(Closed) the logistics of a cocktail party wedding- advice/ suggestions needed.

posted 8 years ago in Logistics
Post # 3
1298 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I have been to several. They are fun but if they are too long, I get exhausted shuffling everything (clutch, drink, food, etc). Also if there aren’t enough tall tables (which often happens) it can be inconvenient to eat. 

My Fiance loves that style of party so much though we are doing it for our rehearsal “dinner” – logisitally it would be too hard at our wedding (elderly relatives)

Post # 4
1336 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@KC-2722:  We did this and we actually did one of our ceremonies at the venue as well. It was awesome- everyone said it was the best wedding they’d ever been to (and I believe it, as we had to kick out 70% of our guests 1+ hours after the event was over!)

We had plenty of seating, but people stood most of the time. We did stationary and passed food and made sure we got TONS of food.

The only “issue” we ran into was people crashing the party as it was a buyout of a fairly popular destination bar in our city.  We had a hostess and my DOC was keeping an eye out, but we still had people try to sneak in. It was hardly a problem, though.  We had a great time and would do it again in a heartbeat.


Post # 5
8066 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I have but it was a normal reception.  So there were tables for everyone.  They just had a heavy appetizer menu.  I loved it because I love apps and I love grazing.  The more variety I get to try the better!  As long as there is enough to eat and there are heavy options you will be full.  I was very full!

I did go to another that was a cocktail style…so there were only some tall tables in the reception/dancing area.  There were tables during the dinner but that was in a separate room from the music/dancing.  I wasn’t a huge fan of that because I don’t want to be on my feet for 4-5+ hours. It was a standard length reception.

So I would love it as far as the food goes, just make sure you have enough and heavy options.  I would prefer seating to be available for everyone though.

Post # 7
7974 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

you will need to start it a little later in the evening.  starting your wedding at prime dinner time with make people think they are getting a full meal. 


start your ceremony at 7:30, so people will have time to eat dinner before coming your ceremony.  then they can party all night with cocktails and hor dourves



ETA: i reread.  not sure if i understand.  so you are having stations and passed hor dourves, enough food for a meal but not a seated meal.  that is not strange and works very well.


Post # 9
6583 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

Our wedding was like this!  It was from 7pm-10pm with food stations and passed hordourves and an open bar and cupcakes.  Everyone loved it.  We had a mixture of high tables and couches as well as the actual bar.

The only problem we had was my cousin who drank too much- but that had nothing to do with it being a cocktail style wedding.

Post # 11
2263 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

The one advantage that a sit down dinner has is that it gives YOU a chance to sit down and eat.  I would make sure your cater/cordinator/or appointed friend makes sure to give you time to eat. There will be so many happy people at your wedding, that if you don’t have someone rope you off for food, you will either not get a chance to eat, or totally forget to eat. 

Post # 12
7974 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

@KC-2722:  as long as you have enough food, start anytime you want.  i’ve been to a few of those style weddings and they are fine.

just make sure they don’t run out of food, that is the worst.

when we were pricing our wedding, i wanted to do stations, etc.  it turned out it was a lot more expensive than a sit down dinner (and we served filet and crabcake) because with a seated dinner, the kitchen knows exactly how much to make for each plate.  with buffet, stations, etc, you need to make way more food not knowing how much is going to be eaten.


Post # 14
89 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

Our wedding was similar to  @eeniebeans. We had our ceremony at a Catholic church at 6:00 pm. It was sunset and by the time the ceremony ended at around 7 or so, it was dark. Our guests arrived at the venue around 7:15 pm and we had an appetizer buffet out. Since we’re in the South and had our reception at a brewery, we served heavy Southern bar food. We did brisket sliders with bacon jam, fried green tomato sliders, pretzels with beer cheese, hot brown crostini, roasted veggies, etc. 


We also had a completely open bar (microbrew beer, wine, and well liquor). For seating we did half pub tables (5 tops), 1/3 regular rectangular tables (there were about 4 of these that sat 8) and an area of lounge furniture in front of the fireplace (couches and comfy chairs). We probably had seating for 75 and had around 100 guests.


It was PERFECT. Our guests loved it. It was very chic and natural. Everyone just mingled and ate little bits and drank A LOT. I was worried about the flow, but I shouldnt’ have been. Our DJ did a great job of keeping everything moving. We really loved it because all of our friends and families from different groups got to mingle and hang out. Plus, there was at on of dancing. Since people didn’t feel the need to sit and chat, many more people were up mingling and dancing. It definitely had a very organic, party type feel. Here’s my timeline that we used:



Guests arrive at Reception / Cocktail Hour


Bridal Party Announced


Bride/Groom Thank You and Meal Blessing


First Dance


Father/Daughter Dance


Mother/Son Dance


Dollar Dance


Cake Cutting


Best Man and Maid/Matron of Honor Speeches


Family Speeches


Open Dance Floor


Last Dance

Post # 15
46 posts
  • Wedding: April 2014

I’m having a very similar wedding!  7:30 ceremony upstairs then straight into the party.  

Afew thoughts:

Is Not cheaper.  Food actually worked out more than a sit down because I’m paranoid that people won’t get enough to eat.  Your booze bill will likely be higher as well since there is easy access to the bar. 

I ended up having seating for everyone as well as a seating plan.  My mom convinced me that ladies like a place to put their purse and the elderly like their own seat. … fair enough.


The only other thing is centerpieces. What you like may not work on a big empty table.  Remember that your tables won’t be set with plates and cutlery. However,  the set up allows you to do some different and fin things. 





Overall,  I think it is a wonderful idea and a great set up for a party. Just remember to give as many people the heads up about your plan. people embrace new ideas when they are prepared for them. 


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