Not all wedding receptions have to be over the top affairs. Sometimes sweet and simple can be just right, and it also allows you to entertain a crowd without spending a fortune. These are some tips on planning a simple cake and punch wedding reception.
The cake and punch reception is a traditional form of wedding celebration. It basically gives the family and friends of the newlyweds a change to gather and raise a toast to the happy couple without an event that goes on for hours. This kind of reception is still popular in certain Southern communities, particularly those where it is common to invite the entire church congregation. After all, showing hospitality is more important than having a fancy reception. A nice thing about cake receptions is that they can be paired with anything from a very traditional church wedding with the bride in a formal dress and fancy bridal accessories to an informal ceremony in your own backyard.
Many venues can be appropriate for this type of wedding celebration. If your church has a gathering room or hall, that would be the ideal location. Once the ceremony is complete, everyone can just migrate over to the church basement for refreshments. This is an ideal situation for a very big extended social circle. Given that the party will be pretty short, you could even head off on your honeymoon right afterwards if you like. It would also be nice to consider sticking around for an extra day and having a brunch with your close family the next morning, particularly if many of them will be flying in from out of town for your wedding.
As for the refreshments served, obviously the most important part is the wedding cake itself. Sometimes brides opt to have a modestly sized cake to display and cut with a sheet cake in the kitchen for additional servings. It is an easy way to save money, especially if you need cake for a huge crowd. A fancy punch decorated with rings of ice filled with edible flowers will be another must have. You could offer one punch that is spiked with champagne and one that is non-alcoholic. Some couples also like to have sparkling wine, sparking cider, or champagne for toasting. If you wish to expand the menu a bit, add small finger sandwiches, cookies, a fruit and cheese platter, soft drinks, and coffee.
Those are the essentials for the cake and punch reception, but you can also add a few more details if you like. It might be nice to have some music playing in the background, possibly just on an iPod. Decorations can be fairly simple, such as small floral arrangements on the food tables or maybe big paper pom poms hung from the ceiling. Think about if you want to have a professional photographer as well. The chances are that you will have one for the ceremony, and it would not cost much more to have them come along to the reception for a couple of hours. You will surely want good pictures of the bride with her bridesmaids in their lovely dresses and bridesmaid necklaces, the guests toasting the newlyweds, and of course the cake cutting.