Drinks Reception | What's Involved?

When it comes to planning your drinks reception, you may wonder what elements there are to consider and how long to allow for your drinks reception?

At Bluebird Creative our golden number is an hour and a half. That is the ideal time for your guests to mingle, have a drink, but not get fidgety or get too merry! If you need to tweak your timings we suggest no more than 2 hours if possible.

A drinks reception can be broken down into the following 4 elements:


The key is in the title. It is your drinks reception, so you need to consider what drinks you would like to serve. It is traditional for there to be champagne for guests. But in recent years Prosecco has definitely become a favourite at weddings. Ideally there will be 2 types of alcoholic drinks and a soft drinks version.

Couples may decide on Prosecco and an alcoholic cocktail, such as Pimms or Aperol Spritz alongside an elderflower cordial. Some couples may opt to add bottled beer to the mix as well.


Canapes are usually served during the drinks reception for guests to have a little nibble before the wedding breakfast a little later. These are usually savoury bites, but couples may decide to opt for sweet varieties instead. By having canapés it keeps guests satisfied, without getting too hungry and is a little bit of stomach lining, whilst they enjoy a drink.

We suggest having 3/4 different options and between 6/8 canapés per guest.


During your drinks reception you also want to entertain your guests! Start with music, whether you use a PA system and an iPad, with a Spotify playlist you hire an acoustic guitarist and singer. You may want a jazz band or harpist. There are so many options and music sets a mood, so don't forget it! Really think about what options work for you and your guests.

Other types of entertainment you may wish to consider could be lawn games. Or perhaps having an area specifically laid out for younger guests. Do you want to include a mini golf area or even a bouncy castle? Really think about the different options to leave you and your guests remembering your day forever more.


After your ceremony your photographer is likely to take you of for your couple photos. Allow 30 minutes for this and indulge in it. There are no many moments you will get throughout the day, where you can enjoy each others company and revel in the big chapter you have moments before just started!

You may also want a few group shots, so allow an additional 30 minutes during the drinks reception. If you want more than the basics, you will need to allocate longer. Speak to your photographer about how long they will take depending on what you are looking for.

Good luck planning this section our you wedding day. Dont forget to think about where you can start adding your personality into it. For example, a personal cocktail? Dressing the drinks table to suit your wedding day, or adding personal touches to the drinks.

Lauren x

Photos 1,3,4 and 9 by Sophie Duckworth Photography

Photos 2 and 5 by Ross Hurley Photography

Photo 6 by James Davidson Photography

Photos 7 and 8 by Mindy Coe Photography

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