would everyone want to sit down at a cocktail party?

Hi can you help with a problem that has just occured?

We are having a " cocktail " party immediately after the Cathedral.

No problem there or so I thought.

Everyone ( inlaws + their pals) have to have a seat.

You What? I have never been to a cocktail party in my life where people sit down. Or insist to be seated.

Obviously I haven't been to the right parties.

Am I wrong in thinking you are supposed to mingle,chat,drink.

It is imformal. I have said that I'll meet them half way and have tables round the outside of the room so the rest of the room is available for dancing.

Future father in law has demanded that we then reserve him a table and the rest can "fight it out"

Please advise. x


  • sonymesonyme Posts: 425

    I must admit ive never been to one either, i suppose if i had cocktails in a bar then id b happy to sit and enjoy them with friends, but hey its youre wedding, you set the rules!!!!
  • We're also having a cocktail reception and there will be no seats! The whole point is to wander and mingle!

    I was at a wedding two weeks ago where the cocktail reception lasted 2.5 hours (while the photos were being taken). There were no seats and we all had killer heels on - nobody complained!
  • Bonbon1050Bonbon1050 Posts: 183
    isn't the whole point of a cocktail party that you have drinks and mingle, I been to a few through work and there are def no tables!!!

    you don't say how long the party is for, if it's a going to be a long event i can understand why some older relatives might not want to be on their feet all evening.

    Your compromise of some tables sounds ideal, even then I wouldn't provide a seat for everyone as you can guarantee when they realise they're the only ones seated they'll want to stand - and not everyone is going to want to sit at the same time.

    why do people have to interfere!

  • futureMrsLeefutureMrsLee Posts: 1,872
    Yep Bon it is for 6 hours and I do now realise that the elderly will NEED to be seated. so I don't mind a compromise.

    Still a little terrified it will turn into a rugby scrum.

    On your marks.....

    Get set........

    Go !
  • What's your venue like? Maybe you could have some sofas or big comfy chairs dotted around - give it a sort of swish urban bar look?
  • futureMrsLeefutureMrsLee Posts: 1,872
    That would be lovely enchanted_mind but the reception venue cannot facilitate anything like that.

    Tables and chairs are the only option.

    Just don't want any moaners, might just roll up my sleeve and give them blood.They're having free champagne all night and still they grumble. x
  • jacquelienejacqueliene Posts: 6,350
    just wondered if the in laws are paying for any of this? if not then they dont really have a say in my opinion. my parents are helping us out with the reception and i still wouldnt let them insist on anythin i didnt want.
  • leafyukleafyuk Posts: 2,182
    Hi, I've been to a couple of weddings that had a cocktail reception instead of a dinner reception. The whole point is that you don't sit down for a meal, you mingle around from person to person and group to group, while nibbling on canapes or bowl food, and drinking!. It would seem very strange to me if the parents of the bride or groom just sat at a table all night!

    You defintiely do need seats though - whenever I've been to one where there were none, people moaned about it, girls took off their shoes, elderly people disappeared to sit in their cars, and people would sit on the ground or on any steps they could find. If your cocktail reception is going to last any more than 2 hours then you should make sure there are enough chairs for at least a quarter of your guests. They will not all sit or stand at the same time, so you'll be fine. Perhaps you need to explain the concept to the parents? It sounds like they have a traditonal reception in mind. Explain to them that it will be like when you arrive at a dinner reception, and everyone just mingles around for the first hour or so - but your whole event will be like that. There won't be table setitngs or head tables or any of that guff, and you really want them to mingle and meet people, and people will expect them to do that - and they can't if they just sit at the same table all night. Other people won't be doing that!
  • hi there i'm sort of having the same problem. having 2pm church service followed by reception in a hotel 3.30pm til late. plan is bubbles, canapes, speeches with everyone mingling & then a hot sausage & mash buffet. now the reception isn't themed or anything but we're getting married on 1st dec so in my head its a 'chic winter drinks party' [venue is a shabby chic hunting lodge with fires & stuff] so thought this would all be cool. there are about 50-60 seats around various sized tables small, large, square, round etc so thought that people would be chatting mostly then maybe sitting a bit, dancing eventually- smokers have to go outside onto a patio where there are even more seats- do you think this will be ok? really worried to be honest the more i think about it. in-laws were NOT happy at the plan & were v confused aaargh! in my head it works so well but maybe not in reality? image
  • leafyukleafyuk Posts: 2,182
    Gwendolynmary, I think your reception ideas sound fantastic! The only thing to consider is that when your buffet comes out, because it will be hot, people will all want to eat it straight away. This means that they will all want to sit down at the same time, too - to eat. The reason why you can get away without seats and tables for everybody at a cocktail reception is that the food served is just continuous fingerfood and canapes - things people can eat with one hand, while standing and holding their glass in their other hand. For longer cocktail receptions, where more substantial food is needed, caterers often offer "bowl food" which is pre-served into bowls and can be eaten with just a fork or chopsticks. Or they offer things like mini burgers or cones of fish and chips. All things that people can stand and eat, so tables and chairs aren't required. If you are doing a buffet which will serve food that people really need a plate, knife and fork for, then perhaps consider having enough chairs and tables for people to sit down while they eat xx
  • futureMrsLeefutureMrsLee Posts: 1,872
    Leafy you are really a font of all knowledge. I agree with you on all counts, especially Gwendolynmarys hunting lodge.Turning a lovely shade of green.

    Am going to have the outsides of the room with tables seating 70 and that will be half seated.I don't mind standing as I can't wait to mingle.

    As you said the people that don't budge from the tables will be the ones that miss out.

    Do you think this is enough? Don't want it to become a seated event. xxx
  • leafyukleafyuk Posts: 2,182
    I think you're onto a winner FutureMrsLee! I think seats for half the people are DEFINITELY enough. Watch out for two many tables though, as this is what will make it feel like a seated event xx

    P.S. A "font of all knowledge"! Wow, what a compliment!! I think it's just that I have been obsessing for nearly a year now about weddings, and we were also going to have a cocktail reception instead of sit-down meal image
  • thanks leafy- defo need to give it a bit more thought in terms of food/cutlery/sitting down- there is another room people can maybe use to eat in or maybe can talk to the hotel about bowl food possibility- will investigate! have you decided definitely to have a cocktail reception? i totally think they are the way forward! x
  • leafyukleafyuk Posts: 2,182
    No, we were going to have a cocktail reception to keep costs down, but have now decided to have fewer people at a dinner reception. When I told people about having a cocktail reception instead of a dinner reception, I got great responses from everyone, even my old-fashioned Dad! He pointed out that the best bit is often the start of the reception, when you get to mingle around, and sitting down at dinner for hours with people you might not really enjoy the company of, is nowhere near as enjoyable! LOL!!
  • it will be lovely & often you get to chat to nice new people you wouldn't have met if you were chatting to your mates- sit down dinners are fab too & anyway all the weddings i've been to recently nobosy seemed to sit still for long & the B&G did the rounds stopping at tables etc which is great- love your avatar btw- what a cutie!
  • i know i'm really really late but still wanted to add my bit. i too am having a "cocktail party". i've hired a bar 2mins walk from the church which has some seating around the bar, around the outskirts by windows, low sofas etc so plenty of seating if people need it.

    also having bowl food ... just wondered what everyone else had decided on. i was going for sausage and mash, thai green chicken curry and a veggie lasagne - covers all options. how many bowls do you allow per person? and what about desert? would love to hear your ideas.
  • ps. what are you putting on your invites with regard to letting the guests know it's a cocktail party and not traditional sit down meal?
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