Dear Rev. Coleman
I’ve been looking at your website about wedding reception sites for small weddings in the Minneapolis and St Paul area, and it’s been very helpful. But, we don’t want to have a full meal… Is it possible to have a small wedding at a restaurant, but make it just hors de oeuvres and cocktails, and NOT a full dinner?
Hors de oeuvres-loving Bride
Great question! Well, it depends on why you want an hors de oeuvres/drinks only reception.
If you want that kind of reception because it’s in the afternoon, or you think your guests will mingle more if they’re not sitting down, then you’re golden.
But if you’re having just hors de oeuvres and cocktails in order to save money, it doesn’t work that way.
Restaurants have to make money, and they don’t charge a high rental fee for a wedding because they assume that you’re going to have dinner there. So, you can order just hors de oeuvres and cocktails (and many brides do), but there will still be a $40-$80 minimum for each guest.
This answer was provided by the wonderful Cathy Gossinger of Forepaugh’s Restaurant in Saint Paul, which is in a gorgeous Victorian mansion just below the bluff, in view of the MN Science Museum. Forepaughs has several rooms for wedding ceremonies and receptions, and can accommodate anywhere from 4 to 150 wedding guests. The site is very flexible, and, as she puts it, they “have yet to turn down a wedding couple – we have always been able to accommodate them”. Great place!
Note: The pricing of an hors de oeuvres/drinks-only type of wedding reception applies to bigger reception sites in Minnesota, too… except that you’re working with their $8-12,000 food/beverage minimum, rather than $40-$80/person minimum (it often works out about the same, but restaurants can accomodate smaller groups). Sometimes, hors de oeuvres are more expensive than a dinner, actually, which makes sense when you think of how difficult it is, for instance, to make a plate of “Brie and Rasberry Feuille de Brick” (cheese and fruit pastries), as opposed to just making a chicken dinner. Guests can eat a lot of tasty appetizers, and the price adds up quickly.
This answer may not have given you a definitive answer, but hopefully, having this additional information is helpful in making your choice of wedding reception site!
MN Wedding Minister & Planner