Is a "Cake and Punch" Reception Right for You?

Find out if this wedding reception style is the right decision for your nuptials.

Is a "Cake and Punch" Reception Right for You?

Photo: Jenny Quicksall Photography

Though weddings nowadays are far more personalized than they used to be, there are many common themes that still run through the majority of couples’ big days. Most eager brides and grooms do not have much of a problem with sticking to the customary timeframe and itinerary of a wedding, but others are not planning to dive into the metaphorical deep end of the bridal pool. If you’re looking to host a more low-key reception following your nuptials, but have yet to discover a sophisticated way in which to go about doing so, you may want to consider having a “cake and punch” reception. If you’re unsure about the concept – or are simply unfamiliar with it – here are some of the key points of this design.

-  You don’t necessarily serve cake and punch. In the past, these types of receptions were common and followed immediately after the ceremony in the basement of the church or at a local residence. At these events, guests were served cake and punch; but this is no longer strictly the case. Cake-and-punch receptions give you the power of flexibility in your serving choices – you arrange an appetizer or dessert table and a drink station featuring as many or as few options as you’d like for friends and family to nibble and sip on. Contrary to popular belief, these receptions do not automatically signify a dry wedding – you can absolutely provide alcoholic beverages as part of your drink options. The key is to provide small bites and not a full meal; this will leave time for dancing and/or playing games and will ensure that the event will not be a lengthy one.

-  It’s best for morning and midday weddings. If you desire saying your vows earlier in the day, cake-and-punch receptions are often expected. You don’t need to serve your friends and family a full meal, and you can tailor your food options to the time of day guests will be eating. Of course, the closer to lunchtime the reception falls, the more “small bite” options you may consider providing. Think about it: how sweet does a mimosa brunch reception with your nearest and dearest sound after you tie the knot?

-  They are typically less costly. Due to the fact that you aren’t putting a large portion of your budget toward an extensive meal, you have the opportunity to save that money, or dedicate it to another portion of your big day. Perhaps you’d like to lengthen your stay at your honeymoon destination or put that money toward your first marital home!

-  If you’re having a smaller event, it's a great alternative to tradition. If your guest list is under forty people, a cake-and-punch reception can help to make your celebration feel even more intimate. Guests will have free reign to sit wherever they please and mingle with everyone else. Additionally, you’ll have more time for other fun activities that will bring attendees together and strengthen the bonds they have with one another. 

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Opening photo by Yvette Roman