I get asked this question often. What is better, a cocktail reception or a sit-down dinner? Truth is, it depends on the couple and the people on your guestlist.
Cocktail receptions are very trendy. Speeches are often done early in the night and guests can eat and drink at their pleasure. Weddings tend to feel less formal with a cocktail reception. There’s a lot less pomp and circumstance. Guests dance more. For younger guests it’s a dream, their own private nightclub. For older guests, it’s not as fun. They often complain there isn’t anywhere to sit down or that the music is too loud to talk.
The next question that usually follows is: Are cocktail receptions cheaper than sit-down dinners? The quick answer is NO. At a sit down-dinner, guests drink much less. Perhaps a glass or two of wine or champagne. At cocktail receptions, guests tend to drink far more, maybe 5-6 through the night, in far greater variety (rum, gin, vodka cocktails). At a sit-down dinner, guests eat the meal that is provided. At cocktail receptions, guests can eat multiple plates throughout the night.
Yes, you save on providing so many place settings, but I guarantee you make it up in food and drink costs.
So what’s better? A cocktail reception or a sit-down dinner?
If you are a more traditional bride who prefers to have a wedding over ‘just a party’, I’d recommend a sit-down dinner. If you’re not really interested in tossing bouquets or removing garters and just want to have a fun time with friends and families, I’d recommend a cocktail reception.
Either way, don’t let money be the deciding factor in this one, because ultimately they’re one in the same. So make the decision that best suits you both. Whichever you choose, they both lead you to the dancefloor at the end of the night!