What is a Cocktail Wedding?

 In Blog

You may have heard the terminology “Cocktail Wedding” and conjured many different thoughts in your mind as to what exactly this is. Hopefully I can clear up some of the mystery surrounding this and touch on the pros and cons of planning this style of wedding.

Firstly, let’s start with the fact that a cocktail wedding, is NOT a wedding that Cocktails (drinks) are served at all night. The terminology is really about the casual, relaxed and informal nature in which the wedding is structured. Unlike a formal sit-down wedding, where quite often a room of tables and chairs with fluffy bows and seat covers awaits your guests, a cocktail wedding should provide you with a more “informal”, yet comfortable space where your guests can freely move and mingle throughout the entire course of the night.

Whilst there are some obvious differences between a formal sit-down wedding and a cocktail style wedding, the key elements to the success of both remain the same.


Firstly, plenty of comfortable seating is a MUST.

If you do choose the more informal style of a cocktail wedding there will be no table numbers or place tags for your guests. Instead, what should greet you and your closest, is a casual space with a multitude of comfortable seating options. Personally, I think a ratio of at least 80% seats to bums makes for the perfect mix. Given that some guests will want to mingle, this should effectively allow for everyone to be comfortably seated throughout the course of the event without the need to play musical chairs.

Secondly, copious volumes of fantastic food that flows all night.

Unlike the formal sit-down wedding which invokes the thoughts of alternative beef and chicken meals, a cocktail wedding is primarily the circulation of canapes and mini meals in a roaming environment. Like most people on this earth, it is highly likely that at some stage you will have attended a cocktail event or finger food function and proceeded to chase the wait staff around the room or stood at the kitchen door, in the hope of securing the elusive canape. This CAN NOT  happen at a cocktail wedding! Although food will be served in a grazing environment it MUST circulate to all corners of the room promptly. There should be a combination of small elegant canapes for the discerning foodie, through to more substantial items for the blokey bloke.

Food service at a cocktail wedding should NOT be determined by a window of time, or simply a “number of pieces”, it should only come to a close when each and every guest is as full as a boot! Be mindful that your guests will most likely not have eaten for 5 or 6 hours before they arrive, so they will be ravenous and need to be fed. For that reason, it is imperative that food continues to flow until your guests say, “NO MORE PLEASE” .

And finally, your wedding day should reflect your personality!

Not every couple that chooses to get married, has been waiting for that day where the spotlights shine’s so brightly on THEM!

If you are a slightly more casual couple, wanting to enjoy the company of your closest friends and family whilst enjoying a few drinks and plenty of great food then an All Smiles Cocktail Wedding may well be for you.

Fun, relaxed and easy. Throw the party of your life!