Traditional sit down dinners are no more a must, and many couples tend to highlight their uniqueness, that's why they choose other ways to organize wedding reception. So let's keep the traditional wedding book of rules on its shelf, because we're going to plan a wedding cocktail reception.
Wedding cocktail reception is perfect for couples, who want to keep their wedding on budget. First of all, you save on drinks, because people tend to drink more during the sit down dinner. And different hors d'oeuvres will also cost you less, than appetizers, salad or soup, main dish, side dish and dessert. However, it's true only if you keep you cocktail reception party under three hours, otherwise the budget difference between the two parties is negligible. Also wedding cocktail reception is good for all couples, who have more than 300 guests.
Without thoughtful planning wedding cocktail reception can become a disaster and your guests will leave hungry and unhappy. You want to keep everyone happy, that's why remember these simple tips
#1 Indicate the style of wedding reception in invitations. Every person who gets a wedding invitation expects a sit down dinner. Including a line “a cocktail party” will let your guests know, what you're planning.
#2 Choose the right time. Cocktail receptions don't have to last too long, otherwise feeding people with snacks will cost you more than a sit down dinner. Also wisely choose the time when you begin the wedding reception, so people won't be hungry. A reception at 2 pm will tell people, that they need to have lunch before they go, and they will have some snacks and come back home for dinner. Reception at 7 pm will tell, that guests first need to have a light dinner, and they can count on light snacks and a dessert. The time between 4 and 6 pm is not the best choice, because it's time when people mostly expect to have dinner.
#3 Choose alcohols for the bar. People drink less during the cocktail party than during the sit down meal, but the choice of the alcohols should be wider. You may consult a bartender concerning the amount of booze for the party, but basically you need one liter of rum, tequila, whiskey, gin and six liters of vodka for 100 guests. Two dozen bottles of red and white wines should also be available at the bar. Concerning the selection of mixers for the cocktails, you will need orange juice, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice and tonic water (as basics), also add some regular and diet soft drinks for guests who won't drink any alcohol.
#4 Menu. The menu is the most complicated part. You need to choose the appetizers for the guests, that will be hearty and not too expensive. The most popular choice of hors d'oeuvres are stuffed mushrooms, mini crab cakes, chicken skewers. You can also think about fish and chips cones, dumplings, crepes, rice paper rolls, tartlets etc. Make sure that you have some vegetarian snacks for guests who don't want to eat meat. Dessert can also be included into the menu, but it's served as a sign that the party is going to its end. Since wedding cocktail reception tends to omit such traditional thing as the first dance, think about including the cake-cutting ceremony.
#5 Places to sit. People are meant to mingle during the cocktail reception, but in fact many of your guests would like to sit down (think of grandparents and ladies on heels), that's why the venue you choose should be able to provide enough of tables and chairs. Make sure that at least one third of your guests can sit down, however, it's better to let sit down up to 75 percent of your guests.
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