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  • Writer's pictureTricia Bachewich

Cocktail Receptions- Yay or Nay

Are you trying to decide if a cocktail style reception is for you? Or are you unsure as to what a cocktail style reception is? This blog would be for you. Keep reading.

Since the trend of intimate weddings & restaurant weddings have popped up, I have seen more cocktail style receptions than ever before. There are a few things to consider when planning this style of event, so let's dive in.

Budget accordingly.

Your guests will be mixing and mingling all night, which generally results in higher bar bills. You will also need to have A LOT of food. People will be wandering, burning more calories than if they are sitting all night, and looking for food. In addition to passed appetizers, you should have substantial food stations such as charcuterie boards with protein-rich items. Keep in mind that having a cocktail style reception is no more or less expensive than having a plated meal. 

Expect a different vibe.

Let your guests know ahead of time that it is a cocktail style reception, so they can plan to stand a bit longer than usual, wear appropriate footwear and get into that relaxed mindset. Cocktail receptions are generally much more laid back than formal dinners. People love drinks & dancing, so just let them enjoy! This could also mean fewer formalities, such as no grace, no slideshow, no lengthy formal speeches, no receiving line, etc... Guests honestly love it, I promise. 

Seating is important and strategic.

You need to have seating for approximately 50% of your guests. Any less and you will have to crowd around the lounge areas to catch a break from standing. Any more and it will just look like you may have forgotten seating for some guests. The seating areas should be for elderly guests, immediate family members or young kids. 

Don't skip on the activities.

It is just our generation that people will get bored if there is nothing to do. Expect to pay for additional vendors (such as a photo booth) to keep people occupied.


Since your guests will be standing, mixing and mingling, consider a non-conventional start time. Typically the ceremony will start around 4 pm, with dinner around 6 pm. Consider a 6:30 pm ceremony with cocktails and reception to follow.

Happy Planning! - Tricia xoxo

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