Ideas for cocktail hour

Right after the wedding ceremony, it’s cocktail time! This is the first moment to feel that the wedding party is starting to take its first steps. This is the best time to see how the guests are feeling and a perfect occasion for the bride and groom to add their personal touch. It’s a great opportunity to mingle with family and friends in a very relaxed way. There are no limits in what concerns the wedding’s cocktail hour so this is your chance to blow your guests away.

Surprise them!

Usually, guests arrive first at the cocktail location, before seeing the main reception site, so this is your first big opportunity to surprise them.

Color palette

It isn’t always necessary to use the same color scheme at the cocktail location and at the reception location. You can invert the colors or accentuate just some of the colors of the chosen palette: for example, if the reception area is decorated in pink, brown and beige, then the cocktail area can be decorated in white, brown and beige. This way you’ll create an interesting distinction that compliments one another, which also means that you don’t need two contrasting environments.

Don’t forget your theme

If you’ve decided to celebrate your wedding around a special theme, then don’t forget to also incorporate it during cocktail hour. For example, if your theme is “A trip to Paris”, serve champagne, French cheese and sausages, macaroons and French wine…

Plan something special for the drinks

Serve exotic cocktails, very colorful and accompanied by exotic fruit; attach a welcome message to each cocktail; print paper coasters with your monogram; ask the caterers to prepare ice cubes that include edible flowers or wild berries…

Have a special bar

As a part of your theme or not, create a theme bar for your guests, such as an oyster and vodka bar; a smoked salmon and Aquavit bar; a tropical cocktail bar or a foreign beer bar. Another great idea is a flower bar, where the entire bar is covered with flowers such as hydrangeas or sunflowers. A sushi and flavored sake bar is also a wonderful option because everyone loves sushi and those who have never tried it, will have a great reason to do so.

Canapés and canapés

Guests usually arrive at the wedding’s cocktail on an empty stomach so it’s important to serve drinks with a little something to eat – especially so that the drinks don’t affect your guests’ good spirits: there’s nothing worse than guests drinking alcohol on empty stomachs.

First: choose the menu

It is important that you consider the type of food that will be served during cocktail hour so that you may then decide which drinks to offer! It is essential that you ask the caterers or bartender which cocktails are best paired with the type of food you would like to serve. It’s very important that you don’t serve food and drinks that don’t match.

Tapas are always an excellent solution

Tapas are a great choice because they include a variety of all types of food, but in small quantities. Although tapas are typically Spanish, they can always be adapted to what you desire; it’s only a matter of speaking to your caterer. Opt for serving tapas canapé-style or miniatures of tapas that are placed on trays and served directly to the guests: this way you won’t have groups of people hovering around one table. Besides being more elegant, serving the tapas or canapés on trays also avoids having plates and leftovers strewn all over the place.

Something less conventional

It could be an option or a just a simple way to transform the wedding into a less conventional moment: go for a reception comprised only by cocktail hour. This means you’ll have to forget a seated meal, but you can serve cocktails, followed by a buffet of miniature desserts and the wedding cake. When done perfectly, this can be a very chic option. However, it’s important that you inform guests that this is how the wedding party is going to happen – place that information on the invitation, for example. Otherwise, you might disappoint guests and turn something very special into something very strange. Another chic and original idea is celebrating the wedding in the afternoon and taking advantage of the sunset to have cocktails in a garden or on the rooftop of a building – where you must include various cocktails, tapas, desserts and some nice background music with a little jazz or someone playing guitar…

Cocktail = drinks!

Nowadays, there are no limits to creativity. Hiring a barman who knows some bar tricks and how to prepare delicious cocktails for the guests can be a great entertainment idea, that also doubles as the creative drink factor. Offering a selection of wines and having a sommelier present to explain a little something about each wine could define some well spent moments. Bars with different vodka flavors, miniature cocktails in shot glasses, apple or chocolate martinis are all spectacular and will delight everyone’s eyes and taste buds. Serving non-alcoholic drinks is also important, so tropical juice cocktails, a selection of teas or iced coffee are some very elegant options.