What’s the Real Deal with Cocktail Receptions?

Two Cents: How do we entertain our guests without a seated dinner?

How To Plan A Cocktail Wedding Reception?


Q: Hi there!

We are getting married in the DC area—which is notoriously super expensive. To that end, we are considering doing a heavy hors d’oeuvres and cocktail wedding reception to try to bring cost down a bit and also do something fun and fancy. As far as food goes, I’m totally wed to this idea. The part that still gives me pause is the flow—where will people put their purses? How will they know when to listen to toasts and watch the first dance? Will they get tired of the continual movement? What if people want to sit? Do we need seats for all?

I have a hard time visualizing this. Does anyone have experience going to a cocktail—or gala-style— wedding reception and can offer some details to help me understand what it would feel like and how it would flow?


LET’S DO THIS, APW HIVEMIND! Who has planned a cocktail-only wedding reception? Did it run smoothly? Do you have any tips for keeping guests happy and fed? what about chairs?

If you want the APW community’s two cents, send it to QUESTIONS AT APRACTICALWEDDING DOT COM, and we’ll do our best to crowdsource you some answers!

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