Cocktail/Reception Invitation Wording

posted 2 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
1552 posts
Bumble bee

As your providing food anyway I would probably just call it a reception, even if it is short. Cocktail hour implies to me that I might get some snacks but would need to eat a full dinner afterwards, but a pasta bar with salad and cake is sufficient for most people. You could specify timings if you wanted to make that clear e.g ‘reception until 7.30pm’ or ‘2 hour reception to follow’ and then put details of food on the website. 

Post # 3
6605 posts
Bee Keeper

I agree, this is still a reception, even if its shorter. 

I’d probably just say dinner [and drinks] to follow. If you’re doing electronic invites w/ a website you can list more info there, along with the times. I think saying ‘dinner’ vs ‘reception’ will get people thinking its not a dancing/all night party, its just dinner after the ceremony. Then you can pass the bar hopping by word of mouth. 

Post # 4
2675 posts
Sugar bee

I wouldn’t call it dinner.  I would simply say Cocktail Reception to follow.

Post # 5
18 posts
  • Wedding: September 2017

I would say “Dinner and drinks to follow”

When I think cocktail hour I think of a few snacks being passed around on trays. If there is a pasta bar and cake that sounds more like a buffet style reception to me. 

Post # 6
2395 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I echo what Katie127 said. “Two hour reception to follow.”

Post # 7
3452 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2017 - Poppy Ridge Golf Course

You have pasta, alcohol and cake so to me it qualifies as reception. However, I’ve realized some have specific expectations when they think of wedding receptions. DJ, announcements, dancing, speeches, etc., If its a simple occasion without all the fluff I would say dinner and drinks to follow as suggested above. How I wish we’d worded it this way…

Post # 8
450 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

I would suggest just saying cocktail reception. Also, depending on the size, you can always email people more concrete details once you’ve nailed things down.

Post # 9
927 posts
Busy bee

I think given your wedding is on NYE and you do not intend to entertain your guests all night (which is typical for a NYE wedding), you DO need to clearly state “cocktail reception 7:30-9pm” or whatever your planned time is.  That way, your guests will know they are not being invited to a full NYE event and can make other plans to ring in the new year  at midnight. 


One question- your ceremony is at 5:30 and the reception starts at 7:30….is there a full mass or long travel distance between venues?  Because to have a 1+ hour gap between a ceremony and a short cocktail reception seems inconsiderate.

Post # 11
8834 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

rosebyanyothername :  How is pasta, salad, and breadsticks not dinner? “Dinner” sounds much more accurate for this scenario than “cocktail reception”. People might think they need to eat before. Plus, beer and wine aren’t really cocktails. There’s nothing wrong with just beer and wine, but it’s misleading to call that a cocktail reception. And when you add food, that’s dinner.

Post # 13
2675 posts
Sugar bee

Daisy_Mae :  In our house that’s not dinner.  And you are absolutely right you can’t call beer or wine cocktails.  oy.

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