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Maybe it's because I haven't been living in an English-speaking country for so long... or maybe because I'm a man, and just don't know these things...

But does a wedding reception imply a meal? Or would a meal be described more explicitly on a wedding invitation?

My feeling is that "Reception to follow" would generally be interpreted as cake, punch, and snacks. But if the bride and groom were going to serve a full meal, they would say so with more explicit language. Is this accurate?

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closed as off topic by JSBձոգչ, Daniel, aedia λ, simchona, mmyers Sep 13 '11 at 18:37

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Just as an aside, weddings are hideously expensive and stressful things, so I would try very hard not to express disappointment whatever the food arrangements end up being. – T.E.D. Sep 13 '11 at 18:25
Good advice :) Although I'm actually asking for a friend who's designing her own wedding invitations. And she's not a native English speaker--she really should have asked a female native speaker instead of me... but oh well! – Flimzy Sep 13 '11 at 18:26
up vote 3 down vote accepted

"Reception" can mean anything from cake and punch to a multi-course meal. For any particular reception you have to figure it out from context or ask.

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Reception means the party/get-together afterwards as opposed to the ceremony. Whether it's food or just drink depends on the couple but I would have expected it to be a meal.

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This is an inappropriate question for this forum IMO, (this is more of an etiquette question)... But to your point, there is nothing inherent in "Reception" that implies food... Usually you can get your best guess if the reception should otherwise fall during lunch or dinner... But even still it's not uncouthe to ask someone closer to the wedding party if there will be food...

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