I've been reading many posts on chowhound about food and party etiquette (both hosts and guests) and wanted some advice/opinions about a cocktail party my new husband and I are hosting.
We secretly eloped in May and are celebrating our marriage in July with a cocktail celebration, starting at 7:30 pm, at our new house. We sent out announcements within a week of returning from our honeymoon, then about 2 weeks later sent out invitations to the party. We are expecting about 80 people. We'd like it to be more of a cocktail party than a wedding reception, despite the fact that's what we're celebrating. E.g I won't be wearing anything like a wedding dress.
Some questions and issues:
How much food to serve? (it will be staffed)
We are serving wine, beer and sparkling wine (just enough for a toast) - how much should we have?
If it tacky not to have liquor for mixed drinks? (We don't drink hard liquor and don't want the extra expense) We'd like to keep it simple.
What to have for those who don't drink? (ie. pregnant or designated drivers)
Decorations? We're renting tables, linens and plates - no cutlery since it's all finger food.
Any suggestions for interesting, non-wedding-y desserts? (simple, please - no chocolate fountains).
Any interesting decoration ideas? It will be mostly outside on our 3rd floor deck and in our backyard.
Any advice is welcome.