What exactly is a cocktail dinner? How does it differ from a sit down dinner reception?

My hubby's 30th is in a little less than a year and I want to start planning a surprise party for him now (I know he'd love it! He loves the attention! lol). Question is: What does a cocktail dinner consist of and how does it differ from a sit down dinner reception? My girlfriends parents own a... show more My hubby's 30th is in a little less than a year and I want to start planning a surprise party for him now (I know he'd love it! He loves the attention! lol). Question is: What does a cocktail dinner consist of and how does it differ from a sit down dinner reception?

My girlfriends parents own a beautiful place where they have weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs and bday parties, and she's expressed that we sould have it there. I always knew I wanted to "rent" a place out and have a dj, open bar and the whole nine. You only have one 30th and he deserves it more than anyone I know! Thanks in advance for your help!
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