(Closed) Cocktail reception

posted 8 years ago in Food
Post # 3
Member
3979 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

I went to a wrap party like this with a few hundred people & I have to say: leave some tables & seating options!! Someone will ALWAYS want to sit & eat! It’s a fun, more engaging style of dinner for sure… I think your guests will have a blast. 

Your caterer is probably the best person to talk to regarding numbers & timelines. I know myself, at a cocktail party, I always eat atleast 1 of everything to try it & then go back for more if I liked it! I read somewhere that you should aim for 15 pieces per person (in total).   

Post # 5
Member
2214 posts
Buzzing bee

Definitely have some seating.  The older crowd will definitely want to sit, and people may want to take a break from dancing too.  You could do a combo of regular 8-10 people round tables and taller cocktail tables for people to put their drinks on while they dance.

As for food, if you’re only doing hors douvres then you should probably have them out for at least 2 hours, I would think.  Are you going to have desserts or some type of snack later?

Post # 7
Member
1701 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Definitely get the dancing started right away…I was recently at a cocktail reception wedding and was itching to dance and kept hoping the first dance would be soon

Post # 8
Member
68 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

We are having the same type of reception and I have the same questions that you do! I have debated mentioning the hors d’oeurves on the invitation, and I can’t decide what to do. Our ceremony is at 6 and our reception starts at 7:30, so it is at dinner time, but we will have more than enough food for everyone. It will start late enough that, if people want to eat something beforehand, they will have time, so I kind of wanted to give them a heads up, but on the other hand I don’t want to bother with it because really they aren’t going to go hungry. I think in the end I will end up mentioning it on the invite. Worst case scenario, some people will eat beforehand and won’t be as hungry at the reception, so there will be more for everyone else who didn’t eat?

As for how much of each item, your caterer should be able to help with that. At the beginning we are having 3 items that will be passed, and we’re providing approximately 1/guest of each of those. Then when we have the rest of the food and the stations come out, we’ve allowed for 1 or 2 servings per guest for each of those, per our caterer’s recommendations. We figure that not everyone is going to eat one of everything, so providing enough for everyone to have at least one serving (sometimes two servings) will balance everything out in the end. Some people won’t eat any of one item but might want two of another item, for example.

Post # 9
Member
573 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I am having a cocktail style reception (which is how I worded it on our invites!).  We are having seating for about 60% of our guests, along with some tall bistro tables they can set drinks down at while they dance/mingle.  We haven’t worked out how we are doing the logistics yet, but had thought to bring people in for food after cocktail hour and give them a little bit to start eating and then begin toasts and dancing soon thereafter.

I had never been to one like this, but a good friend got married at the same venue as we are in October and also did a cocktail reception…and it really seemed to work. 

Fiance and I love this option, because we really aren’t formal people…we want fun, fun, fun!

Good Luck!

Post # 10
Member
1701 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

definitely mention that it is cocktail reception 

otherwise they will assume it is dinner reception and even if you have ‘enough food’ they may be confused and wonder when dinner is happening.  this happened at a recent wedding i know. 

Post # 11
Member
68 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Here’s a general question about the invitation wording…does cocktail reception imply open bar also? We’re not having a completely open bar, but we are providing most, hopefully all, of the drinks for our guests. We’re setting a bar tab, and we’ve set it high enough that it *should* cover all the drinks, but it may not. In that case, we’re playing it by ear and may up the tab, depending on how the reception is going. There is the possibility though that the tab will run out, at which point the bar will go to cash bar (our website clearly states all of this info so our guests should be prepared). I know that open bar vs. cash bar is always a controversial topic, but we’re not inviting a ton of big drinkers so we chose this as a way to both save money and to ensure that no one gets completely wasted. Back to the point…would it be misleading to say that our reception is cocktail style if there’s the possibility (which, at this point, I’d say is 50/50 just because I have nothing to go on) that not all the drinks will be provided?

Post # 12
Member
230 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

We’re doing the same thing–heavy hors d’ouevres that will be as filling as a “real” dinner, especially when you add in dessert.  But we decided to mention it on the invitation anyways for a couple reasons.  1) We don’t want guests to show up, see all the munchies, and think, “Hey, I’ll pass.  I’d better save room for dinner.”  That could be awkward.  We don’t want to make some announcement halfway through–“Hey folks, eat up.  This is it!” 🙂   And 2), if any one really has their heart set on eating a “real” dinner, they’ll have time to eat beforehand (the reception is at 7:00).  

Post # 13
Member
56 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

We’re doing the same style reception and wording it on the invites as “Dinner Hors ‘Douvres.”  We don’t want to waste food by having people eat beforehand but at the same time, I want to mention it since my family is from a very small southern town and they expect dinner to be a never ending feast in which paper plates are supposed to cave in, haha. 

In order to save some confusion for people, there will be passed treats during cocktail hour, we’re going straight into our first dance when we enter to open the dance floor, our caterer is going to “present” the cold hors ‘douvres after the first dance the the hot ones very shortly after that.  I’ve recruited a lot of my friends to take charge and head up to each station when it’s time to eat.  Power in numbers!

We’re still providing seating for every person so it helps lessen the confusion and the older crowd will feel more comfortable in the more “traditional” setting of sitting and eating. 

I love the ideas of having a mix of tables though! I think that helps incorporate all of your ideas and please everyone.

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