Cocktail Hour (n) – The time between the ceremony and dinner when guests can get their drink on and eat cheese while waiting for the couple to arrive after photos. May include tequila and good conversation.
Have you ever attended a wedding, then gone to the reception to find that there is nothing to eat or drink, and that dinner won’t be served until the couple arrives? An hour later, you’re starving and board, right? The couple is taking photos, having a good ‘ol time while you’re dying of starvation! Oh the humanity!
This is why we recommend that every couple plans a cocktail hour. There is going to be a significant amount of time after the ceremony when we’re doing family photos, bridal party photos, and in some cases, all the bride and groom photos. This can take up to an hour and a half. You definitely don’t want you guests leaving your reception because they are bored and hungry.
Cocktail hour doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’re having a reception at a site with a bar, you can simply tell the coordinator to open the bar as soon as guests arrive. They can order what they want so they can drink and mingle. It’s always a good idea to have some horderves out. People drinking on an empty stomach can produce some drunkenness at your reception, and that may not be a fun situation.
You don’t have to have a complicated, expensive cocktail hour with a full bar and hot horderves. It can be as simple as putting a bottle of wine on each guest table and having fruit and cheese trays out on a buffet table. I guarantee that your guests would be very happy with wine and cheese. I know I would be!
The most important thing to take into consideration is your guests’ comfort. Give them snacks and drinks and they will be happy to wait while you take your photos.
Fun Cocktail Hour Ideas
Cheese and crackers
Fruit, and veggie platters
Cheese fondue with veggies and cubed bread
Mashed potato bar (Mmmmm!)
Rustic Italian – Stuffed mushrooms, melon with prosciutto, toasted bread with bruschetta
Shrimp on ice
Mini finger sandwiches
Cocktails to match your wedding theme:
Spanish – Sangrias (white with peaches, red with cranberries)
Mexican – Margarita bar
Italian – A selection of wines
French – Champagne cocktails
Cuban – Mojitos
Irish – Guinness, Irish Car Bombs
Elegant/Metropolitan – Cosmopolitan
Winery wedding – Wine tasting / Champagne tasting (fun and interactive!)
1920’s Vintage – Martinis
Tropical – Mai Tai, Singapore Sling
Jazz/Blues – Harlem Nights, Scotch
USA Country Cowboy Wedding – Beer, Alabama Slammer