(Closed) Cocktail Reception – Mingling not Sitting Aroung

posted 7 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
1099 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

You need a seat for every guest.  Also without alcohol, you should prepare yourself that people might not be so into dancing and lingering and might leave on the early side.

Post # 3
4996 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

My cousin did this and it wasn’t well received at first. There wasn’t enough staff circulating food and then everyone complained about not having enough seats. The event staff ended up having to bring out and set up some extra tables (with mismatching linens) because people wouldn’t give up their seats for the elderly. Some of the older guests left. 

Later in the night it was all about drinking and dancing with the younger crowd. Still, it’s nice to have a table as a “home base” to leave your things when you want to dance. I think it’s doable if you have a small wedding and a younger crowd – like a garden party. But a lot of people invite upwards of 100 people to their wedding and it would be a mess. 

Post # 4
1246 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

View original reply
OJGettingMarried: We did this exactly, and it was awesome for us. We had waiters circling with hot hor doeurves and plated ones as well, and we had seating for everyone, but probably only half the guests ended up sitting.

I will note, however, that there was definitely way less dancing than a regular wedding, mostly because people were relaxing and chatting and wandering around the venue (it was a historic mansion) than they were dancing. I think that with garden cocktail parties, you’re looking in general at more people “mixing and mingling” than you get at a banquet wedding, due to the fact that there’s no arranged seating, and for us we didn’t really do any focal points like speeches or cake cutting. People just hung out and enjoyed themselves, and that’s what we wanted.

Edit: I agree with PP, too, it’s definitely something for a smaller crowd rather than 100+. We had 100 at our wedding and if we hadn’t done it at the specific venue, where there was tons of room to wander and mingle, I can imagine it would have been hellish.

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by .
Post # 5
1247 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

I think it sounds lovely. I would make sure there are more chairs though, not just for elderly guests. Others may wish to sit down to eat or to talk with others. I would also make sure there are tables for guests to set their plates or drinks down on. There is nothing worse than trying to hold a clutch, drink and a plate while balancing on heels. 

Post # 6
4113 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

We had this style of wedding. However, we had a seat for everyo guest (we did a mix of low tops, high tops, couches and arm chairs around the venue), the majority of our crowd was up all night mingling or dancing though.

We also served enough food to quantify a meal. Too much food actually, we had a mix of passed hors d’oeuvres, larger passed items (mini sliders, mini grilled cheese, and mini poutines) , an antipasto station, cheese and charcuterie station, and a seafood bar. We also had a macaron tower in lieu of a cake, and passed desserts as well.

Our guests danced, ate, and drank all night. We went from 6:45 until 2:30 am when it was time to shut the place down (obviously some guests left earlier than this but most stayed and partied). We had 50 people there and we found it was a perfect time. Relaxed but still formal and wedding-like.

ETA: I would also ask your venue if they have experience with this type of wedding. Ours did and everything was seamless and stress free. It could be irritating if they don’t know to continuously pick up empty glasses, discarded food plates, napkins, and to also time the food correctly.

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by KC-2722.
  • This reply was modified 6 years, 10 months ago by KC-2722.
Post # 7
1754 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

Definitely provide seats for everyone.

Standing in heels while balancing a plate, a drink, and my clutch for four hours would be memorable, but not in a good way.

On a side note, cocktail receptions can be totally lovely. I think you just need to provide seating and tables for everyone to put down their stuff or to sit for a moment.

Post # 8
1641 posts
Bumble bee

IMO you absolutely need a seat for every guest. People need a “home base” to put their things, and I wouldn’t want to be running around looking for and stealing someone else’s chair if I wanted to sit down. You can encourage mingling and dancing by having a great DJ and perhaps other activities, but forcing me to stand would likely make me want to leave sooner.

Post # 9
8503 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

You should have a seat for everyone IMO.

Post # 10
1465 posts
Bumble bee

I have been a MOB 4 times and one of the commandments for my daughters to gain access to my checkbook for paying the bills was thou shalt have a seat for every butt. I’m serious!

Everyone needs a homebase for their stuff and I hate balancing a plate and my purse and my napkin and my drink, etc because I don’t have a homebase and I can’t sit down when I please. When I have attended receptions with less seating than guests I have been party to helping people save someone’s seat so they can go pee. That is just ridiculous. People do not mingle less or dance less because there is a chair for them at a table.

As you can tell, I do not care for this idea at all and the few times I have attended wedding receptions like this you can bet I told the bride and groom how wonderful it was and how lovely everything was rather than how I had to save someone’s seat so they could go pee.

Please – give everyone a home base and every butt a seat!

Post # 11
3526 posts
Sugar bee

You need a seat for everyone. I would be annoyed if there were no seats for me to leave my stuff on or even rest my feet for a minute because you want to essentially force people to mingle.

Post # 12
462 posts
Helper bee

Ok, I’m sorry to be rude, but may just say I HATE this style of event. 

As a guest all I want is a seat and a plate of food. Literally that’s all.

I have been to so many cocktail style parties where I have felt like I have had to chase a waiter around the room for the smallest bite of food.Of these parties only one I didnt get a cheese burger on the way home and that was because they had ‘big’ mini food – think pieces of gourmet pizza and noodle boxes with fish and chips.

So if you are going to have have this style reception please make sure there is plenty of food.  But do consider actually having a meal and seats   

Goodluck with the planning and congrats

Post # 13
462 posts
Helper bee

Ps – I should add that my comment was assuming that your reception is over a meal (lunch or dinner). If you are having an afternoon tea wedding reception my thoughts do change. But if it is over dinner time please give me a meal 🙂

Post # 14
108 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

Commenting to follow. My Fiance and I want this same sort reception and I’ve been trying to figure out table/chair numbers 

Post # 15
354 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

View original reply
OJGettingMarried:  Sorry – to be blunt about it:  Not my kind of party.

You are focusing on the vision, your vision, far too much and it’s inconsiderate of your guests.   You want everyone up and mingling and having a good time, according to you.  Who says people can’t enjoy themselves if they are sitting?

I like to sit and mingle, get up, sit back down.  I like to have a home base at a party where I can sit and relax.  I think you need to ensure there is seating for everyone.  People will leave their bags in certain seats and then others will not be able to sit down as they will assume they are being held.

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