If you're short on cash or your wedding venue is a bit small, a stylish cocktail reception may be a great alternative to a full, sit-down meal. But because this option isn't quite as traditional, it's important to plan all aspects in depth so that your guests are happily and you leave with wonderful memories of your special day. For starters, make sure your invitations indicate that there will be a "cocktail reception to follow..." or a night of "champagne, dancing and desserts... ." This way, your guests know what's coming and you don't have to worry about hungry Aunt Harriet asking where her fillet Mignon is.
If your small venue isn't the reason you've decided to have the cocktail reception in the first place, then you have some fun prospects to choose from when it comes to the location. Make sure it takes place near or in the same area as the wedding ceremony. This way, your guests won't have too far to go and there's more of a chance they will show up on time and enjoy the full party. Picking a space that is conducive to the movement of guests is a practical idea, as most cocktail receptions have fewer tables than guests, thereby encouraging mingling. Also, room to take pictures and enjoy the reception is important. An outdoor patio under the stars, the rooftop of a city skyscraper, poolside, an art gallery, or a trendy studio loft are just some of many options that cater to the needs of the reception while still being super stylish.
A proper cocktail should take place between 5 pm and 7 pm in order to ensure that it's not too early to eat, yet at the same time, guests will have some time to eat a little something before coming if they like.
Since there are no full-blown meals served at a cocktail reception, there is really no need for the fancy large tables with expensive centrepieces
As for the food and alcohol, it's good to have some roving waiters wandering among the guests to offer tasty treats. But having food stations and bars is a great way to ensure that the guests will keep moving--they've got to get to the grub! Just make sure they're arranged in a way that doesn't encourage hungry/thirsty lines to start forming.
You might also be able to infuse some creative touches here, adding ice sculptures or chocolate fondue fountains
Topping the list of concerns for your cocktail reception are the cocktails, of course! To keep with the theme of cheaper is better, you may want to limit the alcohol choice to beer, wine, champagne
Before deciding what exactly to serve, get your priorities in order. You want to make sure that the food is substantial enough for your guests' appetites and that your foods match the time of day of the reception. If you do opt to have it closer to midday, then you may want to have lighter hors d'oeuvres; the traditional evening reception dictates something a bit heavier.
Your foods should:
While having a standalone cocktail reception may be all that your wallet can handle, if you happen to have some cash leftover after budgeting, why not pass out some favours to your guests?
Who doesn't like to take some candy home at the end of a great celebration? Check out your options below for edible wedding favours.
Give your guests something that they can re-use to always remember the special day.
Cocktail hour is a great time for wedding members to sign a guest book