Are you looking for a way to transition your wedding guests from the ceremony to the reception? Or do you need the reception festivities to wait while you change, take photos or greet family members? Then you should consider a cocktail hour.
What is a cocktail hour? It's a planned pre-reception socializing period at your venue before guests enter the actual reception location, providing the wedding party with time to handle matters like wardrobe adjustments, reception snafus or picture-taking. But if done right, a cocktail hour can be a great way to entertain your guests without them even noticing how time passes.
Here are 3 must-haves for a successful cocktail hour.
Cocktail hour is, of course, primarily all about the cocktails. So do have some fun with them, and don't waste the opportunity. First, design a signature cocktail for your wedding. Your signature drink should reflect the bride and groom's personality by including favorite alcohols, either a fun or classy vibe and a creative name. This is a chance to set the mood for your wedding, so have fun with it.
Besides your signature cocktail, you should also provide an open bar so your guests can enjoy themselves (and happily wait while you attend to wedding business). If budget is a consideration, it's okay to stick with beer and wine. But whatever you offer, be sure to include non-alcoholic options. Cocktail hour should be fun for everyone, so make it inclusive. If your venue is large enough and your budget supports it, consider having more than one type of bar station. You may provide a wine station, a bar featuring local microbrews and a martini bar, for example.
Offer guests some tasty appetizers while they wait, both for enjoyment and to make sure everyone stays healthy while enjoying their drinks. Cocktail hour appetizers should not be so large and filling that they overpower the food that will accompany the reception. Keep finger foods light -- such as by including fruit, sorbet or small tarts -- and provide a good variety of different taste options. For an added bit of fun, pair some of the appetizers with your signature drink and give them a complementary name.
Music for cocktail hour doesn't have to be the same as what you've planned for the actual reception. In fact, reception music designed to invigorate and encourage people to dance may be very inappropriate for a more static cocktail party. Go with something a little more designed for background use, such as jazz, acoustic guitar or an instrumental quartet. Keep the music low enough that people can talk comfortably.
For more information, contact McHale's Events & Catering or a similar location.