Wedding cocktail hours happen right after your ceremony and last until you make your reception entrance. They are a great way to keep your guests occupied and fed with snacks and drinks while you sign your marriage license and finish up the last of your portraits. A fun cocktail hour helps set the mood for the reception and makes sure your guests are having a great time while you are away. Here are a few tips to help you create a fun cocktail our for your wedding!
Have a seating and standing area.
You will want to have plenty of space for your guests to roam around and talk and a few places for them to sit. This is especially important if your cocktail hour will be happening outside of your reception area. While younger folks will be happy to stand, chat, and sip a cocktail, your older guests will appreciate having a place for them to sit and relax. A few fun seating options spread throughout the cocktail hour space will be just fine and can also make great photo spots!
Have an adequate amount of snacks/appetizers.
While you don't need to provide your guests with a ton of food during cocktail hour since dinner will happen somewhat soon, you will want to have something for them to eat. Appetizers, finger foods, and snacks will be welcomed by your guests. Talk with your caterer to calculate the correct amount of food that you will need. No one wants the food to run empty while folks are still hungry! If you have a large number of guests, make sure there are plenty of passed appetizers going around or a couple of grab and go stations set up. This will make sure everyone isn't crowded around one table.
Consider folks dietary restrictions.
You'll want to make sure you have appetizers that all of your guests can eat. Having some vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and kid friendly options is always great to make sure everyone gets fed.
Have an adequate amount of drink stations/bars/bartenders.
The last thing you'll want your guests to do is to have to stand in line forever to get their drinks. Depending on your guest count, make sure you have a couple of drink stations/bars set up with an adequate number of bartenders so your guests can grab their drink and continue enjoying cocktail hour.
Have things for your guests to do.
Most of your guests will know each other and will be happy to chat and catch up with people they may have not seen in awhile. Other guests will love to have something to do besides chat and eat. Set up a fun photo booth, have some yard games, and set up some fun photo ops. This will make sure your guests have something to do throughout the cocktail hour and reception.
Pro Tip: If you have a wedding hashtag, prominently display this in the photo op areas so your guest can use the tag and you can see all the photos later!
Have your guestbook handy.
If you are having a guest book or something for your guests to sign or write in, have this out during cocktail hour. It not only gives your guests something to do but will also make sure everyone signs it before the reception starts and they get occupied.