Melissa Biador Photography

Happy New Year, everyone! New Year’s Eve is a time for swanky parties with flirty cocktail dresses, yummy appetizers, and fun mixed drinks. If you’re planning a wedding, and this is your idea of a good time, maybe a cocktail wedding reception is right for you. At best, cocktail receptions can have all the good stuff of a wedding while skipping the less exciting parts—let’s face it, the best food at every party is nearly always the hors d’oeuvres anyway. What’s not to love about tiny burgers or tiny pies?


Martha Stewart Weddings

Basically, you’re removing the slower parts, like the sit-down dinner and the often endless speeches or video montages, and keeping the dancing and the mingling. Throwing a cocktail reception can be a bit tricky, you have to make it very plain that a full meal won’t be served or you’re going to have unhappy, hungry guests. But you can still feed your guests with a combination of served appetizers and food stations. Without the food stations, you could end up with your servers being pounced upon by a gang of hungry guests as soon as they enter the room. And make sure there is sufficient seating, as your great-aunt isn’t going to want to perch at a high cocktail table for three hours, and your best friend in her fabulous but vertiginous heels will want to sit after a bit.

The big trick, however, is keeping your reception looking like a wedding and not like just any party. Talk to your floral designer, who will have ideas on how to do just that. The right flowers make all the difference. For one thing, if you’re not getting married off-site, you and your intended will need a place for the ceremony. This California couple opted for a gorgeous arch draped with lavender dahlias and greenery.


Photography: Marissa Maharaj 

Another California couple also went for an amazing ceremony arch, this one decorated with kale, artichokes and hanging amaranthus.


Nirav Patel Photography


Nirav Patel Photography

After the ceremony, you can move on to the party!  Tall tables for chatting and eating are important.


Amber Gress Photography

But sufficient seating is still key—people will want to sit, and you will have some guests who need to sit.


Melissa Biador Photography

And then, have fun! Choose a signature cocktail, or appetizers that have meaning for you. Here champagne is poured over pink cotton candy for an elegant and amusing drink.


Societe Perrier

As for food: just enjoy yourself! The sheer breadth of modern catering offerings is enough to confuse anyone. Stick with what you like and what has meaning to your and your intended. Caterers can serve mini french fries with ketchup, party pies, mini tacos, macaroni & cheese, baked potatoes, meatballs…OK, now I’m really hungry.



Photographer: Marissa Maharaj

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Oh Happy Day


Martha Stewart Weddings

Bella Flowers can help you turn an idea into the swanky cocktail wedding of your dreams. Let us work with you to make your most inspired ideas into reality. Call (631) 271-7050 today to set up your appointment. And we’ll see you in the new year.


Athena Pelton Photography