Post # 1
Our wedding is fairly non-traditional with our wedding ceremony happening around 6:30 or 7:00 pm.. and our ‘reception’ to follow directly afterwards.
We don’t love the idea of a sit down dinner, and are leaning more towards a cocktail party- style wedding. Our venue offers passed canapes, ‘more than a bite’ canapes, and food stations.. we will have ample food and open bar. What I’m looking for is feedback about timing, guest experience, potential problems that could arise etc..
Have you attending a wedding like this/ hosted a wedding like this?
Any advice, feedback, criticism would be helpful!
Post # 3
I have been to several. They are fun but if they are too long, I get exhausted shuffling everything (clutch, drink, food, etc). Also if there aren’t enough tall tables (which often happens) it can be inconvenient to eat.
My FI loves that style of party so much though we are doing it for our rehearsal “dinner” – logisitally it would be too hard at our wedding (elderly relatives)
Post # 4
@KC-2722: We did this and we actually did one of our ceremonies at the venue as well. It was awesome- everyone said it was the best wedding they’d ever been to (and I believe it, as we had to kick out 70% of our guests 1+ hours after the event was over!)
We had plenty of seating, but people stood most of the time. We did stationary and passed food and made sure we got TONS of food.
The only “issue” we ran into was people crashing the party as it was a buyout of a fairly popular destination bar in our city. We had a hostess and my DOC was keeping an eye out, but we still had people try to sneak in. It was hardly a problem, though. We had a great time and would do it again in a heartbeat.
Post # 5
I have but it was a normal reception. So there were tables for everyone. They just had a heavy appetizer menu. I loved it because I love apps and I love grazing. The more variety I get to try the better! As long as there is enough to eat and there are heavy options you will be full. I was very full!
I did go to another that was a cocktail style…so there were only some tall tables in the reception/dancing area. There were tables during the dinner but that was in a separate room from the music/dancing. I wasn’t a huge fan of that because I don’t want to be on my feet for 4-5+ hours. It was a standard length reception.
So I would love it as far as the food goes, just make sure you have enough and heavy options. I would prefer seating to be available for everyone though.
Post # 6
@CaroBee: Thank you! Seating is a must (for elderly relatives/ high heel wearers). Our venue is quite large compared to our guest count so we’re able to have ample seating.. so while the food will be passed, you don’t have to necessarily stand and eat it.
@bkrocks13: Haha, never even thought about that. Our venue is also a popular spot, but the actual room we’re using is through a private entrance so hopefully that serves as a buffer. And lots of food? CHECK!
@kes18: Yeah, the only thing I was leary about was people getting tired of standing, our space is one large room and we should have enough seats for everyone. I like that idea, because I anticipate my own feet to be quite tired as well.
Post # 7
you will need to start it a little later in the evening. starting your wedding at prime dinner time with make people think they are getting a full meal.
start your ceremony at 7:30, so people will have time to eat dinner before coming your ceremony. then they can party all night with cocktails and hor dourves
ETA: i reread. not sure if i understand. so you are having stations and passed hor dourves, enough food for a meal but not a seated meal. that is not strange and works very well.
Post # 8
@ajillity81: We’re looking to provide enough options/ food to serve as dinner. So while the meal would not be sit down per se, it would be the size of an average dinner and people could choose to mingle, sit, or stand at a high top.
However, I’m not opposed to the idea of starting even later.. def something we haven’t thought of. I would love to get married by candle light (which would look better if its fully dark outside) but apparently thats difficult to photograph.
Post # 9
Our wedding was like this! It was from 7pm-10pm with food stations and passed hordourves and an open bar and cupcakes. Everyone loved it. We had a mixture of high tables and couches as well as the actual bar.
The only problem we had was my cousin who drank too much- but that had nothing to do with it being a cocktail style wedding.
Post # 10
Also, love the idea of couches. I’ll have to check in with my venue to see if I can do that. They would probably take up less space than a full table and chairs.
Post # 11
The one advantage that a sit down dinner has is that it gives YOU a chance to sit down and eat. I would make sure your cater/cordinator/or appointed friend makes sure to give you time to eat. There will be so many happy people at your wedding, that if you don’t have someone rope you off for food, you will either not get a chance to eat, or totally forget to eat.
Post # 12
@KC-2722: as long as you have enough food, start anytime you want. i’ve been to a few of those style weddings and they are fine.
just make sure they don’t run out of food, that is the worst.
when we were pricing our wedding, i wanted to do stations, etc. it turned out it was a lot more expensive than a sit down dinner (and we served filet and crabcake) because with a seated dinner, the kitchen knows exactly how much to make for each plate. with buffet, stations, etc, you need to make way more food not knowing how much is going to be eaten.
Post # 13
@Misswhowedding: That’s a really good point.. I’ve heard thats a reality for most brides. My mom is always on me about proper eating so she’ll be the perfect person to put in charge of my meal.
@ajillity81: I’m hoping to have too much as opposed to too little, that would be a nightmare! I don’t want anything resembling a buffet so we would be heavy on the passed canapes, which we order in advance.. I wonder how they’d proceed if we run out and need more. I’ll have to ask. Stations would be a raw bar and cheese/ charcuterie.
Post # 14
Our wedding was similar to @eeniebeans. We had our ceremony at a Catholic church at 6:00 pm. It was sunset and by the time the ceremony ended at around 7 or so, it was dark. Our guests arrived at the venue around 7:15 pm and we had an appetizer buffet out. Since we’re in the South and had our reception at a brewery, we served heavy Southern bar food. We did brisket sliders with bacon jam, fried green tomato sliders, pretzels with beer cheese, hot brown crostini, roasted veggies, etc.
We also had a completely open bar (microbrew beer, wine, and well liquor). For seating we did half pub tables (5 tops), 1/3 regular rectangular tables (there were about 4 of these that sat 8) and an area of lounge furniture in front of the fireplace (couches and comfy chairs). We probably had seating for 75 and had around 100 guests.
It was PERFECT. Our guests loved it. It was very chic and natural. Everyone just mingled and ate little bits and drank A LOT. I was worried about the flow, but I shouldnt’ have been. Our DJ did a great job of keeping everything moving. We really loved it because all of our friends and families from different groups got to mingle and hang out. Plus, there was at on of dancing. Since people didn’t feel the need to sit and chat, many more people were up mingling and dancing. It definitely had a very organic, party type feel. Here’s my timeline that we used:
Guests arrive at Reception / Cocktail Hour
Bridal Party Announced
Bride/Groom Thank You and Meal Blessing
Best Man and MOH Speeches
Open Dance Floor
Post # 15
I’m having a very similar wedding! 7:30 ceremony upstairs then straight into the party.
Is Not cheaper. Food actually worked out more than a sit down because I’m paranoid that people won’t get enough to eat. Your booze bill will likely be higher as well since there is easy access to the bar.
I ended up having seating for everyone as well as a seating plan. My mom convinced me that ladies like a place to put their purse and the elderly like their own seat. … fair enough.
The only other thing is centerpieces. What you like may not work on a big empty table. Remember that your tables won’t be set with plates and cutlery. However, the set up allows you to do some different and fin things.
Overall, I think it is a wonderful idea and a great set up for a party. Just remember to give as many people the heads up about your plan. people embrace new ideas when they are prepared for them.
Post # 16
@MrsRight: Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like your DJ played a big role in the flow of the evening.. This makes me feel really confident as our DJ is (allegedly) AMAZING! We’re not doing a lot of things you did, but I was wondering how to keep the things we are doing on track.
@Callie_Starr: Yeah we know it won’t be cheaper, I’m ok with that. I really want the raw bar the venue offers and with just under 60 guests.. doing a sit down dinner AND apps (we would need alternatives to the raw bar as well) would’ve been too heavy.
Great point about centerpieces! I’ve been wondering how to go about this.. luckily my florist is one of my closest friends so I’m able to take her to the venue and have her make suggestions based on our layout. What I like may be too minimalist for empty tables.
Also, the heads up! I like that idea, most of our family and friends know that we won’t be going traditional and have been excited about what we’re planning. I’ll make sure to mention the cocktail style whenever an invitee asks about how our planning is going. Thank you!