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Wedding reception plans... thoughts from the hive


PrincessMommy
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I know I can count on the hive to be gentle but honest.  The problem with IRL friends is they don't want to hurt our feelings and they'll sometimes say one thing and think another. 

So we're still planning our daughter's wedding in July.  We were told to get everything in place now because April/May brides are scooping up July/Aug wedding dates at this point.  We already had the dress, venue, and the church before everything started going crazy. (she got engaged Feb. 15th).  The theme is somewhat laid- back and casual.  We're going to a venue with a beautiful manor and lots of outside space.  We plan to get or rent a bunch of outside games (Bocce ball, giant Jenga, ring toss, croquet).  We originally wanted to do buffet style with either Mission BBQ or something similar.

So here's what I'm struggling with:

We met online with our wedding planner and she suggested food trucks for the reception and my daughter thought that was such a great idea.    I think it seems tacky.  Of course, we pay but everyone has to order from the food truck and then it is brought to them.  The thinking is that we would do 1-2 food trucks for approx 100-120 people.  There is limited parking but the venue says they have done it before.   Our wedding planner thinks its a nice idea but she's the same age at my dd.  DD asked two of her friends and they both thought it was a cool idea.   Maybe it's a generational thing, but I don't get the appeal. 

Has anyone here been to a wedding reception with food trucks?   How does it even look?  Does it really work?

FWIW, we are paying for the wedding but they are on a budget and get whatever is leftover to use as they choose (honeymoon, down-payment on a house, save, etc).  We're already under budget on the venue and dress.  Whoot!!  

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What food will be offered? That would make a difference to me.  Also, I would want some assurances that they can handle the size crowd you’ll have. People want to eat together and if everyone has a lengthy wait for food, well...

Edited by Annie G
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5 minutes ago, Annie G said:

What food will be offered? That would make a difference to me.  Also, I would want some assurances that they can handle the size crowd you’ll have. People want to eat together and if everyone has a lengthy wait for food, well...

This exactly!  I brought that up to my daughter.  Also, they're not going to want to go outside and stand in line to place their order.  What if it's raining??!!  It just seems tacky.  

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I went to a wedding that did food trucks for the rehearsal dinner and it took sooooooooooo long to stand in line and place our order. Food trucks are not great for feeding a crowd all at once. Feeding that many people is a make ahead process, not a make to order. So unless these trucks are pre-making everything so it's all instant service (and even then), I think it will not go well. It was 1 truck for about 50 people.

 

 

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1 minute ago, PrincessMommy said:

This exactly!  I brought that up to my daughter.  Also, they're not going to want to go outside and stand in line to place their order.  What if it's raining??!!  It just seems tacky.  

It can be cool and fun or it can be tacky.  We’ve had some really great food from a food truck- things that are well crafted and very tasty.  But if it’s fair food- burgers, hot dogs, greasy fries, no thanks.  I’ve stood in line for delicious fish tacos, killer cheese curds with innovative dipping sauces, and freshly made lavender lemonade.  That kind of thing would make a memorable reception. But still, if everyone can’t eat together it takes some of the fun out of it for me. 

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There is a regular food truck party here in my neighborhood every Friday night during the summer.  It works great.

The keys to that--there are no less than 10-12 different food trucks with quite a variety of styles/ethnicities of upscale and unusual food.

People come and go over a period of several hours.  There are lines but generally bearable ones, maybe 15-20 minutes at the most.  If everyone arrived at once, those lines would be 45-60 minutes long.  Not good, IMO.  Also, if they had less than 5 food trucks the lines would be long all the time.

There is plenty of parking and there are plenty of places to sit, albeit they are overturned 5 gallon buckets.

What would not work--few trucks and everyone arriving at once and not much variety.  That's pretty much the wedding reception that you have described.  Honestly, I don't think it is a good idea.  Sorry.

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I think a food truck reception sounds like great fun! And I'm old, lol. 

I'd definitely ask more questions to see if it could work in your case. They've done this before so they should be able to tell you what they do if it rains, how long waits should be, and so on. I'm picturing them having a certain amount of food at the ready - food trucks are small but you can still stack up some bowls of teriyaki chicken. Just go back to the person and ask what you asked here: What does this kind of reception even look like? How does it work? Details, please! 

People want to eat together if they're sitting together, sure, but I'm picturing a casual event as opposed to a 'sit at this table' event. Food trucks equal chatting in line, tasting and sharing each other's food, wandering over to the outdoor games with food in hand. I'd be in favor of some nibbles being available as well, but then again I always am. Also drinks, at least bottled water so you're not waiting in line for that. 

I've waited in line much longer than 15-20 minutes for food at weddings before. I don't like it and would want to avoid it, but it's not specific to food trucks. 

I just realized you said the food is brought to them, so maybe it is a 'sit at this table' event? Hmm, so many questions . . . 

fwiw, the rule of thumb seems to be to hire one food truck for every 200-300 attendees, if the event is centered around eating. Honestly, I'd want two if I went that route, because choosing is half the fun of food trucks. 

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We went to a wedding with food trucks for the reception.  There were 2 of them--Mediterranean and Mexican, I think--and people could pick which one they wanted.  Someone came inside where we were all sitting at tables and told us which tables could go when, so it wasn't like people stood in line for forever. And there were munchies/appetizers on tables inside the reception hall for people while we waited, so it wasn't like we were starving while we waited.  It was fun! I thought it was a great idea!

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I don’t know that I really get the appeal in this setting. You walk up to a window to order your food instead of sending your choice with your RSVP.  :::shrug:::

That said, if the couple loves the idea and it’s in/below budget... another :::shrug:::

I don’t get it. But it’s not my wedding! (Which wasn’t a traditional reception anyway, lol.)

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I waited tables during high school and college. Some venues allow perspective brides to "peek" at a venue all set up right before another bride's reception. I was amazed that the coordinator pulled it off but it was always very good for bookings.  (Obviously this was pre-blogging, internet etc)

I would suggest that your wedding planner find a food truck event for you to drive-by and (not creepily) take a look :)  It doesn't have to be a wedding, maybe a birthday party or a business event?

My other suggestion would be to talk to the food trucks directly and ask how long it takes to service X number of people.  (Restaurants know how many people they can serve in how much time.)

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27 minutes ago, amyx4 said:

I waited tables during high school and college. Some venues allow perspective brides to "peek" at a venue all set up right before another bride's reception. I was amazed that the coordinator pulled it off but it was always very good for bookings.  (Obviously this was pre-blogging, internet etc)

I would suggest that your wedding planner find a food truck event for you to drive-by and (not creepily) take a look 🙂 It doesn't have to be a wedding, maybe a birthday party or a business event?

My other suggestion would be to talk to the food trucks directly and ask how long it takes to service X number of people.  (Restaurants know how many people they can serve in how much time.)

That's a great idea and we probably would have done that under other circumstances, but we're in lock-down and the wedding is 4 months away.    I think we will talk with a couple of food truck people.  I think it might be good to talk with the wedding planner and ask her exactly what it looks like.

BTW, my daughter wants to know who are all these cool mommies that I talk with.  Clearly her own mother is behind the times and a fuddy duddy.   😏  😄

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If they like the casual fun atmosphere what about a catered picnic?  My friend's daughter did brats and burgers.  My own daughter did pulled pork and brisket.

Both times the caterer dropped off the food and the. Picked up everything the next day.  The "picnic" was about 1/2 the price of their wedding offerings and we had plenty of very yummy foods.  Guests loved it and lines moved quickly as you could do two lines at once.

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My BIL and SIL had their reception a year after their wedding.  Their wedding was far away and the reception was local on their first anniversary.  There was no pandemic or anything, but it was really fun and she got to wear her dress twice.  If my daughter was getting married this year, I'd go this route.  A couple will likely be able to travel and keep to themselves in the summer no matter what is going on.  It's just a thought.

The food trucks sound fun, but maybe you'd both be happier if the food truck guys served a sit down dinner catered from their trucks.  If you don't like the buffet idea, waiters can deliver from the trucks to the tables and people can select options ahead of time on their RSVPs.  

Honestly, I wouldn't have it in me to sink money into a large reception right now.  I get it.  I have a 23-year-old daughter who is dating the boy she plans to marry.  It could be soon.  If they got married right now we'd do a tiny family wedding (that friends could watch streaming) and a big reception for everyone in a year.  I have a venue booked for an October show and I'm not entirely confident that's the best idea, but I booked it over a year in advance.  

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1 hour ago, Ottakee said:

If they like the casual fun atmosphere what about a catered picnic?  My friend's daughter did brats and burgers.  My own daughter did pulled pork and brisket.

Both times the caterer dropped off the food and the. Picked up everything the next day.  The "picnic" was about 1/2 the price of their wedding offerings and we had plenty of very yummy foods.  Guests loved it and lines moved quickly as you could do two lines at once.

I like that idea!  We would need a caterer who served the food. It's part of the contract - no drop offs.   But, I'm pretty sure I've seen some caterer photos with big grills set up.   I'll have to check that one out.

 

 

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I would have to vote with the not  really a great thing. However, I am in the “at risk” age group.

 I have  had 4 kids get married , and helped my sisters with their  daughters weddings, several were self catered and several  of these were outdoors.

Long food lines are not fun. However, I am excited about the food options you could have , and they fit nicely with the theme and vibe of the wedding you are planning. If you go that route, have a back up plan for the older people ( grand parents) who you know can’t stand in a food line. Maybe seat them and have runners to get their food. I would be sure to talk to the food truck owners and get ideas of how long it takes  to feed a party. 

As a mom , sometimes wedding planning requires you to just step back and look at the overall  picture and go with your gut instinct. There were a few things I was sure were not great ideas, and I was right every time. Sometimes I could convince someone to change, sometimes not.  But I made it work when things didn’t go the way we wanted and the kids are all happily married , and we live and learn. 

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10 hours ago, PrincessMommy said:

I like that idea!  We would need a caterer who served the food. It's part of the contract - no drop offs.   But, I'm pretty sure I've seen some caterer photos with big grills set up.   I'll have to check that one out.

 

 

We saved a ton of money by having 3 of my friends man the food.  It was all in roasters/pans ready to set out, in salad bowls, etc.  My friends were happy to help and saved a lot of money that way.  This was a low key wedding/reception but so much fun because it was low key.

OK...I reread you post and is it in the contract with the venue that there is no drop offs?  If so, then yes, you would have to pay servers.....but remember to ask for a PICNIC package.  If you use the W word (wedding) everything goes WAY up....even for the same food and level of service.

Edited by Ottakee
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A good friend of mine did street tacos, but had it set up buffet style on nice platters.  It had a fun casual vibe to it, but still felt like a plated dinner.  

With trucks, would people just eat as they got served?  People serving themselves at a buffet is way faster than having to decide on a food, order it, get it made and then retrieve and sit down with it. 

Edited by Tap
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