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Ceremony & cocktail hour -only!!

hi all, 

Does anyone one know if a wedding can consist of a ceremony and cocktail 'hour' only? 

We we are looking for various options and creative ideas for a small and intimate gathering.
 
I am looking for advice, thoughts, recommendation, expertise, etc., please share! 

Thanks ☺️

Re: Ceremony & cocktail hour -only!!

  • hi all, 

    Does anyone one know if a wedding can consist of a ceremony and cocktail 'hour' only? 

    We we are looking for various options and creative ideas for a small and intimate gathering.
     
    I am looking for advice, thoughts, recommendation, expertise, etc., please share! 

    Thanks ☺️
    Need a little more information-- what is the time of the ceremony?
    Knottie1463668988
  • It would be 630-7 but at this point there is flexibility still
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    It would be 630-7 but at this point there is flexibility still
    At that time of day, it is appropriate to have a meal of more than just cocktail hour (assuming there are some finger foods).  Could you move the wedding to be a bit later?
    Knottie1463668988OliveOilsMom
  • Thank you for your reply. 
    We could consider pushing it back a bit but the ceremony is outside with little to no lighting. Maybe if it was a bit earlier? That's something to consider 
  • Yes, you would need to move the ceremony so that it starts after the time when dinner might normally be served. 8pm or 8:30pm would be a better time for the ceremony so that your guests will have time to eat a meal before your wedding.
    Knottie1463668988InLoveInQueens
  • 7 is dinner time...are you in NY/NJ where cocktail hour includes lots of stations (potato bar, carving station, seafood, various pastas, pizzas/calzone/garlic knots, sliders, etc.) in addition to the usual fruits, veggies, cheese and crackers and passed apps? At your proposed time guests do need a good spread of food.  
    Knottie1463668988charlotte989875cowgirl8238
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited December 2016
    At that time of day, you need to serve a meal.  Why a cocktail hour?  Alcohol is expensive.  Just serve a simple meal with wine and beer.  It doesn't need to be fancy food.  Pasta?  Instead of an expensive tiered wedding cake, order a decorated sheet cake from Sam's Club or Costco.  It tastes better than most bakery cakes, anyway.
    No, you can't just serve drinks and call it a reception at that time of day.

    Afternoon weddings (3:00 PM) can be done with cake and punch receptions.  This is more common in the South.  I like platters of tea sandwiches and crudites to accompany this.

    What do you mean by "small and intimate"?  How many people are we talking about?  If it is truly small, a restaurant might be able to give you a private room and a special menu.


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    Knottie1463668988cowgirl8238emmaaashort+sassy
  • Thank you for your reply. 
    We could consider pushing it back a bit but the ceremony is outside with little to no lighting. Maybe if it was a bit earlier? That's something to consider 
    It would need to be a lot earlier. You'd need to avoid a mealtime, so the ceremony would need to start after 2 or so, and the reception would need to end before 5pm.
    Knottie1463668988InLoveInQueens
  • No I'm in Florida. The venue has everything al la carte ,(didn't find that out until after booking the venue plus we are locked into their chartering and bar service only...which is incredibly expensive) so the bar does not include passed hor dourves or anything. That might be something to consider looking at as well and see what flexibility is with that. 
  • Thank you! That was one of the reasons I wanted to post for the forum, get ideas on how to rearrange the day. I am open to changing the time and we have that flexibility as well. Even a brunch timing.
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    If you're serving alcohol, you'll need some sort of food to go with it.

    What time of year is your wedding?
    Knottie1463668988
  • Thank you! That was one of the reasons I wanted to post for the forum, get ideas on how to rearrange the day. I am open to changing the time and we have that flexibility as well. Even a brunch timing.
  • It's in the fall of next year. 

    The he only other thing I could think to do is to postpone. 
  • As PPs have said, for that time of day you need to serve a meal. Any time that overlaps a mealtime requires a meal to be served. If you have a 3:00 wedding you could have a "cake and punch" reception that doesn't necessarily just include cake and punch. If you serve alcohol, you need to serve food too. I can't think of any kind of cocktail party that doesn't include food too - the food doesn't have to be passed it can be a buffet.

    You still have plenty of time as far as planning is concerned so no need to postpone unless you want to do so to save more money.
    SP29
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    You can absolutely have just a cocktail reception, but as PPs have said, it needs to be away from a meal time. Anything that's around lunch or dinner time, you need to serve a meal. What about if you started your event around 2-3pm? 

    InLoveInQueens
  • Check your contract first for any room/venue minimums, it's possible you have a required amount you need to spend. 

    I agree with others that you need to serve some food if you're holding the ceremony at 6 or 7. Either move everything earlier, save for the next year, find a different venue that is in your budget.  There's no time of day when you don't have to serve some food to your guests. 
  • Can you cancel the venue? I assume you would only lose your initial deposit. This venue sounds like it is out of your budget and isn't able to offer what you want.

    What you are describing is called a "Cake and Punch Reception". Ceremony, then guests are greeted by the bride and groom and offered refreshments. It is not required to provide alcohol, but some variety of beverages and some form of food should be served, even if it is as simple as cheese/crackers, fruit/veggie trays, nuts, etc. Get  This must be held at a non-meal time. A 2pm ceremony works for this. Your event is over by 5pm.
    ei34InLoveInQueens
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