(Closed) Anyone having a cocktail/hor’deourve-only reception?

posted 9 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
Member
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

As long as there’s enough food, it should be fine!  Hors d’oeuvres receptions can be a lot of fun, and the food is often way better than a standardard plated chicken dinner.  My one suggestion is to maybe avoid having assigned seating.  Usually hors d’oeuvres receptions lend themselves to mingling, and wandering about the room, so there isn’t a whole lot of sitting in one place for an extended period.  Assigned seating could maybe throw off that casual vibe. 

Your dj/ mc should be able to help with a timeline for toasts, and things. 

Post # 5
Member
161 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

on a related note, we are having a welcome event that we want to be just drinks and hors d’oeuvres (8-10pm).  in order to make sure people don’t leave hungry, what have you heard in terms of how many pieces per person? thanks in advance for any input!

Post # 6
Member
473 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

We are having a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres only reception. Our ceremony will be at 7 pm, with the reception to follow.  I think no matter what you do, it’s fine… especially if there is enough food. Be sure to include on your invite that it is a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception.  Also, consider having a little later ceremony, if possible. If you’re too close to dinner time, it makes things tough. 

 

Good luck!!!

Post # 8
Member
3526 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I just had this discussion with a coworker the other day through UNsolicited advice. His feelings as a guest to a cocktail only reception is that he really liked it. He thought it was really elegant and he did not leave feeling unsatisfied. That being said he did not travel for the wedding.

For us, everyone single one of our guests will be travelling for the wedding. Personally, I feel that if our guests are going to spend the money and time to celebrate with us they deserve more than a 2hour cocktail reception. I’m just generally speaking here because I haven’t looked that far into cocktail receptions. But I think they are generally shorter? But your situation is probably different. Maybe you only have a couple out of town guests.

I’m thinking most guests will not feel dissatisfied with a cocktail only reception as long as you provide enough food. If people are going to be at your ceremony then the cocktail reception afterwards they really are not going to have time to leave and have dinner if that’s what your expecting? So I think you should still make sure you guests get filled properly.

I think every situation is different so you should do what is best for you & you fiance and most financially comfortable. Good Luck!

Post # 9
Member
350 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

I think it’s a great idea, very chic and fun!  But can I make a suggestion?  A 6pm ceremony followed by a 7pm reception is smack over the dinner hour, and may lead some guests to assume you’ll be serving dinner.  If you really don’t want to change the timing, you should be careful to specify "hors d’oeuvres and cocktails" on the reception card or on the invitation like lara_bee suggested.  Also, I agree with bluegreenjean about the assigned seating — if people are going to be visiting various food stations and noshing on bite-sized hors d’oeuvres, assigned seating seems unnecessary, especially if you both hate the sit-down dinner vibe.  (Is there a specific reason you really want assigned seating?)

I think it will be pretty easy to keep the "flow" going — you can budget around 45 minutes-1 hour for general nibbling and mingling among the guests, then have the DJ announce toasts, cake cutting, and first dance.  You should be able to follow a pretty traditional dinner reception timeline — just cut out the "dinner" part and move right from the cocktail hour to the toasts and dancing!

Post # 11
Member
1105 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

We are doing the cocktail/hors d’oeuvres reception also.  Our ceremony is at 6:30 pm.  I was worried about being so close to dinner time, but have asked around and everyone thinks it is a great idea.  We will of course note this in our invitations on either a separate card or included in our map and hotel information.  I think as long as they know ahead of time, then it will be great.  Besides we will have plenty of hors d’oeuvres for guests to munch on.  We aren’t doing assigned seating we just thought it was a little too hard to figure out with no dinner being served, this way guests can mingle and dance the night away!!  Good luck to everyone!!

Post # 12
Member
11 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: July 2009

One of my friends got married a year ago and on their invitation it said “hors d’oeuvres reception immediately following” My fiance is an eater, so we were a little worried. When I think of hors d’oeuvres in my head I see waiters walking around with trays and bite sized pieces. We were nervous that there wouldn’t be enough food to even feel like a meal. Boy were we wrong! We got there after the wedding let me tell you, it was the most AMAZING spread of food I have ever seen! There was probably only 3 tables, set up buffet style in one long line that had everything…shrimp, mini crab cakes, mini chicken cordon bleu, meatballs, spinach dip, vegetables, tea sandwiches, fruits, etc. We left feeling very satisfied, but it was nice because we weren’t overly stuffed. It was at that moment that I knew that was what I wanted at my wedding. I love the idea of hors d’oeuvres even for dinner. If you have enough food, people will be happy. Plus, I want people to mingle…and who wants to eat really heavy foods, all while drinking and dancing?!?!

That being said, in pricing caterers I have found that it is a little more expensive than a buffet style dinner. The caterers have told me depending on how many options you have you will need 2-3 pieces per person. But with things like shrimp, 6-8 per person…Also, don’t trust the “feeds x amount of people” that the trays from places like Sam’s Club says. I was a little freaked out that a cheese platter that only feeds 35 people was $49.99. I was thinking that my idea of hors d’eouvres was impossible, but she told me that it would only feed 35 people if that was the ONLY thing those 35 people had to eat…in all reality it will feed 3x that…

It was still looking to be pretty expensive (at least for our budget) so I called my friend and she filled me in on her secret 🙂 She found a caterer that was willing to make some of the food from scratch and they bought the rest of the food from Sam’s/Costco. I had no idea that the shrimp, mini crab cakes, mini chicken cordon bleu (which was AMAZING btw) and pretty much everything else was purchased from Sam’s. I would have NEVER in a million years guessed that it was. So I was on a mission to find someone similar…

I found a few people that are going to cater for me for less and here is our menu (with a lot from Sam’s)

Veggies

Mini Fruit Kabobs

Pinwheels

Sausage/Cheese platter

Crackers

Cheese ball (my mom makes a really good one, so we’re going to make like 10 of these a few days before)

SHRIMP!! Love me some shrimp

Mini Quiche

Spinach Dip/Salsa/Chips

Mini Beef Taquitos

Boneless wings (easy to eat with toothpicks)

Panko breaded chicken tenders

& Pulled pork with mini rolls for small sandwiches

Really all I am paying the caterer to do is cook and platter the food and keep it stocked, which has saved me a TON of money, I think like $1000, which is worth it. We are going to have them in 3 stations (cold, hot, & BBQ) to encourage mingling and conversation. Sorry this is so long, but I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions…

Post # 13
Member
7053 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

I love this kind of wedding!  I think it allows for more socialization of the guests, a more fun, laid back atmosphere, yet is also very elegant if there are butler passed appetizers too.

I think that dancing and entertainment fits best in with these kinds of receptions also.  You could save $$ by having only a few passed items, and the rest at buffet stations..

 

Post # 14
Member
161 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

lindseylou–We’re having the welcome event in lieu of a rehearsal dinner so that everyone can join in.  Otherwise, I would have had a rehearsal dinner and a late-night cocktail hour that welcomed everyone, from like 9-11 at a bar or something.  I like the hors d idea because it allows people to mingle and is more casual.

 I did some research on the internet and saw that planners should estimate 10 pieces per person if the hors d will be substituting for a meal.   While my welcome event is only 2 hours, it does fall during people’s dinner hours so I feel like I should also plan for 10 pieces–and yes, it does get expensive!

 Let us know what you decide!

Post # 15
Member
473 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

Honestly, for us, the reason we are doing the appetizer reception vs. dinner is twofold. One reason is obvious, BUDGET!, and the other is because we don’t want our guests confined to a table for an hour or more.  We want them to mingle and have fun! 

 Speaking of budget… we are not going to have 10 pieces per guest. (That’s kind of a lot!)  Instead, we are cutting costs by having a veggie tray, fruit & Cheese tray and a Bruschetta and olive display.  On top of that, we are passing around 3 – 4 appetizers.  We feel that this should be enough. On top of that, we have a dessert table as well. This should be plenty, considering we are stating clearly on the invite that it is a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception.

 

Post # 16
Member
6009 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

I think quantities of hors d’oeuvres might really depend on your guests and what they’re used to/how much they regularly eat.  My Fi and I have been to lots of appetizer only events, and I can tell you that he eats probably eats 10 pieces an hour.  He’s a big guy (6’3" and 225 llbs), and he refills his plate 4-5 times over the course of a 3-4 hour party.  I, on the other hand, would fit more into the 10 pieces for the entire length of the party scenario.  In a case like this, I would want to overestimate on food to make sure no one leaves hungry, rather than take a chance that someone wouldn’t get enough to eat.  And if your guests are used to a full, sit-down dinner, they might eat more than the average person who is used to hors d’eouvres receptions.

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