For our January wedding, we’ve opted not to have a sit-down dinner. Oh there will be plenty of food. Tons and tons of it. But our guests will not ever be sitting in an assigned seat, eating either the chicken or the steak.
While I’m certain that some of our guests will be expecting a sit down dinner, it’s just not us and it’s not how we eat. And remember, we’re going for a really non-weddingy wedding. So we’ve found a caterer to help make our alternative food dreams come true. We’re serving up Tapas.
Our small guest list (85 people) and our unique venue means that we have a lot of flexibility about what kind of experience we want our guests to have at our wedding. We chose the unique venue because we want a unique experience. Tapas fits right in with that, for us.
Start with Hors D’oeuvres
Immediately following the wedding ceremony, guests will be served heavy hors d’oeuvres for about an hour. N and I are both really in to ordering lots of appetizers to share, and often make a dinner out of it. N’s family also tends to have a lot of options at their celebrations (like we did recently on Nowruz) and because his family’s traditional foods and my family’s traditional foods are so different, our goal was lots of flavor, lots of variety. We’ll also have several stations during this time, including (and most importantly), a variety of fancy cheeses.
Bring Out the Passed Tapas
Following hors d’oeuvres, tapas will be served. These are small, passed plates, again with several options and lots of flavor. Guests will have the option of sitting down but will be able to enjoy these while standing up and socializing also.
Skip the Cake
Later, small desserts will be served instead of cake. Sorry I’m not sorry but I’ll take lemon tarts, chocolate and salted caramel terrine bites, and mini cheesecakes over traditional wedding cake any day. And after lots of dancing and fun, a late night round of delicious flatbreads will be served. Because come on, who doesn’t like late night pizza? More than anything, that is so very us.
Tips from the Caterer
I had concerns about how this would go over at our wedding. Would people be waiting around wondering when dinner was served? Our caterer assured me that this would not be the case and that our guests would be full and happy. Additionally, she noted that the tapas style service really lends itself to a fun party environment. People will be walking around, socializing, and enjoying each other’s company while eating.
Why We’re Skipping the Traditional Sit-Down Dinner
When I pictured the other weddings we’ve been to, I vividly remember how
obnoxious social N’s friends were during dinner (I love them, I really do) as they got up and chatted with other tables in between every course. Tapas seemed like the perfect solution, so they aren’t isolated to separate round tables.
How Much is a Tapas Style Reception?
Cost wise, tapas work out to be a little cheaper than some of the other quotes we got, though I wouldn’t go into it expecting it to be cheaper. We want the food to be excellent, and to be a memorable part of our event so we budgeted accordingly.
Tapas does keep rental costs down a little bit, as we don’t need full dinner plates or as much silverware.
The way we are keeping our costs down most effectively is that our venue and caterer allow us to bring our own alcohol. That’s the biggest saver for us. Additionally, about half of our options are vegetarian and half are meat, which I’m sure contributes to a slightly lower cost also.
So…tapas it is. What do you think of tapas instead of a sit-down dinner? Have you been to an event like this before?
If you liked this post, you might enjoy Why We Chose A Winter Wedding, 10 Things No One Tells You About Wedding Dress Shopping, or How To Choose Your Wedding Venue.