How To Toast The Bride And Groom (Inexpensively) With A Cocktail Reception

Posted on: 14 September 2016


Whether you're looking to reduce your wedding budget or just save yourself some time and energy, hosting a cocktail reception is a great choice. By turning the cocktail hour—many people's favorite part of any reception—into the whole shebang, you can make your guests and your budget happy. Here are five key aspects to planning the best cocktail reception. 

Theme. A cocktail reception may call for a little more mood than a traditional cake-and-punch reception. You can easily achieve a cocktail-themed party by hosting it at an actual restaurant or bar. Alternatively, set up your own lounge space with a makeshift bar or two and lots of comfy seating. 

Drinks. If your budget allows, you may want to offer a full bar with the usual options for your guests. However, you can also save money and simplify things by offering a selection of 4 to 6 cocktails, plus beer and wine. Make your evening special by working with someone knowledgeable to create a signature cocktail that's unique to your wedding. The signature cocktail recipe should reflect the bride and groom's taste or style and will be a memorable part of the evening for all. 

Food. Just because you aren't serving a full dinner doesn't mean you can't fill up your guests' stomachs. A selection of hors d'oeuvres and appetizers can be laid out in stations around the reception. You can serve any tidbits that appeal to you, including fancy versions of comfort food like sliders or gourmet mac and cheese shots. Or skip the hearty foods and offer a selection of tiny dessert bites instead.

Seating. Provide comfortable seating—including small couches, overstuffed chairs, and romantic tables for two—scattered throughout the space. This encourages guests to mix and mingle in a casual and fun environment. As an added bonus, cocktail receptions help you avoid having to design a seating chart for all your friends and relatives.

Music. A cocktail reception should include some kind of music, but it generally can be less formal and expensive than a full band at a regular reception. A string quartet, duo, or even a single pianist can provide great mood music in the background. If you want to highlight the cocktail theme, try hiring a jazz singer or even a Rat Pack impersonator for the evening.

A cocktail reception can be an easy way to leave a lasting memory in your guests' minds without leaving a lasting mark in your own wallet.