(Closed) Cocktail reception versus a sit down dinner?

posted 8 years ago in Food
Post # 3
Member
14186 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

with a 7:00 pm ceremony time and new years eve wedding, I think a cocktail wedding sounds perfect! As long as there are heavy appetizers–shrimp on a stick or egg roll pieces, stuff like that, i think you’re fine. I just went to a wedding that had a 7:00 reception and we ate at 8:00 and I definitely ate a little before and would’ve been happy munching on just the appetizers if I knew steak wasn’t around the corner

Post # 4
Member
252 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I think some guests would think you’d have a sit down dinner (unless you note that it’s a cocktail reception on the invite). Honestly, my dinner with my family is late (7-8 p.m.) so I would be one of the guests who would think a sit down dinner would be served. Out wedding was suppose to have a start time of 7 p.m. and are having a huge dinner (and also having a cocktail hour). Our wedding coordinator says a lot of weddings start either at 6 or 7 there. However, because we are having a cocktail hour, we decided to go ahead and push our start time to 6 p.m. Again, I’d just note it in the invitation so guests know to eat a meal before heading to the ceremony. Best of luck!!

Post # 5
Member
140 posts
Blushing bee

i agree with other bees – note that you have a cocktail reception on the invitation.  we’re starting at 7pm and we are doing a full cocktail reception (with pretty heavy apps) and a full sit down dinner. 

Post # 6
Member
240 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

I don’t know if it is presumptuous or greedy of me as a guest, but I usually expect dinner at a wedding reception.  I went to a Halloween wedding last year and it was cocktail and reception food only and most of the guests were pretty confused and expected dinner.  They weren’t ungrateful or anything and everyone still had a blast!  And less food meant more drinks were consumed!  But maybe just note on the invitation ‘cocktail reception to follow”

Post # 8
Member
5921 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2010

My wedding is on NYE too. We are not serving a full dinner either, just heavy apps –mashed potato bar, smores bar, meatballs, chicken strips, mini pulled pork sandwiches, etc. Our ceremony starts at 7:30, and we are indicating cocktail reception on our invites.

Post # 9
Member
7367 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

Fiance and I did not want a sit down dinner feel.  Our reception starts at 7pm and we specificaly said cocktails, hordourves etc on the invitation to let people know exactly what to expect.    As long as you let them know beforehand it will be fine.

Post # 10
Member
1046 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

I know a lot of people here are going to disagree with you and me, but I *love* cocktail receptions. I agree, that for a New Year’s Eve wedding, getting people up and mingling rather than sitting stationary through a meal would be a lot more fun. On New Year’s, I want lots of time to talk to friends, not just the people I’ve been seated with.

Our timeline looks pretty similar to yours. Ceremony at 7, passed appetizers and drinks until 8:30, heavy hors d’oeuvres buffet at 8:30; cake, dances, etc somewhere thereafter…As long as people know what’s up, they’ll have a lot of fun!

 

Post # 12
Member
4485 posts
Honey bee

Considering the date, I would think a cocktail reception (with enough food for a full meal) would be what most folks would expect. I don’t know anyone who eats a sitdown meal on NYE since that is considered a party night and most parties on NYE serve heavy appetizers. If you and your social circle prefer a sitdown meal, then go that route instead. Neither is right or wrong but it depends on what vibe you want. A more festive relaxed atmosphere calls for the heavy appetizers and mingling while the sitdown is more formal and structured.

That said, since 7pm is the dinner hour for many folks (and the very tail end for the majority), you need a ton of heavy appetizers such as what is found in the frozen section at Costco. The chicken strips and mozzarella sticks there are just examples. Finger sandwiches and veggie platters, which may or may not get eaten, depending on the crowd, are not heavy or filling. A general rule of thumb if you are serving appetizers in place of a sitdown meal: during the meal time, serve 15-20 pieces per person minimum. 3-4 pieces per person is only done if you are having a meal immediately afterward. To compare the sizes of the meal, a sitdown meal is the equivalent of 5-6 heavy appetizers total per person, which is not filling either. That is why it’s recommended to have so many per person if you are doing this in place of a meal. If anyone thinks you are starving them, they are sorely mistaken, and it’s their own fault if they go home hungry with your extensive spread. In which case, just call it dinner on your invitations so that no one who does have a set way of thinking (that you are starving them by feeding them appetizers only) eats a full meal before showing up so they don’t have room for anything you offer. Wasted food = wasted money on your part due to folks who have certain expectations and refuse to step outside the box.

Post # 13
Member
1046 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

@NYE Gal: Sorry, I just noticed your question here. As for price, I found that our appetizer buffet was probably slightly more than a regular buffet and probably even a bit more than a plated meal. Hard to say though, because some catering companies vary a lot between these types of meals and others don’t. We only got an appetizer quote from the catering company we chose because we were so set on catering our wedding this way.

As for how much food: We have two passed appetizers (small bites), a cheese and cracker platter, a bread and spreads platter, a roasted veggie platter, beef, prawn, and chicken skewers, antipasto skewers, and mini latkes. We might add one more thing.

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