Post # 1
Hi lovely bees, a few questions for those who have had/been to/are having/know about cocktail receptions.
We are doing our reception this way as it will allow us to invite 70 people instead of 50 for a traditional sit-down meal (basically means we can invite friends as well as family). There will be 3 hours of finger food (gourmet quiches, sushi, mini pastry cups full of things, smoked salmon bruschetta etc) as well as hot fork dishes served in noodle boxes (vegetarian hokkein stir fry, beef and mushrooms in red wine sauce on mash, tandoori chicken and rice, etc). We are also going to have a cake buffet (10 different cakes from the Cheesecake shop if any Aussies are reading thing) instead of a single wedding cake. So overall I think there will be plenty of food – I’m not really stressed about that part.
My qeustions are these:
Will people get bored? We will still do the traditional parts of a reception (cake cutting, first dance, speeches etc), but what does everyone do in the down time? Just mingle? Would that annoy you personally if there was nothing else really planned? I guess in a sit-down reception the time is segragated to before meal, meal and after meal, so the feel is different. We are having a photo booth and I love dancing so there will definitely be dancing tunes and a decent dance floor for people to amuse themselves with, as well as a balcony overlooking the river, some lakes, and some beautiful city lights. Should I even be worried about people getting bored?
Are people more likely to leave early? If we were to start at 5.30-6pm, and have a 4 hour drinks package, would it go to waste – would we be better off going 3 hours and if people still want to drink after that they can pay for their own?
What would the timing look like? Would we just pick random times to do the traditional things?
I guess I’m just having a bit of trouble logistically because I’ve never personally been to a wedding like this! Thanks for any advice or suggestions you might be able to give!
Post # 3
I don’t have a ton of experience with this kind of reception, but I’m bumping this in hope that someone can help you out! 🙂
Post # 5
I don’t think people will get bored, but I’m biased, as I’m doing a cocktail reception as well (3.5 hour length – in the afternoon)! I feel like with the down time, there will be lots of mingling! We do have assigned seats only to ensure that everyone has a seat should they choose to eat sitting down or sit down and chat for a bit, but the guests are free to roam the room and visit and chat with others at other tables 🙂 If it may help, I’ll comment back to this after my cocktail reception (this Sunday) with an update of how things went 🙂
Best of luck!
Post # 6
As for the traditional elements (first dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, speeches, cake cutting), we generally have an order for those events to occur in. I know that our dances will be back to back, and then the speeches and the cake cutting will be some time in the middle (and/or) end respectively.
We do have an MC (emcee?), who will “orchestrate” this events into our reception with the proper time for each.
I just have a feeling it will be a lot of mingling, with the tradition elements (hopefully) seamlessly entered into the mix 🙂 I hope!
Hope this helped!
Post # 7
@christoffels: We had a cocktail reception, and here’s how our unfolded:
6:00 – our guests arrived. We had food out and available for them, and the DJ played a mix of jazz/big band music
6:20ish – wedding party and family arrived. The DJ continued to play the same jazz music. We mingled with our guests, guests drank and chatted with each other. everyone was having fun.
8:00ish – we cut the cake, did our first dance and the dances with our mothers. The Dj switched to dance music, and the real party started.
We left around 11pm, but the party continued on without us for another 2+ hours.
No one was bored at our reception. Many of our friends don’t all get together that often (people have busy lives) so they enjoyed being able to catch up and visit. everyone, including us, had a blast. I would FAR prefer that format than spending 2 hours at a table with the same 6 or 8 people for all that time. But that is just my preference.
Post # 8
my question is….are there going to be places for everyone to sit down? My cousin had an appetizer reception and honestly, I thought it was great!! Everyone could help themeslves and you could get up at anytime and get your food….there were really no lines because of the way they had the food tables set up. They still had the traditional tables for everyone to sit at though….if they hadn’t had that, it would have been difficult and not very enjoyable.
I can’t really remember (she got married 2 years ago) how long the food was out for before they started dancing etc. If memory serves I think they left the food out the whole time…even during the dancing (they had one large room)…it worked out really good.
I think as long as you have seating for everyone and the food is always available…you should be fine…just my opinion though.
Post # 9
We’re doing a cocktail reception for the same reason (dinner fits 120, CR fits 200, we’re inviting around 180).
Our ceremony is elsewhere during the day (gaps are super common where we’re from).
our reception timeline is:
615p- bridal party and parents show up
630- doors open, receiving line (just bride/groom/MOB/FOB).
630- bar opens, food is out
645/7- bridal party intros, we eat, mingle
7- cake cut, photo booth opens
730- first dance, parent dances, speeches
dance floor opens, dance music begins. Prior to this our dj will be playing soft rock and other songs we like but aren’t danceable.
Post # 10
I think as long as you have enough seats for everyone to sit and some music people will stay all night.
Post # 11
I attended one wedding like this, and the reception began a few hours after the ceremony ended to allow people to leave and go have dinner and then return to the venue for the rest of the evening’s events.
Everyone seemed to have a good time at this wedding and reception. My husband was the officiant, and the wedding was for an extended family member, so we actually stayed at the venue until it was time for the reception, so I really didn’t have anything to do for a few hours. However, that was not the case with the majority of the guests.
I actually am scheduled to attend a cocktail reception later this year, and I anticipate that it will be lovely.
Post # 12
We’re having one on Friday, so I’ll let you know 😉
Post # 13
Other than a DJ, what other types of entertainment would be appropriate fro a cocktail wedding? I dont know how many of my guests are dancers.
Post # 14
We just had ours on Friday and there were about 50 guests. We just had two open bars, finger foods, and an ice cream bar. Even though we had a dance floor and music, people spent 90% of the time catching up with each other and mingling. We also played a slideshow from over the years which looped after 30 min and people seemed to really enjoy that. If you also have a photobooth, I think it will be just fine!