(Closed) Opinion on holding a cocktail/hordoeurves only reception

posted 10 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
123 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

I think that’s fine.  Just put the word hor d’oeurves in the invitation and then have your MC or DJ say something about the set up (help yourself at any time or something along those lines).   

Post # 4
765 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

As long as you call it out on the invite that it’s a cocktail / hors d’oeuvres reception, it’s perfectly fine. 

Post # 5
2640 posts
Sugar bee

You didn’t mention what time it was.  I thought I’d just add, if it’s later in the evening, that’s fine.  But if it is around dinner time (5-7pm, or so ??? taking a guess here) it would be considered improper not to serve dinner.  You mentioned a couple of stations, but you didn’t elaborate on what those were.  If there is dinner there, you’d be fine.

Post # 6
229 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I don’t think it’s stupid or wrong to not have a dinner!  I think if you’re feeling self conscious about it, maybe try to go for "heavy" rather than "light."  My friend had a hors doeuvres-only reception in August, and it has been my favorite wedding food ever!  There was plenty of food to constitute a "meal," and then some, and because each was an appetizer-like food, I liked them all.  Honestly, when I get a side of green beans or grilled asparagus with my fancy dinner, I don’t really care about the veggies.  But when I can have lox and cream cheese, and canapes, AND baked brie–I am in heaven!

Btw, that friend indicated in her invitations that there would be cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and dancing to follow. 

Post # 8
55 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

I think it fine!  In the south people do cocktail/hors d’oeuvres receptions as dinners alllll the time. Like the previous comments suggested, just make it clear on the invite!

Post # 9
1078 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2009

This is actually what I’m doing, it saved us a few hundred dollars. Hey, every little bit helps, right?

We put on our invites that a cocktail reception will follow the ceremony. On our website, we’ve listed what the cocktail buffet will include (hors d’oeuvres, dips, etc). That way people will have a good idea what to expect.

We’re also having our ceremony late enough (7:30pm) that most people will know it’s not a dinner reception. 

Hope that helps! The cocktail reception is becoming more and more the trend lately.



Post # 10
13 posts

I wanted to do the same (cocktails, hors d’, a grill station-yum with swordfish/chicken/beef kabobs)…BUT with our caterer it is actually less expensive to do the sit down menu because it is easier for them to calculate how much of each food will be needed. I am still not completely convinced of this but it may be just because I really, really want those kabobs! The other thing is that the stations usually need some sort of "side" to compliment whatever the station has which adds up too. I hope you get your cocktail pary! good luck!

Post # 11
349 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009 - Rancho Bernardo Inn

I think this is a great idea.  I feel like all the stations and hors d’oeruves are so chic.  You can infuse so much personality into the presentation and food choices.

Post # 12
752 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I don’t think this is stupid or wrong at all! If your reception is at or around a meal time, your guests will anticipate food of some kind, but you aren’t by any means required to serve a traditional sit down meal.

Receptions like what you described are actually very common among the weddings I’ve been to, and I don’t think you have to communicate it to your guests at all. Just invite them to join you for a reception celebrating your marriage, and if you feel the need to let them know exactly what to expect, you could put it on your wedding website. 🙂 

Post # 13
29 posts
  • Wedding: October 2009

I think this is a great idea!  We are doing the same thing, and the feedback from the guests we’ve told has been really great.  They all have said that the sit-down dinner is the worst part of any wedding so they were happy to not have it included!  We are renging loungey furniture and will have a few round tables if people want to sit.  I think it will encourage more dancing and more overall fun for everyone!

Post # 14
217 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

this is actually quite common where I live–i don’t remember the last time I went to a sit down dinner.  I’ve never walked away hungry, and i personally enjoy it better–i can pick and choose what i want to eat and not be stuck with the beef, chicken, or veggie meal. 

Post # 15
2434 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

If people will be getting enough food that they don’t need to eat ahead of time, I don’t think you need to explain that you’re doing stations instead of sit down. 

If you don’t think the food you are providing is enough to constitute dinner (meaning guests should plan to eat before) you could say something like, "Reception to follow.  Cocktails, Food stations and passed hors d’oeuvers will be served."

Post # 16
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

That’s totally fine — in fact the food’s often better that way, and no one ever has to wait long to get something to eat.  You also get a nice laid back vibe with an hor d’oeurves reception.  When I did catering, the guests always seemed to be more relaxed and having a much better time than during sit-down meals.

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