advance.

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  1. I would strongly, strongly advise against trying to do the cooking/prepping yourself. Even if your daughter is taking on most of the planning, weddings are still exciting and taxing and the *last* thing you will want to do on the big day is do any sort of cooking. Baker's Best does lovely catering and has the kind of food you're mentioning (http://www.bakersbestcatering.com/men...). Russo's could also be a good choice.

    Congrats!

    1 Reply
    1. re: dori_pm

      Thank you. I originally had this on the Philadelphia board but it was moved by the Admins. I agree with you, unfortunately based on your area code, I imagine you are in Mass. and we are in Pa. I am going to repost my request asking basically about a caterer in the local area.

    2. How does your daughter feel about you doing a catered party after her wedding and reception?

      3 Replies
      1. re: LaLa

        Is daughter expected to be or planning to be there?

        1. re: monavano

          I think it is more about the appearance of commandeering her day....

          1. re: LaLa

            I noted that in a reply below.

            It would help if the OP could let us know how and if the daughter is involved in this post-reception event, and how she feels about it.

      2. this will sound harsh but - forget it, they'll be tired, you'll be tired, the guests will be tired. let folks scatter and unwind (and sleep and clean up) and do a nice brunch or grill/BBQ lunch the next day instead. you'll be rested, the party clothes will have been changed etc. etc. etc.

        there is such a thing as too much of a good thing especially all at once.

        5 Replies
        1. re: hill food

          I know I would NOT want to be in dressy clothes from morning until night.
          I agree on letting people rest and see if people want to have a casual get together the next day.
          It could also be seen as stepping on the daughter's day.

          1. re: monavano

            This^.

            I think a late breakfast/brunch the next day before folks head home would be lovely, and would provide distance from your daughter's day.

          2. re: hill food

            I also agree- as a guest i would be full and potentially very buzzed by the end of the reception- not ready to go see other people, chat more, or eat or drink any more....

            A next morning or early afternoon brunch would be ideal IMO

            1. re: Ttrockwood

              One might be surprised how much guests drink at an early wedding ;-)

            2. VERY thoughtful of you considering friends & family from out of town attending. How about a little break to rest, change into comfy clothes & rendezvous back at the house at 6:30/7:00 for beer/wine, lasagna & laughter? Hec, I'd be fine with take out Chinese (just sayin')!

              This is what I imagine ALL of my friends would do if folks that are traveling couldn't make it to brunch the next day.

              7 Replies
              1. re: ceekskat

                In my family/circle, the parents would host the evening before- the rehearsal dinner- inviting out of town guests so they won't be on their own and as a way of thanking them.

                I'm sure something early the next day would work, too, as I've attended breakfasts the day after the wedding, before getting on my way home.

                1. re: monavano

                  In our circles the husband to be family does the rehearsal dinner.

                  But i agree with ceeskat ....if you have people over it needs to be a super casual /lets hag out type of deal.

                  1. re: LaLa

                    Oh right- groom's side.
                    Maybe that's also happening.

                2. re: ceekskat

                  I like ceekskat's idea.

                  I am not a fan of next day brunches because I want to get home the next day as soon as I get up in the morning.

                  1. re: cleobeach

                    I've been to weddings where breakfast is served from X until X, and we rsvp for the head count.
                    Many travelers appreciate a meal before they hit the road, and these breakfasts are usually in the hotel where the wedding party has reserved a block of rooms.

                    It's a really lovely and generous offering, and last chance to spend time with relatives and friends before we hit the road.
                    Actually, I like the calm of meeting for breakfast, because we can talk without screaming over the THUMPING MUSIC!
                    It's quite civilized ;-)

                    1. re: monavano

                      At the hotel is wonderful. It's the brunches at someone's home 30 minutes out of my way that start at 11am that I don't like (and now decline with regrets).

                      1. re: cleobeach

                        I'm with you. I get on the road early whenever possible.

                3. ------A number of them are from out of town and we would be doing this instead of a brunch the next day. -----

                  Since there may not be a breakfast / brunch option for the next day, I would do a simple stop by for dessert or snack option after the ceremony. They may be full from the appetizers and cake, but obviously you want to see them.

                  I'm sure that everyone will want to get into casual clothes and if this is the last leg of their trip, they may not want yet another trip somewhere else, not knowing what's expected.

                  Pick up the phone and give them the option! On the day after my son's Masters graduation, I had planned a breakfast for all of the out of town visitors and they had -0- interest as they were all needing to get to the airport.

                  1. If it is only 20 people and they are "your" friends, I'd suggest doing something casual for post wedding AND brunch - some people may want to crash after the wedding, some people may need to leave early for a plane ride.

                    Keep it casual! Keep it easy! I'd personally go to costco or somewhere like that and get party platters / things ready to go for both occasions. I realize you are wanting something with more substance for dinner, but since they are already coming from hours of eating, they probably won't mind. Plus you can probably find someplace that has some kind of meat tray. I used to do event planning for an education program (ie on a budget) and we would cater with party trays from a local Mexican joint - build your own tacos with fish/chicken/meat.

                    Invite them by phone ahead of time, and just call it an open house - give them hours you will be "open", in the evening and in the morning.

                    I think it is appropriate. The "younger" crowds often do after parties, so why not the "older" crowd?

                    1. You might consider hiring a personal chef (check on your local Board), who is bonded and insured, and could be preparing your requested items at your home while you are at the wedding. Not sure what they will charge in your region.

                      1. It never ceases to amaze me the responses people give. The question is for suggestions on what to serve and people are throwing in unasked for opinions about whether or not to host a meal after the wedding reception.

                        With enough prep time, making a simple meal for 20 or so people is not complicated. I suggest making it yourself, you & your husband can pull it off without paying a caterer. If you want to make a beef roast, I suggest a tenderloin. Roast it off the day before or earlier in the day of the wedding then carve it and serve room temperature or put in oven to take the chill off before carving, (not necessarily reheating it).

                        To give the non red meat people a choice, do something like Marcella Hazan's split chicken with herbs and white wine, which can be prepped and refrigerated then finished in the oven about 30 minutes before serving, while waiting for guests to arrive.

                        Honestly, if your husband's specialty is lasagna, I would consider serving that. Make one beef and one vegetable and you'll have everyone covered. They can be prepped ahead then baked off later. I'd still offer a salad to go with, something completely different from what will be served at the reception. Some garlic or other bread and a light dessert (personally I'd stay away from cake since that will be served at the reception) perhaps a panna cotta with fruit.

                        To help make it easier to get the food out when the time comes, set your table and serving area, get out your serving pieces, etc. prior to going to the wedding, even the night before so all you have to do is walk in the house from the reception, turn on the oven and put the food in. Then go change clothes and unwind while the food heats up.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Cherylptw

                          "Then go change clothes and unwind while the food heats up"

                          and half the hoped for guests don't bother to show and/or go hang out in a low-key bar together rather than deal with sporting yet more 'family party face'.

                          1. re: hill food

                            That may well be the case but the OP's thread is not about whether or not she should have a meal, it was about suggestions on what to serve.

                          2. re: Cherylptw

                            Cherylptw 5 minutes ago
                            It never ceases to amaze me the responses people give. The question is for suggestions on what to serve and people are throwing in unasked for opinions about whether or not to host a meal after the wedding reception.
                            ******

                            Cherylptw, meet CH.
                            CH, meet Cherylptw.

                            Being surprised at this is like being surprised that water is wet.

                              1. re: Cherylptw

                                I've started a countdown clock until the next "dogs in restaurants" thread ;-)

                            1. re: Cherylptw

                              Thank you to those who have responded and especially to Cherylptw. You have given me a lot to think about.

                            2. You clearly don't approve of your daughters wedding plans. Please don't upstage her with a better meal. Why not have a couple of big salads, pizza and sandwiches?

                              The after party should not upstage the brides day. It should be a time to wind down and get together.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Bellachefa

                                I am sorry that I conveyed the impression I didn't approve of my daughter's plans. I was never trying to upstage her but since several people seem to think I was, I am rethinking what I will be having. A few things I didn't mention is that my older daughter is coming in from out of town for the wedding but needs to leave early the next morning so a brunch wouldn't work out. It was really my sister coming in from the West Coast and wondering what we were doing after the wedding that started this whole thing. Will be giving it more thought but thanks for commenting.

                                1. re: FayeD

                                  In my opinion, you are on the right track, and must host an after party~party. I just think it should stay casual, as to not upstage the day. As someone mentioned, you could go Italian and have a tray of lasagna. If you really want to, you could do a couple of beef loins on the grill. But just keep it casual. Toss the food on the table buffet style.

                                  And desserts!
                                  I rarely eat desserts, but everyone loves to sneak a bite of dessert, even if the wedding cake 3 hours ago was delicious.

                                  1. re: FayeD

                                    Faye - forgive us, we read too many advice columns.

                                    1. re: FayeD

                                      You didn't convey that to me and I'm sure others here. I took it that you were clarifying that they were separate. I like other peoples advice to give a couple hours break and have everyone (if they want) come back in casual clothes. I, personally, would be peckish after a couple of hours and would appreciate the invitation.

                                  2. OK, a fully serious answer: if you must (still sounds like a bad idea) give it 2-3 hours between reception and your after party - and emphasize the time difference for guests to have a costume change/nap and a more casual nature.

                                    since your daughter is a vegetarian (and perhaps others), than neither beef nor chicken alone will be 'right'.

                                    I like Bellachefa's idea, just order pizzas and salad and kick back on the deck/porch/yard with a nice beverage of choice.

                                    2 Replies
                                      1. re: hill food

                                        This sounds more appealing to me- enough time to sleep off the afternoon drinking and change into a more casual comfortable outfit to snack and socialize.

                                      2. As another Mother of the Bride (we have 4 girls between us...), I understand the experience of an early day reception and out-of-town guests. My daughter's wedding was at 1; we had a casual pot-luck style reception, in a rented space. Most of the guests went on their way, at about 3:30 or 4.
                                        Out of town guests (groom's family) had traveled from Australia to Canada. We hosted at our home, post-reception. Casual snacks, celebratory beverages :) and our guests left a few hours later. We all had a chance to put our feet up and relax.
                                        If your post-wedding invitees are staying in hotels, it would be great if you allow some time for them to head "home" to change and shift gears.
                                        Keep things casual, menu-wise, and all will be well. Frankly, I think the guests will be ok with a 2-3 hour gap, unless travel time is prohibitive.
                                        If you know that your guests are ominores, then serve whatever you like :) But keep it easy for yourselves. Grilled chicken, and your dh's lasagne sound good. Plus a leafy salad and something small for dessert... squares or pie from a good bakery in your neighborhood? Or fresh fruit.
                                        FWIW, I'd be happy to be served a reheated roast of beef, as long as it wasn't dried out :)

                                        1. I agree with the casual and easy route. If lasagna is your thing then make them ahead and heat up before guests arrive. Some salad, rolls and purchased dessert, set out on a buffet would be perfect.

                                          I assume the daughter getting married will be off with new hubby starting the honeymoon so this is for the rest of the family. An evening party to socialize with family in a casual setting before they all head out of town. Key is casual. As others have said nobody wants to stay dressed up all day. I sure don't! Either way, enjoy your daughter's wedding!