(Closed) Cocktail Reception Cost

posted 7 years ago in Family
Post # 3
189 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Cocktail receptions are not uncommon these days.  However, when I did my research for my wedding with caterers in our area it would have cost us more to do a cocktail reception as opposed to a dinner.  Believe it or not those bite size foods add up 🙂  On average the ratio of food per person is as follows:

Outside of mealtime hours:

Hors d’ouevres: 5 – 6 choices and cater approx 1 or 2 of each piece per person

During mealtime hours:

Hors d’ouevres: 8 – 10 choices and cater approx 2 or 3 of each piece per person.

Also, since your family members will be travelling 4 -5 hrs.  I think it would be nice to host a buffet style meal for them possibly at your parents home after or the hotel.

Hope this helps 🙂 


Post # 4
3471 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA

Honestly– the cost can be as much as you want to spend, and it’s not a guarantee to be cheaper. 

I actually like the idea of NOT doing a big sit down dinner, as that many people don’t end up liking wedding food in general; so this saves them for what almost always turns into a mediocre meal since people have such varried tastes. 


Post # 5
3625 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Yes, caterers (at least in my area) are familiar with this type of set-up. I would however check with them to see how often they’ve done these types of things because I know that some of the caterers (including mine) have a lot of great ideas and options to choose from whereas some caterers sort of “wing it” and their ideas are not very interesting/unique and they may not know how many units/pieces to make for your guest list size. We’re very concerned about how the food looks too and I’ve seen ugly tapas displays and I’ve seen cute/whimsical/unique ones. I’ve seen this listed in a few different ways (e.g. club plates, cocktail party, tapas party/dinner, amuse bouche-style dinner). I highly doubt it will be cheaper food-wise but you may be able to cut down on the number of servers, especially if you have a lot of self-service stations. The tricky thing about these is estimating how much food you will need, which is the case with buffets as well. With plated, you know exactly how much food is needed whereas with buffet/station style, your caterer will have to budget in extra food “just in case”.

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