(Closed) Cocktail Reception

posted 5 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
Member
47377 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

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lucydoodle:  I don’t care what time they start as long as consideration is given to the fact that if the reception occurs over a normal mealtime, the heavy apps need to be enough to constitute a meal.

Post # 3
Member
7892 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I don’t feel satisfied after a meal of only heavy appetizers. It would be ok for a mid-afternoon reception to augment the previous and subsequent meals, but I wouldn’t consider it for a dinner reception. 

Post # 4
Member
1321 posts
Bumble bee

I could see it working as a late night affair. I’m assuming a cocktail reception would be shorter than the typical 4-5 ordeal. If your ceremony starts at 7:30, I think that would give enough time for guests to eat dinner before hand. Then you have (presumably) from 8-11 for the reception. 

Post # 5
Member
13903 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Either mid-afternoon, or late night (like starting at 8pm or so). Make it clear on your invitations that you aren’t having a meal so your guests know to eat before they come.

Post # 6
Member
2076 posts
Buzzing bee

Also keep in mind that you will need a seat for every butt and enough tables so that people have places to put down their personal items (phones, cameras, purses, etc) and easily eat their apps/drinks. 

And like a PP said, if you have this reception over a meal time then you will need enough heavy apps to constitute a meal, which may actually cost you more then just having a meal.

Post # 7
Member
954 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I’m having a cocktail reception and I’ve been to several. We are having our ceremony at 5pm and we have to be out of the venue by 11 (which would be the same if we had a seated dinner). We will make it clear on our invitations that it is cocktail reception. Our caterer allowed us to pick 7 appetizers, we chose 8. We are thinking of breaking it up a little and doing most of them at 630ish and doing the rest later in the evening, although I’m totaly sure on that yet.

The only obligation you have to your guests is good food and drinks, just like any wedding.

I’d disregard what the PP said about having seating at a talbe for every perosn. You should talk to and trust your caterer on this aspect. We will not have seats at at a table for every single person to sit at once. It’s unnecessary. We are having 6 -8 tables, half high and half low. The last cocktail reception I went to had no seating at tables and I didn’t even think about that until right now. No one complained. Talk to your caterer.

Through wedding planning, I’ve found out that I’m not a traditional bride – if you want to buck tradition, you can do it, but it can be difficult finding vendors that will work with you and share your vision.

Post # 8
Member
406 posts
Helper bee

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lucydoodle:  We had heavy appetizers at our wedding; the ceremony started at 6pm and the reception began at 6:45pm. We let everyone know on both the invitation and the website that it would be a cocktail reception. This is how we phrased it on our website: “The reception will include cocktails, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and dancing! This is a cocktail-style event; a few banquet and standing tables, but no assigned seating. We invite you to embrace the party vibe by moving around and mingling.” However, we also provided an an adequate amount of food with the help of our caterer, and we also made sure we had more hot items than cold.

Contrary to what you would think, we didn’t have “enough” seating. We had seating for a little over half of the invitees, and then cocktail tables. It all went over without a hitch, and people were raving about our wedding afterward because it felt more like a New Year’s Eve party. We had many comments on how it was relaxed, fun, and yet still very, very classy – and in the end, we had leftovers. All-in-all, I think cocktail receptions get a bad rap, but if you do them right, they can be a blast.

Post # 9
Member
2076 posts
Buzzing bee

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arquelle:  I never said that there had to be enough seats at tables for people to sit, but there should be enough seats for every butt around the venue, whether that be in the form of couches, chairs, stools, etc so that people can sit if they would like to.  Nothing is worse then to go somewhere and not have a place to sit or at least a place to put down my shit.  I am not a fan of eating heavy apps that will most likely require some utensils while balancing my drink, purse and coat/wrap in one hand.

ETA:  Having enough seats for all of your guests isn’t about tradition.  It is about being polite.

Post # 10
Member
954 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

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freckles071611:  Yes, but that assumes every single guest is gonig to want to sit at the exact same time. It’s not going to happen. It’s hard enough to get that to happen at a seated dinner.

Post # 11
Member
13903 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

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freckles071611:  I agree completely.  I get annoyed enough at a cocktail hour when I have to juggle plates, purses, and drinks, and can’t imagine having to do that the whole night.  

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arquelle:  Of course no one complains about not having enough seats — your guests are generally not rude enough to complain at your wedding.  But I guarantee this was a thought that crossed at least some minds.

Post # 12
Member
2076 posts
Buzzing bee

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arquelle:  But how will you know how many will actually want to sit at once?  Wouldn’t it be better to have a seat for everyone so people aren’t fighting over seats or just not getting up because they don’t want to lose their seat?  Better to be safe then sorry.

Post # 13
Member
2968 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

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lucydoodle:  I think cocktail receptions are fun! I’ve been to 2 weddings that were “cocktail receptions” and it’s a great way to mingle and they tend to have a more “party-like atmosphere”. Our cocktail hour was crazy and we had a lot of options- people said they wouldve been happy with just our cocktail hour, but we did a full reception.

I think that if you do a cocktail hour you need to have some stations with heavier foods. I wouldn’t just do passed hors d’oeuvres because people will get drunk FAST and a lot of them will be expecting some sort of meal not just finger foods.

Post # 14
Member
244 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2016 - New Orleans, LA

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lucydoodle:  I am doing a heavy hours’dervous reception.  Mine is turning out to be more of a buffet or a “tapas” style. Mini sandwiches, mashed poatoes, a carving station, 8 different passed hours’dervous, pasta station, salads, breads. My caterer said it actually comes out to be a bit more food than what is generally served on each plate at a seated dinner! So just work with your caterer.

My caterer suggested only chairs for half of my guests (which actually does seem to be the norm) but I am just terrified because I know my 100 guests; they are all close friends and family.  They will expect a dedicated seat to leave their purses, phones, etc at while they mingle and dance but will return to to eat at throughout the night.  I decided to get seating for all 100 at tables.

Post # 15
Member
954 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

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freckles071611:  Well, I was thinking of holding a raffle for seats…I will have the aforementioned tables and benches. So if every single guest at my wedding wants to sit at the same time, it would be possible. It’s just not going to happen. We want our wedding to be a party not a “wedding” – when I go to parites, I eat and drink and often do not sit at all.

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JiminyCricket:  That wedding had benches and places to sit, just no tables with chairs to sit at and eat. It was not a problem. This was also a small wedding where I knew nearly everyone there, if people had complained, I would have heard.

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