Post # 1
I will be having a cocktail reception for my wedding..Both for monetary reasons as well as preference to mingling rather than a heavy sit down dinner. I was wondering who else has had a true cocktail reception- as in no full meal served. We will be having our ceremony around 7-730, then straight into passed apps ( 8-10 pp) from around 8-1130 and then well be doing late night grilled cheese/poutine/sliders and a dessert/candy bar…. My worry is that for those that are not big drinkers the night will feel kind of aimless. if anyone has done something similar I’d love to hear your experience. I’ve considered doing some food stations to kind of change things up a bit around 9 but it wills cost us like 3k more….do you think the timeline of 730 ceremony, 8-1130 passed canapés, 1130 late night food and dessert/candy bar will be boring? There will be speeches, first dance, probably a slide show etc in between all of this and we have a dj so lots of dancing…also full open bar. any experiences anyone has had would be great! It’s also on a Friday night if that makes a difference… We wanted more of a party then “dinner and dancing”. Thanks!!!
Post # 3
That’s really not enough food. Your ceremony starts right in the middle of dinner time!
Post # 4
@Elledee4: Elaborate on the passed canapés – how many will you be serving?
If you’re worried about it not being enough, why not reallocate the late night food to be served with the canapés. You can still have dessert served later.
Post # 5
@ImmaBee: 8-10 passed canapés per person…..they will be heavier appetizers. @horseradish – I asked my event coordinator if we asked people to arrive between 7-730 a ceremony starting at 730 whether they would be expecting a meal and she said no…as long as we communicate on the inviites as well. Also, because the 10 appetizers are all larger (think a slider burger x 10 per person ) she said it would be plenty of food ( i originally suggested 15 pp and she said it was overboard…..I guess better too much than not enough). To be honest, I’m less worried about the amount of food and more worried about the general flow of the night and whether people will feel bored… I thouget a couple of food stations might just be a change of atmosphere. I can up the food amount if it comes down to quantity being the issue, but do you think that doing only passed apps until later in the night will be boring for guests?
Post # 6
@Horseradish any suggestions for food amounts? we will have a table with artisanal cheeses, breads, crackers, spreads and veggies… Plus 10 heavy appetizers per person between 8 -11ish… Then the late night grilled cheese/ poutine/ tacos (haven’t decided exactly what food we want yet) we will notify guests that it is drinks and appetizers only…. I guess everyone’s view on the food situation is different… Personally, i get bored and over stuffed at sit down receptions so this sounds ideal to me…. I do understand that other people really look forward to a great meal at weddings…. Tough to please everyone!
Post # 7
@Elledee4: I think your food amounts sound fine, but I get what you’re saying about the flow. I think it might work better if you have ~2 stations set up, and then have passes appetizers to supplement.
I’d be pleased as punch if I were a guest at your wedding with that many food options. I love variety!
Post # 8
@Elledee4: Are there going to be places to sit?
Post # 9
@Elledee4: we did exactly what you’re describing basically and we had too much food! We had 100ish people and we planned basically 6 different stationary apps for 150 people, and then 6 heavier passed hors dourves each for 100, plus pie for our wedding cake. We ended up with way too much food (which was a good thing.) We also did it from 7-midnight and made it very clear on our invitations and website that no formal sit-down meal would be served
Post # 10
OP, will there be any seating? Ppl typically don’t like to stand in heels for hours. Especially old ppl. Otherwise, I think everything sounds good.
Post # 11
I am doing a very similar thing for my reception. I’m having a few tables of fruits, cheeses, and anti pasta along with passed apps (8-10 per person). We are also doing an open bar of sorts… I am considering adding 2 food stations for later in the evening but am waiting on the estimate. I am hoping to have the food stations started a while into the reception to give people something different as the night goes on. However, the cost for this will be higher. So we still might have the food stations start at the same time. I have enough tables and chairs for everyone but I hope that people will be encouraged to mingle and move with the type of foods being served.
I also fear that non drinkers and dancers will be left out later in the evening and may leave. I’m not worried about having enough food.
Post # 12
Do you think the timeline… will be boring?
Not at all. Those 4 hours will FLY BY. It was all a whirlwind and our events lasted twice as long than what you’re planning- and our guests STILL had an amazing time (or so they tell me).
Just make sure everyone is comfortable with cocktail tables and pockets of seating scattered around, along with a couple of sit-down tables for those with tired feet. The party idea sounds like fun!
Post # 13
@sarahuccs: good! ive asked all my friends and they agree….i know my younger guests will love this sort of thing….I was more worried about some of the adults
@BooBooBee: thats exactly what were doing….i think I will be moving the “late night” station up to 11 though…so 8-10 passed apps per person and cheese/veggies/fruit table from 8pm-1030pm, then open up the late night stuff a bit earlier (11pm) so those that are hungry can eat for the next hour or so…people at a wedding past 12 I find are usually just drinking any dancing anyways, so might as well serve earlier so the whole crowd can enjoy.
@IzzyBear: @LilRhodyGem: definitely will be seating…havent worked out all the numbers yet…probably around 180 guests and based on what my event planner has said I think I will have seating for between 50-70% of the group.
@ImmaBee: I also love variety!
Thanks everyone! After hearing what you’ve had to say and speaking about it more with my friends, I feel pretty confident that the night won’t leave people standing around aimlessly…with speeches, dancing, a prop photobooth, optional tours of the brewery where we are having our reception, and a funny slideshow – not to mention free flowing drinks 😉 – i think the night will flow smoothly with lots of things to keep people entertained 🙂
Post # 14
You should read Mrs. Fox’s posts (a blogger bee from last year). She had exactly what you are describing, and you could probably get some good ideas about what worked and what didn’t.
Post # 15
I am having a 4 hour cocktail dinner as well. I would make it clear on the invitation that its a cocktail dinner, that way people will know its not a formal sit down dinner. I also thought about maybe having a photobooth to keep people entertained but I am still debating that.