(Closed) Traditional Reception Food vs. Cocktail Reception

posted 9 years ago in Food
Post # 3
Member
241 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I love the idea as well, but after talking to my caterer he said it would actually be a more expensive option. His excuse was that hors d’ oeuvers are more costly then a sit down over the course of a few hours becuase of the time and effort that goes into making each piece by hand. He suggested multiple station if I did not want a traditional sit down. My caterer also suggested having a late wedding around 8PM, and having a champagne and desert reception. I liked that idea as well, but all of my guests are coming from Out of Town, so I feel obligated to feed them.

Post # 4
Member
2781 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I’m doing exactly this idea. We’re having a long cocktail and canapes reception without dancing (although we could if we wanted). Our venue has a separate canapes menu so the price doesn’t really affect us. If anything it’s cheaper. We’re having our reception in the early afternoon (1PM – 5PM) so we’re hoping that people will realize that we’re not giving them a sit down dinner. 

The only thing we’re doing away with is seating charts, etc. We’re going to have tables and there’ll be two “snugs” (seperate rooms with comfy sofas and chairs – we’re having our reception in a pub) if people do want to sit down but otherwise it’s standing and leaning room. 🙂

Post # 5
Member
14186 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

Nope! Sounds great! I like the idea of having passed appetizers, though. Definitely some food available somewhere! As long as there is some food and your wedding isn’t at 430, with reception beginning at 5, you’re good. my friend did apps but also included a carving station with rolls. It was plenty but definitely not “sit down”

Post # 6
Member
1514 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

It’s a great idea.  Like ejs4y8 said, maybe something like a carving station with rolls would be nice so people “feel” like they sort of got a meal.  I hope with the cocktail and apps you and your FH be sure to sit down and eat something at some point (or have your caterer do a pre-made plate).

Post # 7
Member
613 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

that is how we did it.  open bar + passed hors duerves(sp?)/displays.  lots of dancing.  no ist down dinner.  unless you are doing super heavy hors duerves (think 7-10 pieces per person, per hour), make sure it starts after 8-ish.  i put on the website and invitation that it was a cocktail + hors duerves reception.  i loved it.  hubby loved it.  most of guests loved it.  elderly people were confused though.

Post # 8
Member
1901 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

This is what we are doing. We were told it would be more expensive. Thier normal plated dinners are $37-$47 but I think it will be more like $65 for us to do it this way. Not sure yet. I get kind of claustrophobic at sit-downs with more than 8-10 ppl, and I love grazing rather than eating a big meal all at once. We are doing passed hors d’oeuvres (5-6 per person) and a cheese station for the normal cocktail hour and then food stations with like 3 mini meals, or tapas, and a mix your own salad station. I think it really encourages mingling. Our ceremony starts at 5:30 and reception at 7:30 so we’ll have plenty of food, just different style.

Post # 9
Member
888 posts
Busy bee

this is what we are planning on doing too but there will also be food stations.  i think its such a modern and cool way of having a reception!!

Post # 10
Member
355 posts
Helper bee

we are doing this- but be forewarned- this was the more expensive option for us.

i too did not like the idea of the sit down dinner. if you have heavy horderves i think (hope) people will be happy:)

Post # 11
Member
4485 posts
Honey bee

While I think it would be fun because it’s a different environment, you do have to realize that it will be much more expensive than a regular plated or buffet meal. Contrary to popular belief, you can have it during the dinner hour but it has to consist of heavy filling appetizers (which tea sandwiches and veggie platters are not) and you need at least 15-20 pieces per person. You also need seating for every single guest which many caterers and planners tell you not to have for a cocktail reception, when in fact, limited seating does not make people mingle. You can cut costs by getting frozen appetizers from Costco/Sam’s but then you need to hire someone to cook and serve them if you want them passed. Even if they’re just stationary on a table, it’s not fair to whichever guest you choose to prepare them since they won’t be able to enjoy the wedding at all because they’re in the kitchen the whole time.

Post # 12
Member
137 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I am planning to DIY something like this  for approx 100-120, in June 2010 also. We have no caterer at all and our venue is a park department club house with no food/caterer restrictions. Plan so far is to have wedding start outside at 4pm then move to the reception space inside right after (4:30-5ish). I will have enough table seating for everyone to sit, but there will be no assigned seating/table placements. We plan to have a very heavy food selection, but for it all to be cold or room temp. Basics stations like the fruit and veggie table (with dips and hummus), cheese board table (with crackers, cheese straws, breadsticks and nuts), cold meat/smoked fish/chilled shrimp station (with cocktail rolls for mini sandwiches) and the like are going to be our main stays. I am also looking into doing some salads (mixed greens/veggies, pasta or orzo) and things like deviled eggs/stuffed mushrooms or cherry tomatoes to get some more food options in.

 

 

Post # 13
Member
3316 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

We’re doing a heavy hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and dancing reception.  It won’t start until 8:00 pm, so people can either get dinner beforehand or make a meal of hors d’oeuvres.  I liked the idea that people could sort of grab food when they wanted it, instead of having a long sit-down meal before we could get to the music and dancing.

Post # 14
Member
374 posts
Helper bee

I suggest you ‘serve’ your older crowd and sit them at a specific table or tables and tell your caterer “serve table # xyz”  That way the older crowd won’t get confused or fall while trying to balance themselves and plate and drink.

One wedding I went to was adorable.  They served food in chinese take out containers and had different stations.  People walked around and took what they wanted. Subliminally the ‘chinese take out’ was like ‘eating dinner.’  And didn’t appear to be an appetizer reception.  Some people ended up filling their container of one thing and went back to their table and they all shared like people do w/Chinese food.  If you decide to do something like this, tell a few key people at each table and let them set the pace.  It’s a great converstion starter

 

 

Post # 15
Member
355 posts
Helper bee

Personally, I love this idea.  I think it gives you and guests more time to socialize.  Plus, I love the all variety you could get with a meal like this. 

Post # 16
Member
1104 posts
Bumble bee

My sister’s wedding was a cocktail wedding. It was over dinner time (ceremony at 5) and was very filling – I’m pretty sure the last few plates to come out barely got touched. They started with light snacks and drinks immediately after the ceremony on the lawn, and then we moved into the building later and it started with noodle boxes (YUM) and then other passed appetizers later, finishing with passed desserts. They had a few chairs but not *quite* enough in my opinion. One thing I like about a seated dinner (which we are doing) is that after you’ve done cocktail hour, you get your own seat, you can leave your jacket/purse/whatever there, and it’s like you have a home to go back to during the night. My sister’s was a fantastic wedding though and I think it can work really well if it’s organised and has enough food!

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