• Jennifer Harper

Afternoon Cocktail Receptions

More and more couples are opting out of the traditional sit-down dinner reception and going for an afternoon cocktail reception instead. Afternoon cocktail receptions are more affordable than dinner receptions, less formal and less stressful.


If you’re unaware of the concept- the afternoon cocktail reception consists of appetizers and cocktails rather than a sit-down meal. The celebration can have traditional elements like cake cutting, first dance, toasts, ect., but it’s a more casual affair with a shorter timeline.


Top 5 benefits of a Cocktail Wedding Reception


#1 Great for a Sunday Wedding


Sundays are popular for weddings, but they’re also a day of relaxation before another busy week starts. A cocktail reception gives guests the freedom to leave the wedding early and enjoy their Sunday evening. And if you’re having a destination wedding in Fredericksburg, it gives guests ample time to drive home rather than having to book a hotel room.

And Sundays often come at a heavily discounted rate for venues!


#2 Budget-Friendly


Cocktail Receptions cut down on cost in almost every aspect of the wedding…you save big since there’s not dinner service and you don’t have to rent fancy table settings. You’ll have a shorter timeline, about 3 hours instead of the traditional 5-hour wedding, which means shorter photography time, music, alcohol ect.


#3 Relaxed Atmosphere


This is usually the number one reason couples go with a cocktail reception. Some couples today don’t want to have a formal affair with assigned seating. And they might choose to lose some other formalities like the grand entrance, garter toss, bouquet toss ect.


#4 Less Stressful to Plan


A typical wedding reception requires drafting a seating chart and zeroing in on the table settings. Two herculean tasks you can entirely skip when you have an afternoon cocktail reception. As mentioned above, there’s no formal timeline of eating, dancing, and drinks. In short, this alternative takes out the difficult parts of the wedding planning process and keeps the fun part for a lively and cheerful event.


#5 More Flexibility


There are no traditional rules for an Afternoon Cocktail Reception. You can create a timeline and specifics, in collaboration with your wedding planner, to fit your needs. Get creative with food stations like charcuterie grazing tables. Maybe offer your guests a unique Hill Country wine tasting experience? Or how about a fun music element like a mariachi band? Some good music, fun activities, and an open bar are all that is needed to get the party started!


If you think an Afternoon Cocktail Reception is the route to go, please read on, there are a two very important etiquettes that must be followed.


Etiquettes to Planning an Afternoon Cocktail Reception


#1 Inform Your Guests


Manage guests’ expectations clearly by indicating “cocktail reception” on the invitation. Let your guests know that dinner will not be served. It’s also a good idea to remind them leading up to the wedding via a wedding website or weekend itinerary. There’s nothing worse than a hungry guest!


#2 Timing is Everything


The Cocktail Reception should be in the afternoon after lunch and before dinner. This once again reiterates that dinner service is not included. We like 2p-5p or 3p-6p. We also really like the idea of a Brunch Reception, but we do recommend bulking up the appetizers a bit for a brunch timeline.



Afternoon cocktail receptions are certainly a beautiful and practical alternative to a traditional wedding reception. That’s why we’ve created some amazing packages that are customizable. The packages are designed to be a one-stop shopping experience with everything included for a seamless experience.


And what better place to get married than in the Texas Hill Country? Rooted in German heritage, the scenic city of Fredericksburg Texas has a historic setting, spectacular Hill Country views, fine dining, wineries, breweries and more! Contact Wed in Fred today to plan your dream wedding!





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