Post # 1
My Fiance and I were planning on an outdoor ceremony and reception that was fairly lowkey and personalized. Catered buffet with rentals. Checking out vineyards, camps, parks, etc. He didn’t think that the end result would come off as classy (and that’s a valid concern).
Now he thinks the solution is to hold it in his aunt and uncle’s backyard and have catered heavy hors d’oeuvres. My brain is suddenly going “where do I put the table numbers? And menus? And the colorful napkins and runners? Where are my florals?” Suddenly I feel like I have nothing left to design and we’re going to be left with a standing room only cocktail party.
It’s a lovely thought, but I really want people to sit down communally. We’re not a dancing/drinking crowd. But a family dinner at long tables… inspires me.
I appreciate his input but I just don’t know how to design it. I don’t know where to add color and florals (without putting vases on the few food stations that get in the way.) We are going for casual but there’s a little bit of me that thinks this is only because it’s his second marraige and his first one was the big, tented, formal, sit down dinner and he’s looking for a drastic difference.
How did you personalize a cocktail-style reception (besides drinking and dancing) to be pretty, interactive and fun?
Post # 3
I don’t see why it has to change from your initial vision. I mean, you won’t have a sit-down dinner, but that’s no reason to skimp on decor. You could still go all out on the tables. Heavy hors d’oeuvres are still going to be similar in food amount to a meal, so you’ll still want tables for people to sit and eat at.
If you’re worried about the space size, look into some local public parks. You can book them through the city and have them for the whole day, so you can pick one that has the space you need.
Post # 4
That’s the kind of reception we had in May and we didn’t sacrifice anything in terms of decor. We had a guest book table with placecards, guest tables with centerpieces and favors, cake table, gift table, hi tops, deck tables…all were covered with pintuck linens and centerpieces and we had floral arrangements on the mantel,tables,etc. People will still need to sit and have a place for their drinks,plates,glasses,napkins,purse,camera…it’s really just like any other reception style and can be however you want it to be.
Post # 5
Thanks guys! I did a little more research and it looks like there are plenty of folks that do a mini version of proper place settings for cocktail receptions. I can maybe skip the chargers and full silverware for the basics tucked into a napkin with a pretty menu card and leave the plates for folks to pick up at stations… it’s making a little more sense…
Post # 6
We had heavy hors d’oeuvres served buffet style so all our tables were set with runners and flowers. You could still do numbers if you wanted (depending on the size of your guestlist) or you could put some other little signage on the table if you don’t need numbers.
Post # 7
You should still have some tables with that kind of meal! And, you can make it extra fun by scattering belly bar tables around with great decor on them. Also, you could do a lounge or antique-type furniture setup that really pops!
Post # 8
Just to let you know why I was so concerned… here’s THE picture. I mean, if I could base my whole wedding on one image, this is it. But I still think I can do this set up without a full buffet meal. Especially if it’s around 3pm. [attachment=1398953,177849]
Post # 9
Also, there are some real pros to that style food, it does prompt people to walk around to refill their plates and gets people mingling.
I just went to this style reception on Saturday and loved it. I didn’t feel like I was “supposed” to sit in my one seat all night. If I have to wander for my food I can mingle all the way back. It was wonderful!