cocktails for marriages or weddings - marriage/wedding & defining a cocktail

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zazate

New Member
france/french
hi!
I have to send a cv and when writing it I found I had a problem with the words marriage and wedding. I work for a caterer and I'd like to explain a little bit further my tasks. actually I prepare cocktails for diner parties (most of the time for newly-weds) so, in such a context should I say "cocktails for marriages or weddings"? if I'm not mistaken wedding is the ceremony and marriage is the institutuion but which one to choose?
thank you.
 
  • SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    ... wedding is the ceremony and marriage is the institutuion :tick:

    So wedding/weddings is the term you want to use.
     

    zazate

    New Member
    france/french
    Thank you very much SwissPete! by the way, do you think that "cocktail" in english is clear enough? Actually when I say "cocktail" I don't mean alcohol but food (like appetizer or finger food)...
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    If I heard the phrase "cocktails were served", I would immediately assume this meant mixed alcoholic beverages, and it would say nothing whatsoever to me about whether or not food was served. If I was then told that the word "cocktails" was used to mean "appetizers" or "hors d'oeuvres" or "finger food", I would be as confused as if I had been told that "water" was used to mean "bread".
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    GWB, a second definition of cocktail, albeit one that is not popularly used, is as an appetizer or an amous bouche.
    I do agree that most readers will think that "cocktails" refers to mixed drinks or to "adult beverages."
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I have never in my life heard "cocktail" used to mean an item of food. I have heard it used as an adjective in combination with something else (e.g., "cocktail franks" are little frankfurters that might be served as appetizers; "cocktail onions" are small pearl onions that one might put into a Gibson), but used alone, to mean anything other than a drink? Nope, never -- and I think the overwhelming majority of people, when asked "would you like a cocktail?", would also understand that to be an offer of a drink rather than a snack.
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    I have never in my life heard "cocktail" used to mean an item of food. I have heard it used as an adjective in combination with something else (e.g., "cocktail franks" are little frankfurters that might be served as appetizers; "cocktail onions" are small pearl onions that one might put into a Gibson), but used alone, to mean anything other than a drink? Nope, never -- and I think the overwhelming majority of people, when asked "would you like a cocktail?", would also understand that to be an offer of a drink rather than a snack.
    Hence: " I do agree that most readers will think that "cocktails" refers to mixed drinks or to 'adult beverages.'"
     

    CarolSueC

    Senior Member
    USA--English
    hi!
    I have to send a cv and when writing it I found I had a problem with the words marriage and wedding. I work for a caterer and I'd like to explain a little bit further my tasks. actually I prepare cocktails for diner parties (most of the time for newly-weds) so, in such a context should I say "cocktails for marriages or weddings"? if I'm not mistaken wedding is the ceremony and marriage is the institutuion but which one to choose?
    thank you.
    I'd prefer wedding receptions instead of just weddings since the drinks and appetizers would be served at the party following the ceremony itself. Wedding is the ceremony, and the wedding reception is the party.
     

    zazate

    New Member
    france/french
    yes, I think "wedding receptions" is exactly the expression I was looking for! thank you CarolSuec, but thank you to all of you too! As for "cocktail" I'm rather lost! I guessed it was not so clear in English. In fact it is perhaps better for me to write appetizer or finger food, what do you think? Or perhaps someone as a better way to say it? in fact it is a little bit complicated because appetizers or finger food are only parts of the cocktail so it seems to me that "appetizers" or "finger food" are not a complete definition of the french "cocktail". what should I say????
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Or perhaps someone as a better way to say it? in fact it is a little bit complicated because appetizers or finger food are only parts of the cocktail so it seems to me that "appetizers" or "finger food" are not a complete definition of the french "cocktail". what should I say????
    I would say that the definition of the French "cocktail" is as little relevant to the situation as the definition of the peculiar French "footing", which also has nothing to do with the meaning in English of the word it imitates. The word "cocktail" is normally understood by English speakers to mean a mixed alcoholic drink. It will NOT be understood to mean an item of food. It will NOT be understood to mean an event. It will instead be understood to mean a beverage made with gin, or vodka, or rum, or whiskey, that has been mixed with something else and poured into a glass. If that is NOT what you are trying to describe, then do NOT use the word "cocktail" by itself to describe it.

    On the other hand, at many wedding receptions, it is common to have a "cocktail hour". A "cocktail hour" (and notice that you must say "hour" in addition to "cocktail") is usually a period of time (and it may in fact be longer or shorter than 60 minutes) during which the guests socialize with each other before the main meal is served or dancing begins. During this time it is common to provide the guests not only with cocktails, but with the "finger food" you mentioned.

    If a "cocktail hour" is not what you are trying to describe, then you might want to use other words. However, if you are addressing an English-speaking audience and use English words, then those words should be used with the meanings that English-speakers, and not French-speakers, give to them.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    yes, I think "wedding receptions" is exactly the expression I was looking for! thank you CarolSuec, but thank you to all of you too! As for "cocktail" I'm rather lost! I guessed it was not so clear in English. In fact it is perhaps better for me to write appetizer or finger food, what do you think? Or perhaps someone as a better way to say it? in fact it is a little bit complicated because appetizers or finger food are only parts of the cocktail so it seems to me that "appetizers" or "finger food" are not a complete definition of the french "cocktail". what should I say????
    I agree with the others that "cocktail" in American English would only mean a mixed drink.

    I'm curious, zazate -- what other parts are there to this thing you're trying to describe bsides appetizers and finger food? What else would you serve at a "cocktail", as you're using the word here?
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    It's my opinion that most AE speakers with any degree of sophistication would recognize, within the reasonable context of a sentence, it when "cocktail" is used to refer to an event rather than to a drink.
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    What about "cocktail reception" to mean the part of the wedding reception when the guests are arriving and waiting for dinner, and are served cocktails and hors d'oeuvres?
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    It's my opinion that most AE speakers with any degree of sophistication would recognize, within the reasonable context of a sentence, it when "cocktail" is used to refer to an event rather than to a drink.
    I disagree. "You're invited to a cocktail" does not sound like an event to me. It sounds like a mis-printed invitation, even though the context (an invitation) should make it clear that it's an event if the word normally functions that way.

    "You're invited to have a cocktail with so-and-so" would be clear to me, or "you're invited to a cocktail party/get-together/hour/reception" would be clear to me, or "you're invited to have cocktails with us on the patio".
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    It's my opinion that most AE speakers with any degree of sophistication would recognize, within the reasonable context of a sentence, it when "cocktail" is used to refer to an event rather than to a drink.
    It is my opinion that your opinion is utterly wrong and without any foundation.

    If I (and I am no ignorant country bumpkin, thank you very much, no matter how plainly it may be suggested) heard the word "cocktail" used alone to refer to an event, as in "I am going to a cocktail", the statement would seem to me to be an incomplete sentence; I would expect "I am going to a cocktail party," or something similar.

    I will also tell you plainly that I am unable to find any dictionary that supports you in your claim that the word "cocktail", used by itself, means "an appetizer or an amuse bouche." Whenever "cocktail" is used for a name of a type of appetizer, it is used invariably in combination with another word, such as "fruit cocktail", or "shrimp cocktail" or "crabmeat cocktail." When used this way, the word refers to a particular type of appetizer (ordinarily a mixture of ingredients, with the main ingredient always combined in the name of the dish as noted above) frequently served a certain way (specifically, cold or over ice, in a glass dish that looks like a cocktail glass.) "Cocktail" by itself is not used, however, as a synonym for appetizers generally, or as the name of an event -- or at least, not by native English speakers, regardless of their level of sophistication.
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    I will also tell you plainly that I am unable to find any dictionary that supports you in your claim that the word "cocktail", used by itself, means "an appetizer or an amuse bouche." Whenever "cocktail" is used for a name of a type of appetizer, it is used invariably in combination with another word, such as "fruit cocktail", or "shrimp cocktail" or "crabmeat cocktail." When used this way, the word refers to a particular type of appetizer (ordinarily a mixture of ingredients, with the main ingredient always combined in the name of the dish as noted above) frequently served a certain way (specifically, cold or over ice, in a glass dish that looks like a cocktail glass.) "Cocktail" by itself is not used, however, as a synonym for appetizers generally, or as the name of an event -- or at least, not by native English speakers, regardless of their level of sophistication.
    Thank you for speaking plainly, as you say.
    Cocktail, from M-W:
    1 a : an iced drink of wine or distilled liquor mixed with flavoring ingredients b : something resembling or suggesting such a drink as being a mixture of often diverse elements or ingredients <a cocktail of remembered incidents and pure imagination -- Charlotte Low> <a cocktail of herbicides> c : a mixture of agents usually in solution that is taken or used together especially for medical treatment or diagnosis
    2 : an appetizer served as a first course at a meal
    I would agree that this second meaning is not particularly popular, which I very clearly mentioned in my previous posting. "GWB, a second definition of cocktail, albeit one that is not popularly used, is as an appetizer or an amous bouche."

    This makes it the second time in this thread that I have felt the need to repeat what I have already written. I don't think I will continue to follow this thread. (It suppose it was prescience on my part that caused me to change my sig...")
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I don't doubt the reference, bibliolept, but a few minutes of searching on Google hasn't turned up "cocktail" being used in this way.

    Do you know where we could find an example of this use?

    The only thing I can think of that meets this description is a "shrimp cocktail", a "crab cocktail", or something similar. These are appetizers often served as the first course of a meal. I haven't heard of any other hors d'oeuvre, canapé, or appetizer being called a "cocktail".
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Cocktail, from M-W:
    You appear to have misuderstood what the M-W is telling you. The entry you supply says nothing about using the word to mean an event, or appetizers generally. It also says nothing about the usage. The term "cocktail" cannot be regarded as a general synonym for "appetizer", which can be used in the same way. One could not say, for example, "Cook, for the cocktail I would like you to make broiled sweetbreads on toast." Instead, the word is only used as part of the names of various dishes that are commonly served as appetizers, such as "fruit cocktail".
     

    zazate

    New Member
    france/french
    First, I'd like to thank all of you for your answers. I knew it would be a interesting debate but I'm quite lost with all your answers!!!! which one to choose??? As the term "cocktail" raises so many questions I should probably use the word "appetizer" and give some examples and details of our kind of finger food just to make the thing clear. I think it is a good compromise, isn't it? I'm interested in each of your answers. once again, thank you for your help.
     
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