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The choice between having a sit-down reception or cocktail reception can be a confusing and sometimes a divisive decision, especially when you add in the complexities of your guest list! Questions like, where is Granny going to sit? Can stir a lot up of conversation. 

I think a common misconception is that a cocktail wedding involves everyone always standing, with not enough food to go around. For most venues, a sit-down or cocktail reception is an option – it all comes down to your budget, taste and what you want as a couple for your big day. 

Let’s look at the pros and cons of both options, and how we recommend getting the most out of each option. 


Sit Down 

The traditional way we’ve always done weddings. A great sit-down meal can be one of those things that guests talk about for weeks after the event. The most important thing here is the quality and timeliness of the food.  


  • Guests are usually never left hungry with a sit down 3-course meal. 

  • There are plenty of options in our region for this type of service at our incredible venues, we love Mt Duneed Estate and 1915. 

  • It allows everyone to have a seat throughout the reception. 

  • Guests can relax at their table whenever they need a breather. 


  • It can be more costly to have a sit-down dinner. 

  • Table decorations are required. 

  • Hire costs for tables/chairs and cutlery in some cases. 


When looking at sit-down options, always look for the quality of the food first and foremost. Read reviews from your list of contenders, ask your other vendors their experience with this caterer and/or venue. And ask yourselves whether this type of style suits your personality as a couple, or are you feeling pressured?  


This option is becoming far more popular for modern weddings however you do need to be aware of a few things first. There is always the risk of not having enough food, and you need to choose your vendors very carefully. Not only food catering, cocktail and beverage catering is something that is becoming even more popular. This is something that can save a couple thousands when providing their own alcohol for their chosen caterer to serve. 


  • We have a great range of epic vendors in our region that can assist with providing catering for your cocktail wedding. We love: Soft Catering, Pete’s Wood Fired Pizza, Boutique Event Co, Boxed and boards, and Simple Catering solutions. 

  • Depending on your chosen caterer, this can be a very cost-effective option. 

  • There is generally more choice with the menu options you have to choose from 



  • If you don’t choose a great caterer, you may have hungry guests grabbing a sneaky cheeseburger on the way home. 

  • Things can be a little less orderly when there is a cocktail reception. 

  • You may need to hire more than one caterer, depending on what options they have to offer 


Personally for our wedding, we had a sit-down reception in a marquee on a private property. I loved the marquee setup however I would have preferred a more relaxed cocktail reception. I would however have enlisted in the help of a wedding coordinator (like Lou from Events by One Day P.A) as the day usually never runs as smoothly in our experience without someone making sh*t just happen.

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