If you are looking to have a classy, yet inexpensive wedding, holding a cocktail reception may be an alternative you may want to consider. When planning a wedding, you will need to allocate at least fifty percent of your budget to your wedding reception. If you are looking for a trendy reception idea while cutting your expenses down, a cocktail reception will cost much less than a traditional wedding reception.
Cocktail receptions are much cheaper than traditional wedding receptions for several reasons: less food, smaller location, few (if any) tables and chairs which will cut down on your rental and floral expenses. There will be no large tables to dress up with centerpieces, no linen charges, no full settings of china to rent. You won’t have to worry about assigning seating or purchasing place cards and table decorations. You will not have to hire an expensive break down crew for after the reception clean up.
Cocktail receptions also create a much more social atmosphere versus a traditional wedding reception. With few tables and chairs, the cocktail reception encourages mingling and movement around the location. This party type of format may not be conducive for traditional wedding reception activities, unless the location has enough room to “clear” the center for first dances and bouquet tossing.
If you decide to have a cocktail wedding reception, remember timing and location is everything. A cocktail reception is best held between the hours of 5 pm to 7 pm, or if you are planning on a three hour cocktail party, from 4 pm to 7 pm. Any earlier, your guests may not want to eat, any later, they may expect a full meal. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres tend to take less time than a full reception, so a cocktail reception should be between two and three hours at the most.
A cocktail reception opens the doors to many location possibilities which would otherwise not be available to you if you had a traditional wedding reception. You could have your cocktail reception poolside, on a terrace, on a city rooftop (which would be beautiful at sunset), at an art gallery, or even in a room in a museum. You will open the door to many unique reception locations if you choose this idea, often costing a fraction of the price of a traditional banquet location. And don't forget to give fabulous Cocktail wedding favors!