Post # 1
So I posted a while back about trying to fit 100% seating in my venue…well it’s just not going to happen so we need to embrace the southern “cocktail” style wedding. We will have seating for ~70% of guests in addition to some cocktail tables and lounge areas. The food will be stations and people can eat/dance/socialize at their pace. The problem is I just can’t envision it. Can some of you who have been to these style wedding tell me the pros vs assigned seated dinner style? Should I tell the Northerners about this in advance (maybe on our website) so they’re not confused?
Post # 3
I went to a wedding like this recently and really enjoyed it. There was seating in several different areas, some outside, some on a patio right by the dance floor, some inside by the dance floor. The tables were smaller, including a number of hightop tables. I sat down a few times at different tables to eat or rest, then went back to mingling and dancing. There was one large table that the brides school friends claimed, but other than that, most of the tables remained open.
I think this style works well when it is set up as I described above, smaller tables spread out in different areas. Even if a lot of people are sitting down, there is likely a table for two open for someone who wants to sit. I don’t think this style works well in the typical ballroom with all tables for 8-10. With those style tables, people will likely “claim” a spot, and someone who wants to sit for a few minutes may have trouble finding a space to do so.
I don’t think you need any “official” announcement, but I’d mention the different style to some closer friends and family (in the context of telling them how great you think it’ll be), that way they are more receptive and not caught off guard.
Post # 4
I’m doing a cocktail reception too and we won’t have seating for all of our guests. Our setup sounds similar, actually. 🙂
One thing that I would think of (and I’m worried about this too) is where people will put their purses, coats, etc. If you’re having dancing, this could get interesting…especially as people won’t want to ‘claim a spot’ that could get taken.
We’ve also run into a few people who don’t understand what we’re doing (“what do you mean cocktails? Does that mean a lot of cheese?”). You can say something about “heavy hors d’oeuvres” on your website or, especially as you have stations, that you’re having a “strolling supper”, which I think sounds sort of Southern and pretty.
I’ve been to a cocktail reception before, but it had the standard ballroom-type tables and just no assigned seating. Like nonimouse12 says, this made it more awkward, because you just felt that there should be assigned seating and people really didn’t mingle too much.
PRO: fun food, mingling guests, a more interactive vibe with the stations, and you might get to talk to more people because you’re not sitting down for dinner
CON: purse/coat check issues and maybe confusion from guests who haven’t done this before.
I think that you should go for it! 😀
Post # 5
Pros are definitely a more relaxed vibe with guests able to mingle and chat :o) I would probably reserve a few tables for the older guests and note that you’re having a passed hor dvoures reception on your invites… other than that you’re good to go…