Post # 1
We’re getting married in 4 months and we’re planning on having a cocktail and appetizer reception. The ceremony will be at 3:45 ish and planned on having the reception at a restaurant 15 mins away at 5PM to 7PM. We’ll have music, sit down tables, pub style tables and an open bar (I think) but no dancing. We will however have cupcakes and a candy bar.
We’re estimating about 75-100 people come. I need your opinion, please.
Do you think 6 appetizers each person will be enough?
Do you think 5-7 is an appropriate time?
Do i need to do a lot of decorating?
Is there anything else i should be worried about?
Is it going to be weird for people that we’re just doing cocktails and appetizer for a couple of hours with no dancing? We’ll have introduction & a toast… but other than that, i was just hoping people would mingle.
Post # 3
That sounds like fun! As for the 6 appetizers per person im not really sure. Depends how filling they are, that doesnt sound like enough for my family though. With an open bar people tend to eat more than they would when not drinking. its good youre having desserts though. 5-7 sounds like a good time because its inbetween lunch and dinner. However, its closer to dinner so people might start to get hungry. If you are worried about budgeting for food 4-6 might be better. As for the decorating it depends on the vibe you are going for and how the restaurant is decorated.
I think cocktails and appetizers is fine as long as ppl know ahead of time and you state it on your invite.
Post # 4
Since the reception is during a meal time, you need to have the equivalent of a meal which is 15-20 pieces per person minimum. A plated meal is the equivalent of 6 pieces per person and people will go home starving. Anytime, even a regular meal time, is acceptable to have this. You just adjust the food servings to fit the time of day it is held.
You can decorate however you want. There is no need to have place settings at the tables obviously. However, seating (tables and chairs) for EVERY guest is a *must*. Some people will tell you that you only need seating for a percentage but that is incorrect and people will leave early if they feel uncomfortable and that you are not being a proper host, which includes not having enough seats.
Post # 5
It might be more helpful to think in terms of “servings” rather than pieces. For example, a serving of sweet and sour meatballs would probably be 3 pieces. Because you are overlapping dinner, I would suggesting having 15 – 20 servings of food per person. Also, are you planning heavy or light hors d’oeuvres? That makes a difference too!
Post # 6
To differentiate between heavy and light appetizers:
Heavy: meatballs, chicken strips, carving stations, coconut shrimp, eggrolls, etc. Pretty much all appetizers that you can find in the frozen section at Costco or on a caterer’s menu.
Light: Cheese trays, fruit and veggie platters, finger sandwiches, crackers with dips. These cover all of the light appetizers, and anything else is considered heavy since you can make a full meal with just a handful of heavy appetizers.
Post # 7
No, I don’t think 6 sounds like enough. You’d probably want upwards of ten. I’m trying to imagine myself satisfied with a one piece of cheese, one chicken strip, a coupl ethings of veggies, an eggroll, one coconut shrimp, and a meatball. Not gonna work, especially if I am drinking. If you had multiple servings of these per person, that could work. But definitely one of each won’t.
Post # 8
I love the idea and the timing. Guests who don’t get their fill can go to dinner at 7:30 or 8pm, and that’s a perfect dinner time (for a night out anyway). Maybe a simple crudites/fruit/bread table could supplement the passed apps?
As far as decor, I think you should put some thought into it since you aren’t doing some other traditional wedding activities (dancing, throwing flowers and underwear around the room, etc.). Use decor to make it personal and more wedding-like than an average cocktail party.
It depends on your venue, but I’d still pursue centerpieces on at least some of the tables, candlelight (it should be dark around that time in October, right?), maybe some framed engagement photos on the tables . . .
A photobooth or other quirky feature might occupy guests as they mingle, too.
Oh, and ditto Ember on having enough seating. Although I tend to think the lounge thing is overdone now, lounge seating would work perfectly for a cocktail reception, in lieu of (or addition to) pub tables?
Post # 9
We are looking into a cocktail reception but a four hour reception… my caterer suggested 10-15 pieces per person… so 6 might work. Are you having stations?
Post # 10
You might consider making the time earlier or later to allow people to eat dinner. Also be sure to mention that it’s a cocktail reception in the invites so that people plan ahead and eat before or have plans after. You might have a non-alcoholic signature drink so that people don’t get overly tipsy and eat all of the food.
For the numbers, we had a full meal that began with passed apps during cocktail hour. They had 5 pieces per person and a table with cheeses and flatbreads. You’ll probably want to have more apps, like 10 pp.