Luncheon Wedding… Clever, memorable & frugal

I was just contacted by a bride who has chosen a beautiful, top-notch Santa Barbara venue, the (Fess Parker Double Tree) and has planned her ceremony for 11am – reception to follow.

This is such a wonderful way to have the venue of your dreams without breaking your budget. If you’re planning to have a mellow, casual, intimate wedding day, a luncheon wedding is a great way to have all of those things without the huge bar tab, more expensive menu options, and the requisite 2-3-4 hours of nighttime dancing and partying.

You can get very creative with menu choices as well:

Comfort food menu: Sliders with french fries, mac n’ cheese, corn dogs, mini sandwiches, for example.



Picnic foods: Croissant sandwiches with gourmet potato chips in cute paper holders, for example.


Playful desserts: lemon bars, an ice cream sundae bar, for example.


If alcohol is a must: you can get away with serving only one signature drink since it’s the middle of the day and people won’t need/want to have more than one or two drinks. These can be bright & cheerful.


Lovely, light drinks: lemonade, cucumber water, raspberry water… basically, you can float just about any fruit in water and it can seem very fancy without a lot of effort.


TIP: A BIG something to consider if planning a morning/afternoon event is timing for prep. You only have a certain number of “reasonable” hours to get your hair & makeup done, any pre-event photos, setting up the venue/ceremony site, etc. For example: if your ceremony is at 11am, you will probably have to be up at 5 or 6am for a 7am hair appointment… how many hair salons are open at 7am?! Uhm, none! This may lead to you working with a stylist who works out of his/her home or with someone who will come to your hotel room or home… all logistics to figure out ahead of time. It will all work out, but always keep this smaller window of “productive time” in mind when planning.

Some great ideas for activities – since rockin’ out to “I like Big Butts” probably isn’t gonna happen – for an afternoon wedding are croquet, bocce ball, or you could even go as casual as frisbee or ping pong. You would be surprised at how much fun people have just playing backyard games at a wedding. Plus, the photo ops of Grandma playing bocce ball are priceless.

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