With the costs of large sit down dinners being what they are in this city, it's no wonder there's been a growing interest in gala style wedding receptions. Imagine the lights lit right, music playing, dainty hor d'oeurves being passed around as your guests mingle, and two families get to know one another. The idea is quite romantic, so it's easy to see why a cocktail reception is so appealing.

We love hosting cocktail gala's at The Richmond, so here's a few tips to make sure your reception runs like a dream:

Let guests know what to Expect:
It might seem obvious, but it's no less important: let guests know in advance they'll be having cocktails after instead of a sit down dinner. This can be as simple as putting "cocktail reception and cake to follow" in the invitation. That way they can go into the reception ready to mingle instead of facing surprised and hangry guests. That cocktail reminder also gives your  guests an idea of what the dress code for the night will be as well.

Plan some Seating
Even though a cocktail reception is a largely standing event, guests will want to a seat at some point. We usually suggest to plan to seat 30% of your guests in our venue. As the night goes on, who wants to sit rotates: grandma and family usually like to start seated, while later in the night your friends in heels will definitely want to rest their legs. You know your guests best, so think of who and how many people will need a space to rest. As your guests habits change, we can change with you. We're happy to start your night with extra cruisers and move them away later as people want to dance or sit. Whether you're mixing hi-tops and tables tables, or couches and cruisers, our partners have plenty of options for you.

Have App Variety
Apps are delicious, and they're fun! Having a wide variety of hor d'oeuvres keeps people interested and always looking for something new, and it means you can make sure there's something for everyone. Lots of apps also gives our caterers a chance to get creative and really impress.

Food stations are a Relief
Plates of circulating hor d'oeuvres are great to keep a room buzzing, but food stations are a blessing. It's always a relief for guests to have a place they can get food as they please. It also means guests can circulate free and fed, instead of swarming servers as they come out. Food stations can be as simple as cheese and cured meats, or diverse as a dessert bar.

Space for Traditions
Just because your wedding is cocktail style doesn't mean you have to forgo traditions like speeches and cake cutting. If you're choosing to include that in your reception, use our elegant stairway or our mezzanine as a beautiful podium to address your guests. When the time comes, our caterers are happy to roll out your cake into the middle of the floor for the first cut, then move it aside for people to have their share.

Cloaks and Jackets
We've got you covered in those colder months with a ready cloakroom at your disposal. Guests can check their coats and purses so they can lounge, mingle, and get the most out of their evening.

We're excited to see what your wedding has in store. The Richmond is continuing to take wedding bookings for the fall and winter. Congratulations, and see you soon!