Cocktail or Seated Reception – How to Choose?

Lisa Pavlopoulos, events manager at the Currier Museum of Art, offers advice on wedding reception format decisions.

As with any personal decision, there is no right or wrong answer or steadfast rule about choosing a cocktail reception or a plated/seated wedding reception. The only rule is that cocktail receptions usually provide for more socializing time and also room for more guests. The typical rule of thumb is that at least 50 percent more guests may be accommodated at a cocktail reception vs. a three-course plated event.

At the Currier Museum of Art for example, the Winter Garden atrium area can host 120 to 150 guests for a seated reception. For a cocktail reception at the museum, up to 300 people may be accommodated.

A cocktail reception doesn't mean that your guests are on their feet for three hours. But it does mean that guests are encouraged to move around and mingle with more people than they otherwise would at a standard seated event. At the museum, guests are encouraged to explore the art galleries and marbled hallways.

Cocktail receptions include smaller cocktail tables and chairs for guests. The menu features heavier hors d' oeuvres and chef-attended food stations, rather than large entrees.
To make your wedding event even more memorable, the Currier extends an inspirational wedding gift to couples prior to their event. The gift includes a docent-led "Love Tour," featuring "Romantic Couples in Art" from the Currier's collections, in addition to a year-long membership in the museum for the bride and groom.

For more great photos of weddings at the Currier Museum of Art, click here.

Contact Lisa Pavlopoulos, the Currier’s events manager at or 603-669-6144, extension 110 for a private tour. Come see the timeless beauty of the Historic Court and stunning potential of the Winter Garden for yourself.

Categories: Advice from the Experts