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Tips For a Great Cocktail Hour

By Jada Parrish

Posted: 02/07/17
Category: Wedding Tips

Not only is your wedding an incredibly special day for the two of you, it's also the biggest party you will ever host. So, it's important to make sure you cater to your guests and create a fun experience for them. You don't want anyone to ever be bored, hungry, or thirsty at your wedding!!

The cocktail hour often gets overlooked. It's a time for your guests to mingle and enjoy drinks after the ceremony while you are having your photos taken.

It can be so much more than awkward down time before the real fun starts.In fact, it can be one of the most fun parts of the day. Here are my tips for creating one memorable cocktail hour that your guests are sure to love!


Pass Hors d'oeuvres

Everyone loves food!! And chances are at least some of your guests are hungry. Make sure to have several servers walk around passing out a variety of delicious bite-sized treats for them to snack on.


Have it in a Seperate Space

Make sure to host your cocktail hour in a designated space separate from the reception. This will give your photographer an opportunity to photograph the gorgeous set up before guests enter. It will also give you and your groom a chance to peek in and see how wonderfully all your planning and preparation came together.

If you're having an outdoor reception, set out cocktail tables and twinkle lights a short distance away from the reception tent. If you're having a ballroom reception keep the doors closed until you are ready to make your grand entrance.



Make sure you have music during your cocktail hour. Whether it's a harpist, an acoustic ensemble, or a DJ this really helps set the mood and gets the party started.


Pass Champagne + Signature Drinks


Have servers ready with trays of champagne or signature drinks to pass around as your guests enter the cocktail hour. This is the perfect way to kick off the evening and will prevent the bar from clogging up with long lines.


Set out the Guest Book

Make sure to have your guestbook on display during the cocktail hour. This is the perfect time to have guests sign it.




If you are having an outdoor reception, it's fun to have some games set out during cocktail hour. This will keep your guests entertained and having a good time, especially if kids are in attendance. Cornhole, ladder golf, and giant chess are some of the most popular! 




Cocktail hour is the prime time for guests to take photos of themselves in their wedding getup. Consider getting a wedding photo booth or a creating a special backdrop where guests can take photos. They will love it!


Set out a Bridal Portrait

If you had bridal portraits taken, get one printed large and display it at your reception. Guests will have just seen in you in your dress and will love to gather around it and talk about how beautiful you look!


Category: Wedding Tips

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Cocktail HourWeddingWedding TipsPhoto BoothSignature DrinksLawn GamesGuestbookMusicReceptionWedding Planning