Cocktail Reception Tips
Cocktail receptions used to be very popular in the early 1900s and for some reason fell out of favor. They are however back with a bang. It could be because they are simpler to plan than a full-fledged dinner event, or it could just be because they are classy, hassle free and a great way to entertain both business and social contacts. A normal corporate cocktail reception event generally lasts 2-3 hours with the norm being 2 hours.
If you are hosting the event yourself then your job as a host is to keep the snacks and drinks coming. However if you are looking to keep things simple you may want to host the event at a venue experienced with hosting cocktail reception style events.
Most event venues offer great cocktail reception packages and have a streamlined process for hosting and managing these events. Planning a cocktail reception is fairly simple. Planning early is key. Here is a quick checklist to follow:
A month or two before the event –
- Pick a date. Most venues offer pricing based on the day of the week and time of the year. Being strategic about the date and day of the week can help you get much better pricing for your event. Needless to say, selecting a date in advance also allows for time to send out your invitations as well as market the event if needed.
Pro Tip : Tuesdays are generally the cheapest day of the week for events and you may be able to negotiate better pricing.
- Select a venue – There are multiple venue options available these days. We are no longer limited to a private residence or a restaurant or a hotel. You can pick from a large list of venues. Some popular options include rooftop venues, restaurant patios with skyline views, wineries, barn venues, embassy private event rentals & historic manors to name a few.
Pro Tip : Think through whether there will be a speech, if you need A/V equipment, the type of space (private, semi private, open). Also make sure there is ample parking or valet parking options.
- Identify your guest list
- If it’s a corporate event, discuss whether you would like sponsors and what the sponsorhip packages are. Give yourself enough time to reach out to the potential sponsors and work through the details.
- Send out save the date
- Send out the invitations
- Plan your budget and event components.
2- 3 weeks before the event
- Food – Food can make or break your event. Balance your menu options from spicy to non spice options, fat and low fat options, hot menu items paired with room temperature dips etc.
Pro Tip – Always have a vegetarian option. If you are responsible for putting together the menu, plan for eight hors d’oeuvre and 3-4 drinks per person
- Entertainment – Entertainment does not have to be nerve wrecking. Keep it simple. There are a myriad of options to choose from. Some popular options include: caricature artists, digital caricature artists, strolling magicians, living statues, live dancers & performers, Comedians, celebrity impersonator, mentalist to read the minds of the guests and interact with them.
Pro Tip – The best way to create a memorable event is to have the entertainment customized for your event. If possible ask the performers to customize their act, performance, music, improve etc to your event. This will leave a lasting impression in the minds of your guests.
- Decorations – Unless if it’s a grand event, keep the decorations simple.
- Party Favors – It’s always a good idea to have some party favors for your guests. For company holiday events this can include gift cards, company leather folders, monogrammed cups or wine glasses, gourmet chocolate
You should be all set with these tips and your next cocktail reception event should be a breeze.
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