Post # 1
We have decided to have a cocktail reception – which is simply no sit down meal and finger food with reduced seating instead…not necessarily lots of actual cocktails. It will run the same length of time as a standard reception and we will still have speeches/first dance etc.
I’m a little stuck on how to structure it? I guess the whole point is that cocktail receptions don’t have the standard structure…It’s really people just milling around and chatting but we need to still have set times for the cake/speeches/dance etc because of the photographer and potentially video as well.
This is how I’ve got it in my head…but really not sure…
5:30-6:30 Pre-dinner drinks (given this is pretty much the same as a cocktail reception and there is no assigned seating for the official reception I figure Bride and Groom can arrive very soon after the official reception starts, the sun will be down at 6pm also
6:30 Bride and Groom Arrive
7:00 Speeches (Do I put ALL the speeches together? I think there will be 4 or 5?)
8:00 – Cake Cutting & First Dance?
9:00 – some sort of games? Something? I worry it will be alittle boring if everyone is just expect to pace the room for 5 hrs! Not everyone will dance
10:00-10:30pm (somewhere?) Bride and Groom Leave…
Are Cocktail Receptions generally shorter than sit down meals do you think?
Post # 3
I would think a cocktail reception would definitely be shorter than a sit-down meal reception. A good hour to hour and a half is dedicated to the meal at those weddings, so making a cocktail-only reception the same length would seem very long. I’d also wouldn’t do pre-dinner drinks since you won’t have any food and your guests may get tipsy.
4 or 5 speeches is a lot of time!! Is there anyway you can cut it down to 2?
I’d probably cut it to 4 hours max and do something like this:
6:00pm Guests arrive
6:15pm Bridal party & Bride & Groom entrance
6:30pm Food stations are open
7:30pm First Dance
8:30pm Cake Cutting
10:00pm Reception over
Post # 4
If I was attending a cocktail reception, I’d probably want it to start later or finish earlier so I could have a meal – so maybe a bit shorter?
TBH I couldn’t go from 6:30 to 10 without a hot meal, but maybe that’s just me.
Post # 5
Thanks 🙂 I was editing the times a little when you posted 🙂
See, 5 speeches is Bride, Groom, Maid/Matron of Honor, Best Man and maybe Grooms Dad…that’s it. I don’t know if they’ll all go ahead but I know Bride and Groom speeches are a definite. The others I think will be pretty short.
Thanks for the suggestions!
Post # 6
@Aussiebride26, our guests will be getting a ton of food and it’s all hot. Just smaller pieces of it. We’re also having a massive dessert bar so I think they’ll be pretty full!
We can’t start earlier because of photos but yes I think it would be an earlier finish for sure 🙂
Post # 7
@sera_archie: That’s a lot of speeches!!
As the bride & groom – you can say a quick thank you for coming after you cut the cake. Both of you can get up at the same time and do it combined. I don’t think it’s normal for full speeches at the wedding from the bride & groom. (I’ve never seen it).
I’m not sure whose paying, but usually whoever is does a quick ‘welcome’ at the start of the meal, is that the groom’s dad? If not, you can say welcome for your guests then.
Post # 8
We’re paying 🙂 We definitely both want to say something…we’re like that haha. Is it not common? I’ve definitely seen Grooms speeches but not so much Brides. I honestly didn’t think that was a lot of speeches! Maybe I will tell Maid/Matron of Honor (Sister) she doesn’t have to. I’ve been a Bridesmaid or Best Man at a wedding where we ALL (four of us) did a speech, same for the groomsmen, groom, fathers of the bride and groom! I thought 5 was being quite conservative 🙂
Post # 9
@CityBearBride: Just figured out how to do the @ thing properly. yay :p
Post # 10
Mine was from 7 pm to 11, there was dancing for three hours straight, and it continued at the after party. This with less than 40 people!
7 pm people arrive (we were there already). there were food, drinks, and everybody talked and mingled
8 pm dancing started
10 pm cake cutting along with a couple very short speeches. dancing followed.
11 pm party ends and we went to the after party
everybody complimented us on how it went and how much fun it was compared to your typical formal sit down!
Post # 11
(also nobody was hungry!)
Post # 12
@bebero: Thanks so much, I’m glad it was a hit!
ah! Glad the food worked out!!
Post # 13
@sera_archie: I was sooooo afraid it would be boring but i promise you it won’t! don’t plan any games and good luck!
Post # 14
@bebero: Thank you! I think it’s going to be wonderful if what is in my head actually translates 🙂 We’re hiring some beautiful furniture to deck out the venue and there will be fairy lights all over the ceiling. It is going to look great, I just hope the timeline/food works out 🙂
How long was food served? I believe we’re having 10 different savoury items and they cater 1.5 per guest so they will get around 15 savoury pieces total. Plus we’re having a dessert bar with cake, tarts, pies, macarons etc. We’re meeting with the venue on Saturday to get a better idea 🙂
Post # 15
I loooooove finger food parties. As long as there’s enough food, I prefer it to a regular dinner.
Post # 16
- Wedding: June 2014 - Italiano's Humble
This is something we’re starting to consider. I think it’s easier to do a finger food buffet, versus 1 thing of each pp. Plus, if people don’t like something, those that do, can get more and vice versa 🙂 Also, we’re getting married NYE, and had originally wanted a dinner and reception earlier, and midnight vows. we’re defnitely thinking of doing it this way, and then doing the cake cutting at the after party!
I think it sounds wonderful!