Weddings

7 Elegant Cocktail Hour Ideas for a Wedding

Raising the bar after "I do."
IMAGE TRENT BAILEY
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Serving up signature drinks and giving your guests the chance to mingle with one another (embrace this special celebration that puts all of your loved ones together in one room!), a cocktail hour is a significant event between the ceremony and reception. Whether you choose to serve light hors-d'oeuvres or opt for multiple areas of lounge seating, there are plenty of ideas that guarantee your hour is fully utilized prior to the reception.

For more tips on serving up a bash that’s as memorable as the day itself, we’ve tapped the minds of industry experts who are raising the bar on all things cocktail hour.

1. Serve up snackable fare.


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Calder Clark, Owner of Calder Clark, relies on bite-sized hors-d'oeuvres for cocktail hour as they are always a crowd pleaser, “but here’s your opportunity to shake things up!” Clark says. Pair the unusual. Instead of run-of-the-mill, “stray from the norm, and garnish in your signature way,” she adds. To tie-in your wedding style, consider presentable serving trays that will highlight your chosen cuisine and add to the aesthetic of your day (and photos!).

2. Consider lawn games.


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"Games are an unexpected and interactive way to get the evening started,” says Tessa Brand, Owner of Tessa Lyn Events. If hosting al fresco, set up a separate area between the ceremony and reception where guests can mingle and play a variety of outdoor games.

3. Make a toast.


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“While planning your bar offerings, have fun with your signature cocktails!” says Lindsay Jani, Owner and Creative Director of Simply Sunshine Events. Don't feel like you need to limit your signature cocktails to just one or two drinks. “Celebrate your past, present, and future by naming drinks for these different stages of your life!” Jani adds.

4. Play-up your menu display.


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One unique way to make your cocktail hour décor shine is to utilize your drink menu. “Use decor to list off your cocktail menu,” says Aleah and Nick Valley, Founders of Valley and Company Events, adding, “whether printed on breezy fabric or penned on glass orbs, a menu that's presented on decor that ties into your wedding design will feel extra special.”

5. Pair your food and drink.


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What's better than food and drink pairing stations to get your guests ready for the rest of the night? “Finding fun and interesting foods that you and your spouse love and pairing them with an inventive cocktail lets guests get a more intimate view of what you two do on a normal night!” says Sarah Worsley, Owner and Creative Director of Mint Julep Productions. “We love adding as many personal touches to your day as we can!” Worsley adds.

6. Provide plenty of seating.


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“We love cocktail hours that have an experiential component,” says Virginia Edelson, Founder of Bluebird Productions. “For example, we love a wandering cocktail hour throughout an art gallery or museum, having an activity like a caricature artist, or creating a series of interesting and clearly defined lounges, bars and other secret nooks to encourage conversation and movement,” Edelson adds. Define your lounge areas by adding tables and chairs that are easily identified and accessible.

7. Don’t skimp on service.


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Cheryl Stair, Owner, Art of Eating Catering, emphasizes the importance of good service at cocktail hour. You never want your guests to feel they haven’t gotten a bite or are waiting forever for a drink,” Stair says. “We recommend one waiter for every 12-15 people and enough culinary staff to execute this.”

*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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