Getting Creative – 6 Different Types of Wedding Receptions

You’ve recently gotten engaged – congratulations! Now it’s time to start planning your big day. When considering the style and theme of your wedding, you’ll start to think about the type of reception you want to have. With so many styles to choose from, you may be wondering which is best for you. Budget will play a factor in your choice, but you’ll also want to consider your own personal style. We’re sharing 6 different types of wedding reception ideas you may want to consider when planning your wedding.


Formal Dinner

This is still by far the most popular reception style. The classic dinner wedding reception usually begins with cocktails, after which guests sit down for a full course meal. Dancing, wedding cake and the traditional bouquet toss follows afterward. Formal receptions are usually the most expensive choice, so budget is definitely a consideration.



Similar to the formal dinner seated dinner, buffets differ in that guests are able to help themselves to a variety of foods and possibly even themed stations. Buffets are a great option for foodies who want to offer guests a variety of options. There’s no need to select from your standard beef, chicken or fish entree’ – you have the option to be as creative as the chef allows. It’s important to note that costs for buffet style dining can be considerably higher than a sit-down dinner depending on the variety and options of your buffet.


Family Style

This is another wonderful option if you’re partial to a sit-down dinner reception, but don’t want to go all out formal. Guests are served family style, with large platters of food that are passed around the tables. Think of Sunday dinner at Grandma’s and you get the idea. This style promotes conversation and interaction among your guests.



Brunch receptions work well when you’ve planned an early wedding. Guests can dine on breakfast favorites like quiche, eggs benedict, omelets, french toast, scones, ham and a number of other breakfast delicacies. Brunch receptions are a great way to cut down on costs, as you can get away with not offering a full bar and offer signature brunch cocktails like a bloody mary or mimosa bar.


Hors d’oeuvres and Cocktails

This style is great for getting your guests to chat and mingle. It’s also economical since, depending on what you serve, you’re drastically reducing food costs. These receptions typically don’t last as long as your more traditional formal receptions so keep this in mind when making time to chat it up with all of your guests.


Tea and Dessert

Similar to hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, your guests will nosh on a variety of tasty desserts like petit fours, scones, teacakes, sandwiches and of course the piece de resistance, the wedding cake.  This style is probably one of the least expensive reception styles. Just keep in mind they’re usually best for afternoon receptions.

It’s really important to select the reception style that resonates the most with you and your fiancé. There is really no right or wrong choice. What style of reception fits your wedding vision best? Share your favorite in the comments below.

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