(Closed) Cocktail party as a wedding reception….. THOUGHTS???

posted 9 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
259 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I’ve been to a couple weddings like this. the older people weren’t impressed. They just wanted tables and a real meal. Many of the younger people had fun, but still would have liked a chair to set their purse and coat at. So, I would say, you know your guests best! What would they enjoy?

Post # 4
184 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Sounds like a blast to me. I’d love it.

Post # 5
982 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

My sister did it and it was great! There was plenty of food and a more relaxed vibe than a traditional sitdown dinner.

There were plenty of highball tables and a few larger more traditional tables and chairs. We put reserved tags on a few tables to make sure the grandparents and older crowd still had seats. 

Post # 6
1875 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I think it would be perfectly fine!  Just make sure you have it at a non-meal time.  I’d be annoyed as a guest if I went to a reception during dinner and was just fed apps.  I would also make sure that you do have some regular tables and chairs for older guests.

Post # 7
70 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I would say as long as you do have plenty of food and seating you should be fine.

I was just at a wedding/cocktail reception on Saturday and my feet were SO swollen from standing for so many hours. They did not have nearly enough seating or food for all of the people.


It was a great idea though and I think with the right execution it could be a fantatsic time. Good luck!

Post # 8
205 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

i was a bridesmaid in a wedding like this. it was fun but there was NOT enough food. we were starved. drinking on an empty stomach is a bad idea haha. make sure theres a TON of passed food–also, no one really danced because there was nowhere to sit & our feet hurt! 

so a little seating and a lot of food might be a good thing.

Post # 9
317 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I’m doing this, but there will be extra seating available (since the seating will be open).  All of my guests will for at 6 tables, but the venue is setting up 8 so people can mingle and move around.  

I knew I’ve wanted to do it this way ever since I went to my first wedding, and I filled up on the yummy apps and then they put a big plate of dinner in front of me, and I almost felt sick just looking at it.  I said then – heaps of apps and desserts at my wedding.  That’s it!

Oh, and my wedding is from 3-7 pm, so even though the venue promised no one will go home hungry, people can still go out to dinner afterwards if they wish.

Post # 10
295 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

I think its a great idea! Been to a wedding before like this and it was awesome and laid back but still dressy and classy. Just make sure your guests know there wont be a sit down dinner on the invitations you could just say “reception to follow with heavy appetizers” or whatever and I see no problem, I think people my age (27) prefer receptions like that because you can still do the dances, speeches etc but the guests arent tied to their chair (you all know as a wedding guest when the speeches start to get too long you start asking “holy when is this done I want a drink haha” I say go for it and have fun the way you want but yes providing chairs and tables for the older guests would be a great touch!

Post # 11
3214 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

That’s exactly how our wedding was. We had it at my mom’s house, which has a fairly big, open-floor-plan first floor. We had a backyard ceremony, followed by cocktails outside, then moved inside for the main event. There were lots of passed apps, three food stations with entrees, plus sides, so there was no shortage of food. There were some low tables with chairs for older guests (although we didn’t have anyone frail in attendence; the oldest guest was 70 and more fit than most 40 year olds!). Other than that, there were high-top tables, couches, and chairs scattered around. People mixed, mingled, talked, ate, and drank. It was SO much fun. I had many guests (including my 67 year old aunt) tell me it was a blast.  Of course, I’m sure the people who didn’t have fun wouldn’t tell me, but since it was a pretty young crowd, everyone seemed to enjoy it.

It also helped that our wedding was small-ish – 55 guests in attendence.

Post # 12
2623 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Yes I been cocktail reception totally fun and I love it. My tips would be to put on your invites that it’s a cocktail and apps and your wedding should start a bit late to give people time to eat beofore they come. So staring around seven rather then at five or six.

Post # 13
3879 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I’d love it! Sounds good to me!

Post # 14
5229 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

Sounds like fun. Just make sure that you have the reception at a non-meal time. It would not be polite to host a reception without a dinner, no matter how heavy the hors d’ouevres, at say 6 or 7. Have the reception start between 2 and 4 so people can have dinner afterwards, or have the entire affair (wedding and reception) start at 8pm or later.

Post # 15
9168 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Not weird. I recently attended a wedding that had a cocktail reception.  Very heavy hor’derves were served (complete with carving station, pasta station, etc).  I definitely didn’t leave hungry!  I think it depends on your guest list though. Some older people would be super put off but this style.  As long as there is plenty of sitting room for elderly people though I don’t see a huge problem with it.  I always prefer the food at a cocktail hour over the actual plated meal anways, so I enjoy these types of weddings. 

Post # 16
1494 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013 - B&B

I am doing a cocktail reception! But I am providing enough seating (a mix of lounge style benches/couches, high tops, and regular round tables) so that hypothetically, everyone could sit down SOMEWHERE all at once. And we are planning on enough food so that no one will go hungry. Like, it will pretty much be as much food as you would need to feel full for dinner, just stations and hors d’eouvres all night instead of a big plate full all at once.

I say go for it! If it’s a vibe that fits you, then your friends and family will probably have a great time, as long as they are comfortable too 🙂

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