4 Reasons to Consider a Cocktail-Style Wedding Reception


If you’ve been shopping around for wedding venues but can’t quite find an option that fits in with your budget and style, a cocktail-style reception might be right for you and it can easily fit in to what ever kind of wedding set up you might have in mind so you aren’t limited to a wedding venue. Caterers can pop up just about anywhere and make magic right on the spot. I have seen this style of reception a lot lately as couples (especially in Ontario) have had to make some choices about their post-ceremony activities – a cocktail reception really feels like a party! Guests get to mingle, visit with everyone they love, take lots of photos, and no one is sitting at the table that get served last.

During the reception, guests can select exactly what they would like to eat from food stations – no time limits, courses, or set menus. It’s more of a relaxed reception style, which isn’t the traditional approach. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. This style of reception will definitely need an MC to make sure guests know what they are supposed to be doing and when, to make sure everyone is paying attention when speeches are about to begin, and to announce the first dances, and don’t forget to have tables and chairs so people can sit down and chat while they enjoy their hors d’oeuvres, amuse bouche, and yummy things on sticks!

Here are some good reasons to consider a cocktail-style wedding reception:

It’s Budget-Friendly

If your budget is a bit tight, this could be the perfect option for your wedding. When you serve your guests snack-type foods, you can choose more affordable options that can still be served in a tasteful and classy way. Think chicken strips, tacos, cheese, and mini soups – all the comfort foods guests enjoy. Think of all of the photos your guests will take of their cute snacks!

It Caters to All Tastes

Opting for a set sit-down menu can be stressful because it means you have to choose several options that you hope most of your guests will enjoy. With cocktail-style foods, you get more variety for your money, which means you can cater to the preferences of all guests with gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian options, as well all all of your favourite meats and cheeses!

It Provides a Relaxed Atmosphere

With a cocktail-style reception, guests are free to move around, mingle, and eat whenever they’re hungry. Cocktail tables, a relaxed lounge area, and an intimate dance floor can give your reception a great atmosphere that your guests will remember. You don’t even need to create a seating chart for this type of reception. Don’t forget Instagrammable photo op stations and your wedding hashtag!

No Frustrated Guests

A lot generally needs to happen before any food is served at a reception. From photos and first dances to speeches, guests generally need to wait a while before they can eat. And if you are running behind on your wedding timeline, you may end up with starving, frustrated guests. With a cocktail-style reception, guests can eat when they want to. I’ve been sitting at the table that was served last – it’s not fun waiting an hour longer than the head table to eat and then feeling rushed to finished so the room can be turned over for the party – the cocktail reception eliminates all of those issues.

When it comes to planning your wedding reception, do what works for you, your style, and your budget – you might just find your guests rave about your cocktail reception for years to come!

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