Castle Interiors

Choosing a Castle Reception Style

Heavy Hors D'oeuvres Buffet

When it comes to food and beverage options there are many: cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, a plated dinner, a casual buffet , champagne and cake,  just desserts, or even an early afternoon brunch. Whether causal or black tie, the possibilities are endless. The Castle plays host to all of these options, but to be realistic, not all of these food and beverage options work for all size groups.

We are finding that one of the most popular alternatives to the traditional dinner with couples these days is a cocktail reception.  A cocktail reception offers a somewhat more casual atmosphere than a sit-down dinner and gives your guests the chance to really mingle. You and your guests can enjoy an array of hors d’oeuvres while sipping on signature cocktails.

Cocktail receptions also save on rental fees and staffing from the caterer, allowing more money in your allotted budget to go toward food and beverage. With a heavy hors d’oeuvres presentation your caterer will:

  • Provide as much food as with a traditional dinner
  • Offer a wider variety of foods
  • Provide a fresher presentation
  • Serve your guests quicker than a traditional sit down meal, which means more time to enjoy your guests!

Hors d’oeuvres do not have to be pretentious and can offer a wide variety of small bites and displays of foods that are familiar to most people. Guests are free to choose foods that appeal to them, plus you will not have to worry whether everyone gets their plate at the same time. Take time to craft a menu full of different flavors, your favorite foods and popular crowd pleasers.  We can recommend caterers who help you create an amazing hors d’oeuvres event.

The Bride and Groom.... Enjoying the Buffet!

The tradition of providing a full dinner to wedding guests is long and rich.  There are basically two service options:

  • Plated with full table-side service by waitstaff
  • Buffet self-service with waitstaff providing more of a supporting role

The two options present both advantages and disadvantages, see for more insight.  When considering a full meal presentation keep in mind that the meal will take the better part of two and half hours of your reception time.  A full meal also requires a much more rigid timeline for your event because timing will be critical to your caterers ability to time the meal.

For couples with a big sweet tooth, a dessert only reception is a neat idea. Cupcakes, cookies and sweets of all kinds provide your guests with a fun twist on

More than a cake.... A Sweets Table!

the standard food table. Choose desserts that go with the overall theme for your wedding, whether that means color accents or sweets from a specific country.

If budget is a concern, make your event short and sweet, stick to a basic cake and champagne reception. This lets the bride and groom focus on each other as well as their guests, whether they have a small or large group. Sticking to cake and champagne eliminates a lot of monetary limitations and keeps things simple.

This brief article by provides a helpful list of pros and cons when it comes to selecting a certain reception style. If you need help, we are more than happy to help you wade through the various choices for reception styles to find the one that will make your day fit your desires!

Check to see if your event date is available and get rate information

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Off Season Weddings at The Castle

While the typical wedding season runs from May to October, many brides are opting to plan their wedding during the “off-season.” Choosing to exchange vows during this time is not as limiting as one may think. In fact, there are quite a few advantages: venues and vendors often have more dates available for booking and lower costs for certain products and services.  In many circumstances the rates for a small off season wedding at the Castle will be at least 50% of high season!!!

Planning a wedding during the months of November, January, February, March and April bring about the chance for the bride and groom to cut back on many aspects of their budget, even down to the flowers you use. Look at certain flowers in season during the winter months like anemones and ranunculus to add a splash of color. If you’re going for a more traditional holiday ceremony, use ivy, holly and poinsettias.

Choose seasonal themes or color schemes and interesting locations to hold both the ceremony and reception. There are also plenty of winter-friendly options to keep the cold at bay, so don’t completely rule out any outdoor options. Having your wedding during the off season gives you more options with dates, locations and cost, as well as more guest availability with the likelihood that your wedding date won’t conflict with many other weddings.

With so many ceremony and reception options to choose from, here are a few that work well here at the Castle:

  • A small intimate ceremony for 30 then appetizers and/or dinner; invite those near and dear to you to share your special day inside the beautiful Castle Tea Room with good food and good company.
  • Sit-down dinner reception for 50, followed by dancing on the Courtyard; looking to have a little bit bigger guest list? 50 guests allow for plenty of room while maintaining that cozy atmosphere.
  • Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres for 75-100 guests; create a few signature cocktails and treat guests to an array of hors d’oeuvres that put a new twist on the staples of traditional holiday meals.

More than a cake.... A Sweets Table!

Whether inside or outside, the Castle Tea Room can offer the perfect elegant setting for a beautiful Winter wedding. The Courtyard provides ample space for those with larger guest lists, while the interior provides a unique setting for smaller groups. There’s no better way to bring your loved ones together this holiday season than to celebrate your nuptials here at the Castle Tea Room!

Check to see if your event date is available and get rate information

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 Sample setup diagram for a small ceremony <40 followed by a cocktail party for up to 75.

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Small Ceremony and Dinner, Then Large Reception

The phrase “private ceremony” can mean a lot of different things. To some couples,

Let The Ceremony Begin!!!

it means being surrounded by core friends and family instead of a large guest list. To other couples, a private ceremony is a way to trim back their budget and just keep things simple. In reality, you can have the best of both worlds with a small, private ceremony followed by an open reception where you can include everyone on your list.

By keeping the ceremony small, you have the freedom to choose a unique venue that best reflects you as a couple. Fewer guests also means fewer schedules to work around. Your wedding is all about you and it should be special, so don’t fret too much about the guest list. Many couples who host a ceremony outside of a church generally have a brief ceremony and if the guest list is small the rental savings can be as high as 25%.

In order to avoid hurting any feelings, take into consideration a special invitation for the reception. Let your guests know you are having a private ceremony or have already tied the knot, and now you would like them to join you at the reception to celebrate. For invitation ideas, check out the destination wedding article on Truly You want to be sure your guests feel included even if they aren’t invited to the actual ceremony.

How to Have a Small Private Wedding from offers some excellent advice when it comes to planning an exclusive ceremony followed by a larger reception. Keep it simple and low-key and be sure to word your invitations so your guests understand they are still a big part of your big day.

Our Bride and Groom last week opted for a small civil ceremony on the Front Steps of the Castle, with 35 of their closest friends and family in attendance. Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed a delicious dinner catered by Dianna’s Kitchen. As dinner came to a close, an additional 100 guests arrived and the celebration moved outside to our Courtyard.

Heavy Hors D'oeuvres!

The reception guests joined the happy couple to dance the night away and celebrate with the newlyweds. Outside, lights illuminated the big white tent and each table was adorned with touches of black, silver and deep red roses.

Dianna’s Kitchen provided a tasty array of heavy hors d’oeuvres, keeping the party goers snacking all night. Tables scattered out on the Courtyard provided plenty of space for the beautiful cake, DJ and a bartender.  By having a more casual style reception the evening flowed effortlessly without the rigidity of a more structured formal reception and the guests had a fantastic time.

Check to see if your event date is available and get rate information

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The Castle Tea Room | 1307 Massachusetts Street | Lawrence, KS | Phone: (785) 843-1151