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Hosting A Cocktail-Hors D'oeuvres Reception? Do It Right or Lose!

Updated on December 14, 2015
A Great Way to Save Wedding Dollars!
A Great Way to Save Wedding Dollars!

Cocktail-Hors d'oeuvres Receptions Require a Savvy Bride for Success

If you want to save money hosting a wedding reception, the cocktail-hors d’oeuvre reception may be the answer to your prayers. But there are definite pitfalls that you must be aware of. Follow this easy, step-by step guide to host a successful cocktail-hors d’oeuvres reception.

WARNING: Catering properties, hotels and clubs, etc. are not too receptive when it comes to cocktail-hors d’oeuvres receptions. Their profit margin is cut considerably versus what they’d make if they catered an all-inclusive dinner reception, for example.  

Keep the hors d'oeuvres flowing!
Keep the hors d'oeuvres flowing!

Bucking the System = Success!

* Catering managers will tell clients who want cocktail-hors d'oeuvres receptions that they should not have seating for all, since the idea of the cocktail-hors d’oeuvres reception is to keep people up and mingling. Hogwash! What are guests supposed to do for four hours, balance food and drinks while standing against a wall?

* There is no cocktail hour, so the bride and groom must have their photos taken before the wedding. This is not as bad as it sounds for those who oppose the idea. The bride, her family and bridal party can have their photos taken before the wedding. And then the groom can do the same. Once the wedding ends, they pool together for a few minutes for the joint families’ and “together” shots. It’s then off to the reception.

* Keep the hors-d’oeuvres varied and flowing! Have them butlered (passed) and displayed. If people are hungry, they will leave.

* End the reception with a heavy cake, like carrot or chocolate. You want your guests to leave your wedding reception feeling full and happy.

The Right Night; The Right Season

You may need to host this type of reception on an off-night, in an off-season, since catering properties, etc. may not be receptive to the idea of a cocktail-hors d’oeuvres reception.

For example, if you live in the northeast where the majority of people get married in summer, consider a fall or spring wedding instead. And think of Friday or Sunday instead of Saturday, which is premium. A cocktail-hors d'oeuvres reception may look a lot better to those catering properties you've got your eye on, if you approach them in the right way.


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