After a very busy wedding weekend we were inspired by our YJ Brides cocktail hours! This is the time where the guest are ready to mingle, sip, and begin to let loose before the reception, so why not make it extra special and fun! Your cocktail hour should be your version of the best happy hour you have ever been to, but all of your closest friends and family are there! Here are some cocktail hour must haves and ideas to wow your guest!
Of course, great appetizers! Guest are always hungry at this time and are ready to eat! Whether plated or passed, make sure to have enough variety. Every guest won’t eat fish, while another can’t eat meat, so be sure to have enough variation from savory, salty, and even sweet to meet your guest needs! We love working with Luke from Culinary Canvas Catering! His appetizers are always delicious we especially love his gourmet cheese and crackers, so yummy!
Comfortable seating is another cocktail hour must have. You want to make sure the space is big enough for this, to give your guest plenty of room to mingle and older guest plenty of space to sit and be comfortable before the reception. We love the items from Prim Rentals to create an outdoor living space with big vintage couches, armchairs, and pillows.
Cocktail hour open bar! We know everyones budgets are different, but this is the one hour the bar should be open. If your budget can’t have the entire bar open then talk with your caterer and see if they can create a specialty cocktail that can be served complimentary to your guest or have wine and beer open during this hour.
Let the music set the mood! Whether it is a string quartet, live band, or a DJ, the music will set the entire experience during your cocktail hour. We love Ocotillo Music, Mancini the Band, or Curtis Whipple for local vendors who can create an amazing vibe for your guest.
Have a fun theme. Your cocktail hour does not have to match the rest of your wedding theme. This is the time to create a space that can be completely different from your reception. If you want a mariachi band and specialty tequila cocktail or a jazz bad with black and white art deco feel this is the space to do it!
Use special touches your guest will remember. Monogram napkins, specialty straws, and lawn games or a few ways you can add special touches to your cocktail hour. Set a bocce ball set out for guest, or a bean bag toss with specialty monogramed bags. If you have a lot of kids attending this is a great way to keep them busy and have the parents enjoy a cocktail. This is also a great opportunity to have your favors out for guest to take. If you have a specialty popcorn or candy bar, beer koozies, or glasses, let your guest begin to enjoy them during cocktail hour so they can get the most use out of their favor.
Thank you to our featured video and photography partners: Ryann Lindsey Photography, Melissa Ivy Photography, The Shepards, Rachael Koscica Photography, Aaron Kes, Kayla Fisher Photography, Olivia Markle, Rachel Soloman Photography, Marie Claire Photography, Emily Vandehey, Morgan Mccanne, Andrew Glatt, Chiara Shine Photography, Mike Oblinski, and Good Vibe Media.