By Taylor Trimble | Spring 2018 Intern
Your ceremony is finished and your guests are ready to celebrate your marriage! While this day is all about the couple, cocktail hour is definitely all about the guests and their experience. Your cocktail hour is the perfect transition into your reception and can set the tone for the rest of the event. There are a few elements to keep in mind while planning your cocktail hour in order to create the best experience possible for your friends and family!
Food & Drink
One of the most important elements of a cocktail hour is the food and drink. Your guests are going to be getting hungrier and will be anxious to start the celebration. It's important to take a few things into consideration prior to creating your menu(s).
First, remember to keep it simple. You don't want to overwhelm your guests with a million options during a cocktail hour. Narrow down food choices to three or four appetizers. Second, have fun with it! Simple doesn't have to be boring. Create a fun signature drink with the bartender or your caterer. Additionally, you want to make cocktail hour interactive to keep guests engaged. It sounds intimidating ... interactive food!? Think about how much fun a cheese and wine pairing station could be, or a create-your-own taco bar!
Lastly, make sure your selections fit with your guests. Taking your guests and their dietary restrictions or preferences into consideration will help to tailor your selections to accommodate them and ensure that there is something for everyone.
The same way that we discussed keeping guests interactive with food, we recommend you keep guests entertained generally during cocktail hour. Guests may get antsy after a while, so it's important to provide some form of entertainment or engagement. An easy way to do this is to rent a photo booth or create a fun backdrop for them to take pictures in front of. If you have an outdoor venue, you could provide lawn games, such as cornhole or giant Jenga.
Having children at your wedding? Create a kid-friendly zone with activities for them as well so that they are occupied and having fun too. Finally, make sure you've got music! Whether you decide to bring in a live band or create your own playlist, music is essential to your cocktail hour. It will help to set the vibe and get the party started!
Cocktail hour is the perfect way to incorporate the theme or vibe that you are putting into place for your big day! You don't necessarily need to have a themed-wedding to create cohesiveness throughout the day. You can simply include your color scheme into your cocktail hour to maintain the connection between your ceremony and reception. Take it a step further by creating seasonal signature drinks or festive food. For example, if you're having a summer wedding you could create a signature margarita or bring in an ice cream station. If you do have a theme, you can easily tie it into your cocktail hour through the decor that you use, the food and drink that are served, and the activities that guests will partake in.
Whether you decide to have a laid-back celebration or a fully-themed extravaganza, tailoring your cocktail hour to your guests is what's most important. Remember to provide a good selection of food and drink as well as entertainment. Keep it simple, but have fun with it! There are countless ways to get creative and fit your theme into your cocktail hour. If you keep your guests in mind, you can't go wrong!