Today’s topic is going to convert the traditionalists and bolster the modern socialites!

It all falls to two little words: Small Plates.


A Moving Style Reception, (AKA a Progressive Reception or Cocktail Style Reception), utilizes the idea of a continuous cocktail hour with more substantial food options and it’s an extraordinarily efficient and crowd-pleasing way to feed and entertain large guest counts no matter the size of the venue.



Moving Style Receptions are essentially more elaborate cocktail style events, and because of all the movement and mingling, this style of reception is often more relaxed.

It’s built to keep your guests up and mingling and is excellent for a room full of talkers, dancers, and movers.

Your guests can eat and drink more of what they like, and when your guests are happy, your dance floor is full.



This laid-back yet elegant style of reception is perfect for couples looking to entertain their guests with something away from the traditional formal dining.

Often filled with lawn games, photo booths, and lots of dancing, cocktail receptions give guests the freedom to enjoy themselves without seating charts and strict timelines getting in the way.



Seating: Before planning a cocktail reception, it is essential to consider your guest demographic (older guests generally need more accommodation).

After deciding to go with this kind of reception, we highly suggest informing guests in the invitation that the dinner will be cocktail style so everyone can wear their best dancing shoes, (and leave the uncomfortable ones at home.)

Some wedding professionals will argue that progressive parties are most successful when a bride and groom provide stable seating for 50% of their guests with supplemental furniture, others will advise providing more accommodation than your guest list demands. We say, reserve a few tables for those you know will need a seat, (lookin’ at you Aunt Esther), and have the young folk perch on some vignette-style decor:

  • Smaller tables that place 4 or 6 encourage movement and keep large groups from posting up all night.
  • Soft lounge seating in small groupings throughout the space softens up the look and lends to that cozy club vibe.
  • Ottomans are a brides’ best friend, and you can never have too many pillows or throw blankets!
  • Add in some scattered cocktail tables.
  • Be sure to place some lounges around the dance floor as well to bring guests into the party.
  • If you space these elements throughout the room, you’ll draw guests to the various areas while also providing great conversation pockets.



This kind of reception means guests can choose their food, but unlike the buffet style, guests aren’t required to wait in a single line.

They can bounce freely between multiple food stations, reducing wait times.

It also creates a lively vibe, as guests are always in motion moving to and from stations, mingling with others along the way.



Food service is what ultimately sets a progressive reception apart from the standard wedding. Nobody wants to attend a 5-hour cocktail party with minimal appetizers, so the function of the food is imperative.

These receptions are categorized by flowing food and station style service, and it’s all about presentation.



Stations differ from buffets in that they are smaller and feature specific food items at each and our events specifically offer at least three small plate stations off of our menus; essentially equating to three tiny buffets for your guests to visit!



Start the evening with passed hors-d’oeuvres and light bites, moving to small action stations – we’ve kept in mind to serve items that are easy to consume, limiting fork use, and always dance floor approved!

If they’re hungry, they will come to the food, so there’s no need to announce food service has begun. The guests will follow the lead of the bride and groom and the wedding party.



Be sure there is food available throughout the night!

A smooth transition from light to heavy, then sweet is critical for a perfect night, but don’t forget the late night snack! (Nobody thinks to provide sliders and fries or milk and cookies when the late-night munchies strike. You could be the first!)

Some of our most popular station combinations are the Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese served with a Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque, Braised Beef Short Ribs in a Demi-Glace with Goat Cheese Whipped Potatoes, and our famous Mac n’ Cheese Bar that comes with a variety of toppings sure to please guests of all ages.



Not only will this keep your guests full, but it will also help define the evening as you go and offer tasty surprises throughout the night!



Key Points to remember:

This food service arrangement offers all the pros of a buffet without the downside of a long wait in line!

Without a venue full of tables, you can invite more guests; for a younger crowd, more movement and less sitting during the reception can create a fun atmosphere.

Your guests are going to remember being full of fantastic food, drinks, and dancing the night away; what more could a guest want?




Contact us here for more information and ask our coordinators for the full menus to explore for yourself!

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