Are you planning a cocktail wedding with formalities? There are a few tips to keep your wedding aligned with the less formal and casual approach that is a cocktail wedding.
In most cases cocktail weddings have the ceremony and reception in the same location, this is in keeping with the notion that a cocktail wedding is less formal. Most couples prefer their guests to have less time downtime between the ceremony and reception as well as not having to travel to different locations.
Images: Ridhwaan Moolla
When the ceremony and reception are in the same location generally the ceremony is later in the day so the celebrations can flow continuously.
The trick to including formalities but keeping the casual vibe is to keep the schedule tight and to always think about your guest experience. Remember your guests are standing for a long time so make sure there are plenty of different seating opportunities so guests can sit and stand freely as well as lots of food in constant circulation and of course an epic feature bar!
Our recommendation is to put all the formalities at the front end of the reception, so they are done and dusted quickly, and you can your guests can mingle more and get to the dance floor.
Images: Aimee Jones
Here’s a run-sheet of a typical cocktail wedding, showing you can still have formalities!
4.30 pm – Ceremony
5.00 pm – End of Ceremony, celebrant announces order of service to the guests as part of the housekeeping. (You can also have an order of service sign at the reception, so guests know what is happening & when)
5.00 pm – Couple to walk towards the reception area for congratulations.
5.00pm – Bar open
5.30 pm – Canapé service to commence
5.30pm to 6.00pm – Family Photos
*Depending on when the sunset hour is will determine when the Bridal Party leaves the reception for photos.
6.00 to 7.15pm – Bridal Party Photos / Couple Photos.
*An important note – when your ceremony and reception are in the same space leaving for two hours for photographs is a long time! And your guests notice, they are there for you and they can get bored quickly, so keep your time away for photos as short as possible.
7.15 pm – MC to ask all guests to fill glasses and be ready for the bridal party return. (Bridal Party to eat some food before entering reception).
7.30 pm – Bridal party returns to the reception (food service to stop).
7.35 pm – MC to announce speeches
*The biggest tip is to keep speeches short! 3-5 mins per person when at a cocktail wedding.
7.35pm to 7.40pm – 1st Speech (Parents)
7.40pm to 7.45pm – 2nd Speech (Parents)
7.45pm to 7.50pm – 3rd Speech (Best Man)
7.50 pm to 7.55 pm – 4th Speech (Maid of Honour)
7.55pm to 8.00pm – Couple’s Speech
8.00pm to 8.05pm – Cake Cutting
8.05pm to 8.10pm – First Dance
8.10 pm onwards – Continual food service, mingling, dancing!
Images: Aimee Jones
Our last note… Your attire can still be formal, even at a cocktail wedding!
About DUO events Creative Studio: DUO is a full service planning, design, floral and production studio; they create and execute one-off event designs. Their events are more than a gathering they are an exceptional experience. Every detail is bespoke and every element considered suiting your vision. DUO are distinctive, flexible, considerate and meticulous and these principles drive the quality of their work.