What is a “Cocktail Style” Reception?

A cocktail-style reception can be done in many different ways. You can make it as laid back or as elegant as you desire. One example includes casual cocktail tables and an open bar with appetizers to snack on such as chips and salsa, a veggie tray, cheese and crackers, and maybe a buffalo chicken dip instead of a full meal. As far as the attire goes, guests are encouraged to wear casual jeans/shorts.

What is a “Cocktail Style” Reception?

On a higher scale, you can rent a hall and still have some cocktail tables for your guest to stand at or have tables with chairs to sit. Dress the tables with pretty tablecloths and a cute centerpiece to match the colors of your wedding or special event. Have a buffet line with several different appetizers hot or cold, such as toasted ravioli, meatballs, chicken wings, a cheeseball and crackers, and an open bar with wine, beer, and rail liquor for mixed drinks.

Elegant Cocktail Style Wedding Reception

At an elegant cocktail-style reception, you would see a very fancy decorated room with cocktail tables and tables with chairs. You might even see an old fashion couch or loveseat with big and beautiful floral arrangements, and glamorous centerpieces to set the lights for the atmosphere of the party. Your guest would be dressed in very elegant clothes/dresses high heel shoes, tuxes, and nice suits. You might have a string quartet or a jazz band playing in the background while you have staff coming around with passed appetizers such as shrimp cocktails, hummus and pita, or smoked salmon on a crostini.


As far as invitations go make sure you are informing your guest that there will not be a big buffet dinner or a long sit-down dinner. Instead, let them know that several appetizers will be available to choose from. Andre’s partners with Carlson Craft for invitations for your wedding.

Make it Your Own

There are many other ways you could make a cocktail-style reception your own. Just like a regular wedding reception, you would also have your wedding cake or some kind of sweets for your guest to choose from. If you choose to not have a big, three-tier wedding cake, then cupcakes, some kind of delicious mini crème Brulés, or parfaits are great alternatives. Go into your toast following the maid of honor and best man speech with everyone enjoying a sip of a signature drink named after the bride and groom. Play music in the background while guests mingle and indulge in conversation or have a DJ bring the house down with an amazing playlist and dance the night away.

Your cocktail-style reception may only last two to three hours, however, that is plenty of time for all of your guests to come and enjoy a nice snack and congratulate the happy couple without having to feel like they have to stay for a long sit-down dinner.

Traditional Wedding Reception Events

After everyone has had a few appetizers and a few cocktails it is time to continue with some traditional reception events.

  • Bride and Groom first dance
  • Father/daughter dance
  • Mother/groom dance
  • Cutting the cake
  • Shoe game or dollar dance
  • Garter toss and bouquet toss

Finish by dancing and partying the night away with all the family and friends that you love. At the end of the party, if you have rented tuxes with Andre’s, you can just change your clothes and leave them and we will take care of them for you. Have family members help load up any decorations, cards, and wedding gifts.

Andre’s Banquet & Catering | St. Louis, MO

At Andre’s, we are a full-service catering company. We provide the meal, 4-hour open bar, china dinnerware, linen tablecloths, chair covers, the personnel, as well as an onsite coordinator. We are a one-stop-shop facility that can offer guidance in planning and organizing your day. Andre’s coordinates with several different vendors to make your planning process painless!

Contact us today for any questions or reservations.