back to top

Cocktail Wedding VS Sit-Down Wedding .. How To Decide?

How do you make the decision between throwing a cocktail wedding versus that of the traditional sit-down wedding? Some things to keep in mind ...

Posted on

Cocktail Wedding VS Sit-Down Wedding

Hills Lodge Hotel - Sydney / Via

Sydney is a beautiful city to get married in; nevertheless throwing a wedding in this city can be a pricey affair. The huge price tag is caused by lots of factors, from how big the guest list is, to what kind of wedding you are opting for and even what season it is.

Brides-to-be are tending towards unique cocktail weddings and are a great option for those that want to have a little something different, without having to break the bank. In today's wedding landscape, pretty much nearly anything goes, so you have a really can make your special day exactly how you want it to be.

Gone are the days when meals were a strictly sit down alternate meat / vegetarian affairs. Grazing platters and piles of cheese boards (yes, even Cheese Wheel wedding cakes are all the rage) are now trending. Platters of easy to nosh bites where communal eating and drinking is much more in vogue (not to mention relaxed, informal and fun).

The Cocktail Wedding style incorporates canapes, picnics and BBQ's (the fancy type). Food is a major component of a great wedding. There needs to be enough to go around from the moment the reception begins. No one wants to be following the waiters around for their tidbit, and the other important factor is to feed your guests to prevent them becoming to intoxicated.

Are cocktail weddings really cheaper than their sit down counterpart? Here’s a few things to think about when costing and deciding how your wedding will ultimately look:

1.Venue Size.

Usually wedding packages include the tables, chairs and other settings. For a cocktail wedding, different types of furniture (such as bar tables / stools) and plants etc. may be needed to fill a space usually occupied by table settings.

2.Guest List.

Sit down celebrations usually mean a smaller guest list. Cocktail weddings there is a lot of standing (more room – more people) so you must think about the cost per head here.


What time will your reception be? This will affect the amount of food / canapies that you provide per person. If it’s later in the afternoon and close to dinner time you may want to think about offering more substantial type finger foods such as sliders or bruschetta’s.


Some seating does need to be present – spare a thought for the older guests and ladies with heels!


Is so crucial! Think about mood lighting, props such as photo booths and giant board games, chocolate fountains are always a great talking point, and don’t forget about greenery or floral arrangements. Keeping guests entertained and having a great time will make your enjoyable by all.

6.Small Things Count.

Small touches that don’t cost much are also noticed. Like leaving small perfume bottles in the bathrooms – it tells your guests you have really thought about them.

7.Dress Code? Formal?

Ensure the invites clearly tell the guest what type of event it is going to be! Will they be sitting down at a 3 course meal? Or snacking on canapes?

8.Go with your heart as well as your head.

Don’t let the cost be the sole reason for choosing a genre of wedding or celebration.

9.Don't let them go hungry!

If you are going with the more traditional sit down meal wedding, set up stations of food so guests who are hungry after the ceremony can pick and choose as they like. Charcuterie and cheese boards are perfect for this.


Have wine buckets ready to go in the middle of the tables. The waiters will get around the pouring wines, but won’t get around everyone quickly. This way guests can help themselves.

11.More Venue Options

Cocktail celebrations will mean more venue options – chic restaurant, roof top bar or an outdoor garden style with lights strewn through the trees…

12.Cocktail Wedding Could be Anytime..

More options of hours – a cocktail celebration means you can choose any time that suits. Not sit down dinner at 6pm, but perhaps an afternoon soiree or a late night roof top bar setting.

Sydney is a city where wedding options are becoming limitless. Whether you want an extravagant theme or a customised cake, anything goes is the rule in Sydney and you shouldn’t be afraid of making special requests of your wedding planners. Most hotels employ such professionals and they can help put together the perfect cocktail wedding or simply provide assistance on aspects like design and decor.

This post was created by a member of BuzzFeed Community, where anyone can post awesome lists and creations. Learn more or post your buzz!