The type of wedding reception you choose, which is often determined by your budget, will influence the menu, how guests interact and the atmosphere of the event. Do you go the traditional, formal route and opt for a sit-down meal or would you prefer the more relaxed atmosphere of a cocktail party-style reception?

If you’re wavering between the two, here are a few pros and cons of each type of reception to help you make the best choice.

Seated wedding reception

Seated wedding receptions are generally formal affairs that comprise of a pre-arranged seating plan with name place cards on each table. The menu usually offers two meal options and the wait staff bring the meals to the guests.


  • An elegant setting.
  • A formal atmosphere allows for a “natural” flow of formalities.
  • A seating plan enables people who have never met to get to know each other (and you can keep people who don’t get along apart).


  • It can get quite expensive as you may need to hire chairs, tables, cutlery, etc.
  • Meals are charged per head, which can add up.
  • Guests may be unhappy about where they’re seated.
  • A bigger reception venue is required to accommodate guests and the tables and chairs.

Cocktail wedding receptions

Unlike seated receptions, cocktail wedding receptions are informal and guests mingle as they please. Wait staff moves through the crowd serving guests finger foods and drinks.


  • A relaxed vibe.
  • More space to accommodate guests.
  • You can serve a variety of foods and easily cater for any special dietary needs.
  • It’s cost-effective.


  • Standing through the event may tire guests quickly.
  • It can be hard to quieten guest for speeches and other formalities.
  • Making sure the bride and groom chat with all the guests can be difficult as people will be moving around.

Whatever wedding reception style you opt for, remember that it should reflect your personalities and preferences. It is, after all, your day. Come and speak to us at Merrimu Receptions. We have extensive experience in hosting wedding receptions and offer a stunning venue with a ballroom and dance floor. We offer an integrated service and our personal event coordinators are more than happy to answer your questions.

Related Tag: Wedding Reception Venues Melbourne

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