cocktail-style wedding receptions

As B mentioned in last week’s post, we’ve spent lots of time with some of the area’s top wedding vendors over the past few months and on our most recent road trip we met with the lovely gals of Gourmet Galley.  We spent 2 hours gabbing away in their beautiful new office and we were excited to learn that one of our favorite wedding reception concepts is becoming a popular trend: cocktail-style.

A few years ago I attended a wedding that continues to be one of my favorites to-date, all because of the casual yet elegant cocktail-style reception.  If you aren’t into the formality of a seated dinner, don’t have the space to seat all of your guests, or if you’re just looking for a way to set your wedding apart this might be the solution for you!  Not only will you save yourself the headache of creating a seating chart during those stressful weeks leading up to the wedding, but your guests will be free to move about and trust us, they will thank you for not making them sit for what can seem like forever during speeches and first dances!

Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning a cocktail-style reception:

  1. Don’t confuse “cocktail-style” with “cocktail reception” – you want to be sure your guests still get a full meal so plan to have a larger amount of food and wider variety of options than you would typically serve during a “cocktail reception”…which brings us to our next point:
  2. Just because you won’t have a seated dinner, it doesn’t mean this option will be less expensive.  When speaking to caterers have an open mind about the type of food and variety of stations you can incorporate based on your budget.
  3. There are several ways to serve your guests – you can enlist waiters to walk around with passed hors d’oeuvres, set up food stations in various areas of the event space, or lay everything out buffet style.  Choose the style that works best for your space and budget.
  4. One thing we love most about cocktail-style is the ability to work in a mixture of both high and low seating.  Create a casual vibe with low seating like couches and coffee tables, incorporate high-top tables to allow for mingling and dancing, and be sure to provide table seating for elderly and honored guests.

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