- 11 years ago
- Wedding: August 2010
We went to a wedding like this in a historic mansion last year. The B & G wanted the wedding to feel more like a cocktail party – they wanted people to be able to eat, drink, mingle, dance, etc. whenever they wanted, not on a traditional wedding schedule. While I really like the idea, here are some of the things that made their wedding difficult (from a guest perspective) and some advice:
1. Make it clear that you are having a cocktail party wedding so people know what to expect and eat (and drink) accordingly. They didn’t and everyone was waiting around to have dinner. They had a gorgeous appetizer buffet during the cocktail hour, but no one ate much because they didn’t want to fill up before dinner. But then we went upstairs for the reception, and there was just more appetizers, and not enough of them. They ended up with lots of very drunk, very hungry guests. Not so awesome.
2. Plan your timeline around your theme. The wedding we went to was a 5:30 pm ceremony and 6:30 pm reception. To me, that timing means dinner. If they had started a couple of hours earlier or later, I would have been better prepared for a cocktail reception.
3. Have enough seats for nearly all guests. Unlike a sit-down dinner, you don’t need a 1:1 chair to guest ratio, but you do need to have a lot of chairs. The wedding we went to only had chairs for about 1/3 of the guests, which were immediately given to family and elderly guests. As a guest, not having a place to put my purse/wrap and a place to set down my drink was incredibly annoying.
4. Be sure that your food choices are easy to eat standing up. Anything that takes more than one or two bites or requires silverware is really hard to eat while standing up and trying to balance a plate and a drink.
I know that this sounds negative, but I don’t mean it to be! I think cocktail receptions can be fun and very elegant, you just have to be sure that your guests are taken care of. Cocktail receptions are also a great way to have lots of food variety and take some food risks. Good luck!