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Once you've chosen your site, you'll need to plan the menu, make decisions about the bar and find a caterer who will pull all of this together. The first thing to take into consideration is the time of day your wedding will take place. If the reception will begin in the late afternoon or evening, guests will expect a full meal. It's also traditional to host a cocktail hour beforehand. Here are some of the options available to you:

- A brunch or breakfast. Think: coffee and tea; fresh juice; champagne or mimosas; pastries, muffins and breads; crepes or omletes.
- Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. If it's a pre-dinner or late-evening wedding, you can serve elegant nibbles and drinks, plus champagne and cake.
- Dessert party. Again, a later-evening wedding (your guests will already have eaten dinner) can be a delicious spread, with coffees, teas and champagne.
- Buffet dinner. The options for food are virtually limitless. The best thing is to visit caterers to sample foods you like.
- Sit-down dinner. This is most traditional and, again, the food options abound.

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