Reception Ideas

Cocktails and Hors D'Oeuvres Reception ideas?

Hi! I'm getting married in October and am planning on having a 7pm ceremony on a Saturday, followed by a cocktails and heavy hors d'oeuvres reception. The ceremony will take place at the reception location, and there will be a short cocktail hour in a foyer area while the room is re-arranged for the reception. The reception will include drinks, hors d'ouvres, dancing, cake, etc.

I like the idea of the hors d'ouvres vs. a full meal, but I don't know how to make some things work and how the evening should flow! I considered assigned tables, because I want to make sure my guests are able to sit with people they are comfortable with, and that families are able to sit together, but I'm not sure if assigned tables might be too formal for an hors d'ouvres buffet type setting?

At the start of the reception, should the tables be "dismissed" to the appetizers buffet to avoid a crazy rush, or is it more appropriate to allow people to get food as they please? Also, how would tables usually be set for an appetizer buffet? 

Any input or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
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