What is your best advice for a stand-up cocktail wedding reception?

March 9, 2013 | By

Question by Frankie: What is your best advice for a stand-up cocktail wedding reception?
We would like to do something "unique" for our wedding, and are considering a stand-up reception. The ceremony would be in the evening with the stand-up cocktail/hors d'oeurves reception to follow.

What works really well with these types of parties? Do you know of any bride/wedding blogs that document this kind of reception?

Best answer:

Answer by D4Pres2012
bad idea. people dress up for weddings, which means they are in uncomfortable shoes. if you want people to leave early due to foot pain from standing all night, then have your stand up event. furthermore, people hate to stand and eat. especially when you have a drink in your other hand- it's impossible! it's OK if you just want an informal reception with finger foods and cash bar, just let people know in the invitation they won't be served a full meal. but for god's sake let them sit down!

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Comments (8)

  1. Gretchen K

    Even though it’s stand up, make sure there are enough chairs for just about everyone so people have the option of sitting…you can line the chairs around the perimeter of the room, etc. Or, if this is an option, get a venue (like a restaurant lounge, etc.) that has lots of couches and plush chairs to make for a cozy, plush party.

    If you have the budget for it, hire servers to walk around with drinks and hors d’oeurves instead of having guests just go up to food tables themselves. Sprinkle several high tables around so people can rest their plates/drinks and chat. Have varied and interesting food choices. If you can get a little fancy with this, go for it!

  2. Wine Babe

    I agree with the first answerer, these people are going to want to sit down. Please provide tables and chairs.

  3. melouofs

    People need a place to sit. Ladies are wearing heels and they have purses. There might be kids to consider or elderly relatives who NEED a seat. Juggling a drink and plate of food (even just appetizers) and purse and all gets old FAST.

    My cousin had a wedding like that (enough chairs for a few to sit) and my family stood the whole time, didn’t know where to put their jackets or purses and felt generally out of sorts the whole time. The wedding was like 10 years ago, and that’s all anyone tlks about when his wedding is brought up.

  4. miss_nikki

    1. This will only work really well for crowds under 75 (I would actually say 50). Otherwise your reception will seem kind crowded.
    2. You should still provide some sort of tables (especially if you have some older guests) or seating arrangement.
    3. You should have servers to walk around to serve the hors d’oeurves because it seems quite a bit classier than someone grabbing something off the table, eating it, and then going back to grab more. This way they can just grab off the plates as they go around.

  5. truefirstedition

    I have been to receptions like these and always end up leaving after I eat. It doesn’t matter how young and healthy the crowd is – no one likes to stand around for hours (especially in heels!). It’s a pain to juggle a plate, glass, purse, jacket, favor, etc, without a handy table.

    I think it works if you’re just having cake and punch and the reception only lasts an hour. Otherwise, your guests are going to be really uncomfortable. The reception is your gift to them, and their comfort should come first.

    I don’t think a stand-up reception is unique. I just think it’s a huge pain. If you want to serve appetizers and cocktails, that’s fine, but arrange chairs (enough for everyone) in conversational groups instead of around dinner tables.

  6. Marysia

    frankie i’m assuming you mean stand up (aka dinner stations) versus a sit down served meal or a buffet (aka chow line). if that is the case — FUN! we did one the other day and while there were tables and chairs there were also sofa’s, love seats and other type of “comfy” seats. you stil have to have seating for people but it doesn’t have to be bland and boring. have stations that reflect your relafionship – for example a sushi station or argentinian or chinese or polish or soul food or — whatever floats your boat! if you both like to travel incorporate that. if you’re going some where funky on your honeymoon incorporate that! we did one that was really formal – chargers, full black tie and yet…. and yet the app course were ribs & wings – finger smacking ribs & wings because that was their first blind date!

    make it about you two and have fun!!!

  7. SirenSong

    A cocktail reception sounds like fun and very laidback compared to a sitdown dinner. Speaking from experience at cocktail parties, you do need to make sure that there is a seat for every single guest. Some people won’t sit in them but make sure they are there. Having limited seating does not encourage people to get up and mingle. It only pisses them off so they leave early. Make sure that the food is not served on heavy china dinna plates which do get very heavy and awkward to hold when you are also juggling a drink and trying to eat at the same time.

  8. Stuart S

    We actually did this. We had our wedding at around lunchtime and then after the photos etc we went to a venue where we had a buffet reception much like what is described here. Now in our plan we said that there would be 90mins to 2 hours for this and then everything broke up later in the afternoon. For the evening we just had a few friends come to our house for a curry which meant that all in all we had a great day and the wedding was totally different to anything else that I had been too.

    We had a lot of comments afterwards that with all of the formalities dispensed with a lot of people found it to be one of the most enjoyable weddings they had been too.