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Reception Ideas

Cocktail Reception?

I just started exploring ideas of different types of receptions and etc. I was doing my research on cocktail receptions so I know the basics of what you should and should do. State it on the invitation have it after normal dinner time, have enough seating and etc.. I would like to get some ideas whether or not cocktail receptions are good choice or not. Also I was curious if you still have dancing and everything? I do not want a long dragged out reception, which I have been to one this past year. By the time we had our cake it was 11pm, everyone just wanted to go home. I want something where people can eat socialize and then have some fun and dance and so on. I would just like to hear some opinions on cocktail receptions. THanks!

Re: Cocktail Reception?

  • MeganM704 said:
    I just started exploring ideas of different types of receptions and etc. I was doing my research on cocktail receptions so I know the basics of what you should and should do. State it on the invitation have it after normal dinner time, have enough seating and etc.. I would like to get some ideas whether or not cocktail receptions are good choice or not. Also I was curious if you still have dancing and everything? I do not want a long dragged out reception, which I have been to one this past year. By the time we had our cake it was 11pm, everyone just wanted to go home. I want something where people can eat socialize and then have some fun and dance and so on. I would just like to hear some opinions on cocktail receptions. THanks!

    I have no problem with cocktail receptions. However, you will need to have just as much food (if not more) than you would for a dinner reception. So it is in no way a cost saving measure.

    People LOVE hors d'oeuvres and appetizer type food. They will eat much more than you could ever imagine...especially during a drinking-orientated event.

  • have you ever been to a cocktail reception?
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    MeganM704 said:
    I just started exploring ideas of different types of receptions and etc. I was doing my research on cocktail receptions so I know the basics of what you should and should do. State it on the invitation have it after normal dinner time, have enough seating and etc.. I would like to get some ideas whether or not cocktail receptions are good choice or not. Also I was curious if you still have dancing and everything? I do not want a long dragged out reception, which I have been to one this past year. By the time we had our cake it was 11pm, everyone just wanted to go home. I want something where people can eat socialize and then have some fun and dance and so on. I would just like to hear some opinions on cocktail receptions. THanks!
    I have been to a cocktail reception and yes, they can be fun if your crowd is a late night party kind of crowd. The ceremony needs to start no earlier than 8:30 or 9 pm in order to get away with not serving a full meal.  However, I echo the sentiments above that you will need to have some food for everyone as well. Dancing is great and go ahead and have it. If you are worried about cutting the cake at 11pm however, this might not be for you as your reception most likely will not start until 9:30 or 10.

    Also, do you have any elderly VIPs or people that do not like to be out late? They will probably only stay a short while as it is later in the evening. Just something to take into consideration.

    It all depends on the hosting and crowd- I have been to formal seated dinner weddings where it was a more fun party atmosphere than some of the cocktail receptions I have been to. It isn't the seated meal that makes it drag!

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    You actually aren't supposed to state on the invitation the type of entertainment and provisions for the reception-so, putting "cocktail reception" on there is incorrect, just as you wouldn't mention "limited bar."

    That said, you need to have sufficient food for everyone.  Even if it's not a full meal, there have to be enough appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, and/or desserts available, and that can cost as much as a full meal.
  • MeganM704 said:
    have you ever been to a cocktail reception?

    Obviously, or I wouldn't have been able to answer your question.
    RedJacks25
  • Ok, was there dancing?
  • MeganM704 said:
    Ok, was there dancing?

    Typically, yes, there is. But dancing is never required at a wedding.
  • You actually aren't supposed to state on the invitation the type of entertainment and provisions for the reception-so, putting "cocktail reception" on there is incorrect, just as you wouldn't mention "limited bar."

    That said, you need to have sufficient food for everyone.  Even if it's not a full meal, there have to be enough appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, and/or desserts available, and that can cost as much as a full meal.


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I don't think it would be rude or incorrect to put "Cocktail Reception to follow" on the invitation - many people suggest being specific when the reception will deviate at all from what is standard (a full dinner).

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  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers

     

    itzMS said:
    MeganM704 said:
    I just started exploring ideas of different types of receptions and etc. I was doing my research on cocktail receptions so I know the basics of what you should and should do. State it on the invitation have it after normal dinner time, have enough seating and etc.. I would like to get some ideas whether or not cocktail receptions are good choice or not. Also I was curious if you still have dancing and everything? I do not want a long dragged out reception, which I have been to one this past year. By the time we had our cake it was 11pm, everyone just wanted to go home. I want something where people can eat socialize and then have some fun and dance and so on. I would just like to hear some opinions on cocktail receptions. THanks!

    I have no problem with cocktail receptions. However, you will need to have just as much food (if not more) than you would for a dinner reception. So it is in no way a cost saving measure.

    People LOVE hors d'oeuvres and appetizer type food. They will eat much more than you could ever imagine...especially during a drinking-orientated event.


    Ditto.  I always say my favorite part of a wedding is the cocktail hour.  If the entire evening was like that, I'd be in heaven!  Doesn't matter if it's after a meal time and I already ate at home.  Weddings are special and I will indulge in apps.  That said, you will need to ensure you have enough food to make it through your event, especially if people are drinking.   Not sure if you'd really save any money.
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    You actually aren't supposed to state on the invitation the type of entertainment and provisions for the reception-so, putting "cocktail reception" on there is incorrect, just as you wouldn't mention "limited bar."

    That said, you need to have sufficient food for everyone.  Even if it's not a full meal, there have to be enough appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, and/or desserts available, and that can cost as much as a full meal.


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I don't think it would be rude or incorrect to put "Cocktail Reception to follow" on the invitation - many people suggest being specific when the reception will deviate at all from what is standard (a full dinner).
    This.  If it were me I typically expect a full meal because that is all I have ever known with regards to weddings.  So letting me know it was a cocktail reception rather then just putting "reception to follow" would help me out a lot as to what to expect.

  • I don't care what some etiquette book may say, I would at least put on the invite that it is a cocktail reception or whatever acceptable phrase you choose.  That way people know whether to expect to eat a meal prior to or not (depending on time of day, of course). I would want people to know this aspect up front.
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    jenn77b said:
    I don't care what some etiquette book may say, I would at least put on the invite that it is a cocktail reception or whatever acceptable phrase you choose.  That way people know whether to expect to eat a meal prior to or not (depending on time of day, of course). I would want people to know this aspect up front.


    Many cocktail receptions are done in place of plated dinners or buffets.  If this is the case, you would be serving enough (and hearty) apps to equal a meal.  No need to let people know, they're getting the equivalent of a meal.

    If you are just serving light apps and not a meal, you would have it at a non-meal time.  If I was told a ceremony started at 8pm, I would make sure I ate beforehand.

    So putting cocktail reception on the invite can mean both.  It's the time of day that dictates if it is a meal or light snacks.

  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    jenn77b said:
    I don't care what some etiquette book may say, I would at least put on the invite that it is a cocktail reception or whatever acceptable phrase you choose.  That way people know whether to expect to eat a meal prior to or not (depending on time of day, of course). I would want people to know this aspect up front.


    Many cocktail receptions are done in place of plated dinners or buffets.  If this is the case, you would be serving enough (and hearty) apps to equal a meal.  No need to let people know, they're getting the equivalent of a meal.

    If you are just serving light apps and not a meal, you would have it at a non-meal time.  If I was told a ceremony started at 8pm, I would make sure I ate beforehand.

    So putting cocktail reception on the invite can mean both.  It's the time of day that dictates if it is a meal or light snacks.

    Not always the case. I know etiquette wise it is right, what you are saying, but I have been to about 3 weddings that took place later in the evening (like at 8pm) and a full meal was still served. So if I did go by the time of day I would have eaten dinner before hand only to get there and be served a full fledged dinner again. Honestly, unless cocktail style receptions are a norm in your area then I don't really see anything wrong with saying "cocktail reception" on the invitation. It is certainly not in anyway hurting your guests by saying something like that, especially if you are having that type of reception at the appropriate time of day. It isn't like you are putting "cash bar" on the invite.

    grumbledore
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited September 2013
    Maggie0829 said:
    jenn77b said:
    I don't care what some etiquette book may say, I would at least put on the invite that it is a cocktail reception or whatever acceptable phrase you choose.  That way people know whether to expect to eat a meal prior to or not (depending on time of day, of course). I would want people to know this aspect up front.


    Many cocktail receptions are done in place of plated dinners or buffets.  If this is the case, you would be serving enough (and hearty) apps to equal a meal.  No need to let people know, they're getting the equivalent of a meal.

    If you are just serving light apps and not a meal, you would have it at a non-meal time.  If I was told a ceremony started at 8pm, I would make sure I ate beforehand.

    So putting cocktail reception on the invite can mean both.  It's the time of day that dictates if it is a meal or light snacks.

    Not always the case. I know etiquette wise it is right, what you are saying, but I have been to about 3 weddings that took place later in the evening (like at 8pm) and a full meal was still served. So if I did go by the time of day I would have eaten dinner before hand only to get there and be served a full fledged dinner again. Honestly, unless cocktail style receptions are a norm in your area then I don't really see anything wrong with saying "cocktail reception" on the invitation. It is certainly not in anyway hurting your guests by saying something like that, especially if you are having that type of reception at the appropriate time of day. It isn't like you are putting "cash bar" on the invite.
    I'd put this information out by word of mouth or on a website.
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    jenn77b said:
    I don't care what some etiquette book may say, I would at least put on the invite that it is a cocktail reception or whatever acceptable phrase you choose.  That way people know whether to expect to eat a meal prior to or not (depending on time of day, of course). I would want people to know this aspect up front.


    Many cocktail receptions are done in place of plated dinners or buffets.  If this is the case, you would be serving enough (and hearty) apps to equal a meal.  No need to let people know, they're getting the equivalent of a meal.

    If you are just serving light apps and not a meal, you would have it at a non-meal time.  If I was told a ceremony started at 8pm, I would make sure I ate beforehand.

    So putting cocktail reception on the invite can mean both.  It's the time of day that dictates if it is a meal or light snacks.

    Not always the case. I know etiquette wise it is right, what you are saying, but I have been to about 3 weddings that took place later in the evening (like at 8pm) and a full meal was still served. So if I did go by the time of day I would have eaten dinner before hand only to get there and be served a full fledged dinner again. Honestly, unless cocktail style receptions are a norm in your area then I don't really see anything wrong with saying "cocktail reception" on the invitation. It is certainly not in anyway hurting your guests by saying something like that, especially if you are having that type of reception at the appropriate time of day. It isn't like you are putting "cash bar" on the invite.


    I hate that.   Even if the ceremony was at 8pm, it means we're probably not eating until 9pm, probably later.   I've been to a wedding like that .....we didn't get our dinner until 10:30pm.  It sucked.  Then I felt like I barely had time to digest it and I was heading to bed. So now, if the dinner is planned for a later than usual start, I will still eat dinner beforehand and just graze at the meal served at the reception.  I'm getting old.  :D

  • Jen4948 said:
    Maggie0829 said:
    jenn77b said:
    I don't care what some etiquette book may say, I would at least put on the invite that it is a cocktail reception or whatever acceptable phrase you choose.  That way people know whether to expect to eat a meal prior to or not (depending on time of day, of course). I would want people to know this aspect up front.


    Many cocktail receptions are done in place of plated dinners or buffets.  If this is the case, you would be serving enough (and hearty) apps to equal a meal.  No need to let people know, they're getting the equivalent of a meal.

    If you are just serving light apps and not a meal, you would have it at a non-meal time.  If I was told a ceremony started at 8pm, I would make sure I ate beforehand.

    So putting cocktail reception on the invite can mean both.  It's the time of day that dictates if it is a meal or light snacks.

    Not always the case. I know etiquette wise it is right, what you are saying, but I have been to about 3 weddings that took place later in the evening (like at 8pm) and a full meal was still served. So if I did go by the time of day I would have eaten dinner before hand only to get there and be served a full fledged dinner again. Honestly, unless cocktail style receptions are a norm in your area then I don't really see anything wrong with saying "cocktail reception" on the invitation. It is certainly not in anyway hurting your guests by saying something like that, especially if you are having that type of reception at the appropriate time of day. It isn't like you are putting "cash bar" on the invite.
    I'd put this information out by word of mouth or on a website.
    I would put it on the invitation.  It's not rude in the slightest and avoids confusion.

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    Maggie0829southernbelle0915
  • Thanks everyone for your input!
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