When couples host a champagne and cake reception, they can save up to 75 percent of the cost of a traditional reception, according to Sharon Naylor, the author of "How to Have a Fabulous Wedding for $10,000 or Less." A champagne and cake reception typically costs anywhere from $8 to $20 a person, depending on the detail of your cake and the quality of your champagne; however, if you add a dessert buffet along with other beverages, the price increases to $15 to $35 per person, according to 2014 information provided by the Knot WeddingChannel website.
It's a good idea to host a champagne and cake reception immediately after a late afternoon or late evening ceremony so guests will have a chance to eat first and won't be hungry. A champagne and cake reception is typically served buffet style. If it's an evening affair specify if the dress is formal.
While you can host a champagne reception at any venue, consider holding it at a local bed and breakfast, a hotel penthouse, an art gallery, or the gardens of a family estate. The reception setting dictates the ambiance so light the fireplace, string twinkling lights in the gardens and trees, and decorate the venue with fragrant blooms and glittering candles for a formal, elegant look.
Select the highest quality champagne if you are hosting an intimate affair, while you should choose fine quality but affordable selections if the reception includes a larger number of guests. Add a splash of fruit juice and fresh fruit, such as peach nectar and peach slices, to champagne flutes for an extra touch. Put name tags on the champagne flutes so guests won't lose their drinks.
While your wedding cake should be the main attraction, you can also offer healthier options to accompany it such as fresh fruit or sorbet. Set up a dessert table incorporating other desserts and pastries like apple tarts, miniature strawberry shortcakes, miniature eclairs, tiramisu, monogrammed cookies and truffles. Arrange the desserts creatively, such as serving the tiramisu in a martini glass. Set out a chocolate fountain with various berries, sponge cake and shortbread for dipping.
Hire a jazz trio to play background music during the reception for an elegant touch, or if money is tight, play classical music over the venue's sound system. This music will help set the ambiance for slow dancing as well. For those who prefer other beverages besides champagne, offer flavored coffee, cappuccinos, espressos and teas. Set up a coffee bar with flavored syrups, whipped cream and other toppings to accompany the drinks during dessert.