(Closed) COCKTAIL RECEPTIONS (LOOKING FOR PHOTOS AND TIPS)

posted 5 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
Member
560 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

You may want to price out sit down dinner to compare pricing as cocktail reception wedding cost the same, and sometime more then a sit down dinner.

Your venue will require you to order a heavy amount of hour dearves to fill your guest tummies like a meal would, as they do not want people drinking on empty stomach. 

Your guest will drink more at a stand up event, venues know this and will account this into your pricing. 

Just a heads up so you are not surprised when you start your searching

Post # 3
Member
8998 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

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krgenzer88:  I mean…they’ll still remember they weren’t invited to the wedding BUT cocktail receptions are my favorite and it’s what we had. Key points to remember:

(1) don’t skimp on food especially if the party is around dinner time. make sure that there is enough food to at least replace a regular dinner and you’ll be fine. We kept ours coming in stages all night long – the point wasn’t to save money on food but the general difference in atmosphere between a dinner party and a cocktail party.

(2) don’t skimp on entertainment – if you’re aiming for a fun party then splurge on the band or DJ to make sure the dance party goes all night.

(3) do a mix of regular tables, some low cafe tables, and high tops for people to stand at and place  a drink down.

(4) fully hosted open bar. No way around it. Inviting people to a cocktail reception and then offering only beer/wine or asking them to pay for anything isn’t going to go over well. 

I could go on forever (and I’m pretty sure I have on other posts….) hahaha

Post # 4
Member
953 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I am having a cocktail reception, my sister did and really good friends did as well. We are doing 7 appetizers, some passed some stations, we are going casual with the food so we are having sliders, shots of soup with grilled cheese, crabcakes, shrimp and grits – stuff that is hearty.

We are expecting about 100 guests and will have six high top and six low tops (this came at the suggestion of my caterer). People are going to comment about how you have to have a seat for every single person to sit at the same time – you don’t. Durnig the cocktail receptions I’ve been to, there has never been a time where every guest sat at the exact same moment. It just doesn’t happen. In fact, that hardly happens for a plated reception. Actually, at my friends wedding, they didn’t even have tables and chairs – at all! There were bench seats along the windows so there were places to sit if you wanted – and you know what? I didn’t even realize that until months later. It’s seriously not a problem.

I have no idea what the PP is saying about drink packages being higher because people drink more when they stand – that doesn’t make sense. My caterer offered the same bar packages for cocktial or plated receptions.

The biggest issue is it is not “traditional” so you are gonig to get push back, as you always do when you don’t want to do traditional wedding things. Stick with it and do what you want to do. Cocktail receptions are the best!

Post # 6
Member
3680 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

It’s not really okay to have a “cocktail” reception that doesn’t host any cocktails.

Post # 7
Member
275 posts
Helper bee

Cocktail receptions are the typical reception where I’m from.  my only pet peeve is that- sure, as PP said, not everyone is seated at the same time, but in my experience, it’s because all the seats are taken and there is nowhere to sit.  I hate standing to mingle, hold a drink in one hand, while being unable to eat the food off the plate because I don’t have an extra free hand.  I hate not have a place to put my coat or bag.  I hate how not everyone gets to see the cake cutting or first dance because people crowd around and block your view (whereas if everyone has a seat, the crowd can at least be seated for the main events).

While I like assigned seating, I don’t think you HAVE to do that.  The best way I’ve seen cocktail done with no assigned seats is where there is ample seating- like 120 chairs for 100 guests.  People get to stay with the people they like- not get split up, can sit whenever they want, not just when a seat opens up, etc.  and your elderly, injured, and pregnant guests don’t get screwed.

Post # 8
Member
8998 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

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EnglishGardenGirl:  I had a few people say “well what if grandma so-and-so needs a seat? and your Maid/Matron of Honor is pregnant she’ll want a chair” and honestly…what kind of people do they think I would invite to my wedding that wouldn’t give an elderly, injured, or pregnant person a seat?! I routinely saw empty seats at my wedding (we had enough for about 1/2 to sit at the same time) so I think it’s plenty if your guests are relatively young, healthy, and like to dance and mingle. Seating will be a know-you-crowd moment for sure though. 

OP, if you are inviting people to a cocktail reception you really can’t charge them for drinks. Would you invite them to dinner and charge for their plate? Would you invite them to cake and punch and charge $1/slice? 

Post # 9
Member
953 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I think an open bar is a must for a cocktail reception.

We are doing what the caterer recommended regarding tables and chairs. It’s not like there will be 3 chairs and some kind of hunger games situation to see who gets a chair. We are having 6 tables and chairs and 6 high tops, I doubt, knowing my guests, that the tables will be full at any one time. There will be ample places for people to leave bags and coats or whatever. My venue also comes with a bunch of wooden benches (like nice ones with arms and backs).

Post # 10
Member
560 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

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krgenzer88:  No you can not charge for drinks. I may sound rude, but this is what many of your guest are going to think

Many people are a little insulted on the cocktail type wedding. It’s not really that they are insulted but they are affraid of the unknown, so they categorize the feeling as insulted. They feel this way because

1. they have never been to this type of wedding or event

2. somewhere in their mind they feel they will not get enough food, but they expect an overflow of drinks. 

3. it is not traditional, they are used to seeing the bride and groom stationary at her table 

4. older people are very uneasy about their seating (they really are)

In this alone you have taken out many people comfort zone, already you have some people questioning your wedding as it is the unfamiliar that scares them.

If you now add in a toony bar! Oh my… They will say she’s not feeding us, and we have to pay for the drinks… Whoa 

Just telling you, it how it is. I know it sounds rude, but this is how many of your guest will feel.

A cocktail wedding can be beautiful, if done property your guest will go home talking about how beautiful your wedding was and how they LOVED it. But this is only if you have plenty of food and a good bar selection. These guest are coming in to criticize as that is what 90% of humans do in unknown sistuations. 

If you offer them great food and drinks they will rave about your wedding and will be excited to go to another cocktail wedding

 

Post # 11
Member
275 posts
Helper bee

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LilliV:  Obviously the Bride and Groom know their guests better than anyone else.  I just live in an area where every reception is cocktail style and my experience as a guest was frustration.  Mostly it’s just during the eating portion- since typically the majority of guests eat earlier and dance later, so most people are eating at the same time and would appreciate a seat while they eat so they don’t have to balance a drink and plate while trying to eat appetizers off the cocktail plate.  As the reception goes on- fewer people are interested in sitting and it isn’t so irritating.  I think if you’re just doing passed apps it would be easier, since you don’t have to hold a plate and try to grab the app off the plate with the hand that is holding your drink and then you spill the drink on the person standing next to you etc.  That’s really the most common/significant problem I see.  Other than that, the mingling and social aspect is often far better at a cocktail style in my opinion.  It’s just the eating where I hear the most grumbling.  A girl I know recently did the surplus seating cocktail style and it was a huge success without those complaints that are so common.  I fully support the B&G doing their wedding however they want and completely understand that not everyone can afford extra seats- but I’m just offering a solution to one of the most repeated complaints I’ve heard.  The style and intended progression of the evening could certainly impact that decision.

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