It’s becoming a more common scenario at wedding receptions these days as couples start out spending less and focusing more on saving (even before saying “I do”!) Smaller, more intimate Cocktail Reception style weddings are taking the cake, so to speak, when it comes to wedding receptions – appetizers and drinks for guests are keeping guests happy and keeping couples from beginning forever, broke!
Who says you have to have a formal, seated dinner for your wedding reception? You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a wonderful reception, nor do you need to put in all the long planning hours to figure out the menu and where everyone should sit. Instead, you can plan a sophisticated cocktail reception that will help you save time and money without sacrificing a good time.
Not sure if a cocktail reception is right for your wedding? Consider these benefits:
Accommodate More Guests
One of the biggest fights that couples have when they are planning their weddings is over who to invite. The more people you invite, the more problems you have. You have to get a bigger reception venue, pay for more tables and chairs, pay for more food, and more.
With a cocktail reception, you can fit a lot more people into your venue. You don’t have to have a table and chair for every person. Have a few standing tables and waiters who are ready to bring drinks and take away empty glasses. Without tables, you can fit a lot more people into a room when they are standing, this can help you avoid one big wedding headache.
Circulate More Easily
The cocktail reception is all about mingling. Guests aren’t going to want to stand in one spot for a long time, so they are going to move about, and that means that they are going to talk to other guests more. It also means that you’ll have the chance to talk with more guests.
With a sit-down dinner, the bride and groom often get stuck at a table because they are invited to sit and chat. With a cocktail reception, the bride and groom are more easily accessible. Even if they are standing next to someone talking, people will feel more free to come up and join the conversation. The couple will feel like they get to talk to more people at a cocktail reception, and the guests will feel like they got to spend more time with the couple also. Everyone is happy!
Cocktail receptions don’t tend to last as long as receptions that feature a full meal. Many couples and their guests will find this a welcome change. For some people, sitting through several meal courses, toasts, and cake cutting can drag on and feel like torture. The cocktail reception allows you to get right to the most important festivities without wasting a lot of time on logistics and transitions.
Plus, with a shorter reception, you won’t have to pay as much for your venue and you can get started on the honeymoon even faster!
Save Money on Food and Drinks
Cocktail receptions have the potential to save you a lot of money. We say potential because it all depends on what kind of drinks you put on the menu and how much your guests drink. If you have an open bar with top-shelf liquor and your Uncle Harry comes primed to have a good time, you might spend even more than you would with a carefully planned sit-down meal.
But if you’re limiting the menu to wine, beer, and a couple pre-selected cocktails made with budget-friendly liquor, you should save a lot. Make sure you pass appetisers so that no one gets too carried away and has to be sent home in a cab. Choose a couple of budget-friendly yet delicious options to pass throughout the night, and everyone should be satisfied.
More Focus on Entertainment
At a lot of wedding receptions, the primary affair is the food. People see the dancing as a suggestion, and they show mild interest in events like the flower toss. If you want to shift their focus to the entertainment, consider a cocktail reception. This ensures that they don’t have the meal to make their main focus.
Plan other activities to supplement the traditional fare. In addition to dancing, have some activities set up throughout the room. This could be some fun couple’s games, a photo booth, or a video confessional. Get creative. Choose things that are related to the wedding and will keep your guests entertained.
Fears About a Cocktail Reception
Some brides avoid cocktail receptions for the fear of guests complaining or bad mouthing the entire event. This “guilt” leads to spending way more than budgeted and chances are very good that your guests will not care. Having your wedding at an “off” time of day can help with easing any fears about only serving appetisers. From 10-11am or 1-2pm, no one will expect a full meal. Make sure that you include this on your wedding invitation. This will prepare guests for whatever you serve and no one will be disappointed!
Couples are also concerned with guests supplementing alcoholic beverages for food. We all know what excessive drinking can lead to (not so great memories that will create awkward holiday dinners). Create a two-drink cap and offer non-alcoholic drinks as well. You could also ask the bartender to keep a watch on certain people. Set up “guards” (or family and friends) to watch over the guests you are specifically concerned about. This assignment will prevent any problems with those who don’t quite know their limits.
A cocktail reception has a lot of benefits. Consider switching to this shorter and more sophisticated reception option instead of doing the full, formal dinner. You may be glad that you did!