Eating and drinking while standing up can be very uncomfortable. With so many toothpicks and a glass of wine in your hands, how are you supposed to shake someone’s hand?

Cocktail parties are very popular events for businesses to hold because they last for a short period of time and they are less expensive than a formal business dinner, which takes more energy to plan. Normally, cocktail parties and receptions have a larger guest list, which gives the people present an opportunity to meet more people.

Listed below are three kinds of cocktail parties:

A True Cocktail Party- This usually starts around 5pm and can go all the way up to 7:30pm. Hors d’oeuvres are served instead of dinner with a full bar of alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. This is the most flexible type of cocktail party and people can be in casual or formal dressing based on the specification on the invitation. The primary function of this party is to provide an atmosphere for mingling and meeting people.

A Cocktail Buffet – This is usually held during the business week between the hours of 6pm and 9pm. The food is served buffet style in different locations in the room. Chairs and tables are available for people to sit and have dinner. The function of a cocktail buffet can vary from mingling to announcing new products or thanking long-standing clients.

A Cocktail Reception – Cocktail receptions are the most formal of the three cocktail parties, usually reserved for making significant announcements, honoring someone, or celebrating an important event. It’s normally held for two hours before or right after another evening engagement like a play. The dress code is mostly dressy or formal. The invitation should specify the dress code for the reception.

Next time you attend a cocktail party without seating, you can hold your drink in your left hand so that your right hand can be open for shaking people hands. If you’re holding both drink and food, look for a table nearby to place your food if someone approaches and wants to shake your hand.

Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy yourself at these events.