To Sit Or To Stand, That Is The Question! Sit Down Versus Cocktail Receptions

by | Reception Wisdom, Wisdom



Image by Leo Farrell

When it comes to bringing together your Wedding Day, one needs to start from the ground up. You need to create the whole picture to ensure that all aspects are coherent and reflective of your finalised space and surrounds. As planners, we believe that it’s integral that you and your partner are 110% confident in your decided setting and love it equally – this is not the occasion to settle – it needs to feel right and then the fun begins! From here, you start to bring your relationship and own personal touches to your Day and venue setting.

Image by Tori & Sal

There is hands down, no right or wrong between ‘Sit Down’ or ‘Cocktail’ style receptions, however individually, they do have their own unique set of pros and cons. The aspects highlighted below will depend on your overall vision, gathered guest list and other must-have ‘On the Day’ items – and they may make this decision one of the easiest on your wedding planning journey.
Seated receptions require adequate space to accommodate your required number of tables and chairs to match your confirmed guest list. (Yes, make sure your guest list is all outlined before starting your venue hunt so that you are looking at applicable spaces and not creating more work for yourselves from the outset!).

Image by Valley & Peak

There must be suitable space for staff to easily service guests at their tables and also room to accommodate any other feature elements that you might like to add, such as grazing stations, formalities and photo booths etc.
Cocktail style celebrations also require a certain amount of room, however these set ups can be more flexible in terms of working with the area available as you utilise varying furnishings to facilitate your required amount of seating. It is important to note that both layouts must ensure dance floor and band space – this is a non-negotiable for plenty of couples – after all, this is where the true party is at!

Image by Corey Wright

Cocktail receptions are commonly considered to be cheaper in terms of per person fees, however we can professionally dispel this myth immediately, as we have seen the time, care and attention taken by kitchen teams to intricately create your bite-sized delicacies – in grand quantities – to ensure that your nearest and dearest leave with full and happy tummies.
Gone are those sleepless nights tossing and turning about who will sit next to who (or who won’t sit next to who!) as a cocktail style functions allow guests to mingle at their own leisure, and nibble their way through your delicious menu selections at their own discretion.
We have found that statement grazing stations have been a fabulous add-on to the typical cocktail celebration with feature charcuterie boards, mouth-watering dessert bars and even late night toastie bars being a welcomed addition – items guaranteed to keep the masses happy! And this doesn’t necessarily limit itself to cocktail Receptions, a decadent cheese station can be shown pride of place during canapés or even once the dance floor opens at seated receptions – today, anything goes depending on your palate and priorities!

Image by Julia Archibald

Professionally and personally, we cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring there is seating for all guests, at all times, with cocktail styled functions. Standard wedding timings can have one on their feet for potentially 8 hours (i.e. 3pm Ceremony with a 11pm Reception conclusion) if not longer, therefore at some point, one does need to pull up a pew. You can be creative with this practical item and style the space with a variety of benches, stools, ottomans, banquette seating and even hay bales – you can also play with heights, colours and textures too. Trust us, your guests will be happily referring to your thoughtfulness at the end of the day, and so will their feet!
In saying this, seated receptions are not to be dismissed. For those of your guest list who enjoy being ‘waited on’, delight in being able to take their nominated seat confident in the fact that they have their own plate of food per course, can comfortably sit and listen to speeches and know exactly where their glass, bag and suit jacket is at the end of the night – the seated reception is held very closely to one’s heart!
We love the coming together of styling elements with seated receptions as these finer details – place cards, menus, table numbers, centrepieces etc – are all intricately thought-out and highlighted for all tables to compliment your venue setting. This form of styling is often more uniform as the details are delicately replicated on each table to create an overall theme.

Image by Morgan Vandermark

Seated receptions can mean that your overall floral and stationery elements are increased however again, there are clever ways to double-up some details – for example with stationery, one can combine a place card and menu, table numbers can feature in your florals. We are also very dedicated in ensuring that any florals are either taken home by guests at the end of the night or donated to local hospitals or charities – share the love – so that such gorgeous creations can go on giving long after the dance floor has emptied.
You must be comfortable and confident in all details that form your wedding – if it doesn’t sit (or stand) right, then keep exploring your available options until you can wholeheartedly proclaim that your reception is exactly as you envisaged. To sit or to stand, either sounds absolutely fabulous to us – the big question is, how would you like to celebrate?

About will&jac: They are Melbourne based Wedding Planners, Catherine Williams and Clare Jacobsen. Together, they offer superior customer service, coupled with expert advice and guidance in the field of weddings. will&jac offer varying service options to exceed your Wedding Day needs, and leave you and your guests with the most memorable experience of a lifetime.


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