Cocktail Type Reception

This informal style is perfect if you want your guests to mingle, without a rigid seating arrangement. It’s a good idea, however, to provide some seating for elderly guests. And remember those ladies in high heels! Remember to specify in the invite that the reception will be a cocktail, and to mention if it is outdoors. Making sure the guests know that a full meal will not be served is one of the most important points. Ensure there is enough variety in your menu, and enough quantity. Be careful of the liquor cost if you are running an open bar. Fancy cocktails and guests’s ability to drink on a Friday may push up your liquor costs!


A cocktail reception is normally shorter (the total time you spend with your guests will be less). If you are using an outdoor area to serve the cocktails, you may not have a dance floor. You could save on the DJ and use a PA system for background music. If it rains, you need to have an alternative indoor area available. Think about whether you want to do the bouquet and garter, and where you will do it.


A cocktail reception is a great idea for a Friday night. You could take pictures earlier (bride only, or bride and groom, or bride and bridal party), in the afternoon light, and have your guests arrive at around 6 or 7pm for a romantic reception in the garden with fairy lights. Or you could start at around 4 and enjoy the sunset and a beautiful evening with your guests.