A Guide to Your Wedding Cocktail Hour
Congratulations! After exchanging vows and rings, you and your new spouse are officially married. It is now time for cocktail hour. While you, your new spouse, and your wedding party take pictures, these next 60 minutes are all about your guests. Cocktail hour is a time that you can get creative and show off your personality. Featuring quirky hors d’oeuvres, specialty drinks, and unique interactive features, cocktail hour gets your party started! Here is how to ensure your wedding’s cocktail hour is one to remember.
Hors D’oeuvres – The Miniature Delights
Hors D’oeuvres are bite-sized snacks meant to hold the guests over until dinner starts. You can get creative with cocktail hours, especially with the hors d’oeuvres. As hors d’oeuvres, you can serve foods that represent your culture, foods that have meaning to you and your new spouse, and even some local favorites. However, do not forget to serve food for children that might be in attendance.
You will want to serve at least five different hors d’oeuvres. Provide a variety of options that will appeal to everyone. Some unique choices could include miniature pollo asado tacos, fried mac ‘n’ cheese lollipops, or sweet potato slices topped with cream cheese, goat cheese, and cranberries. A fun idea would be a shucking station for oysters where guests could choose how they want their oysters done. For a more elegant option, go for lobster rolls, flatbreads, or salmon bites. For the kids or anyone who tends to be a fussy eater, you will want to go a more traditional route, such as meatballs, fruit skewers, mozzarella, and tomato bites, or pulled pork sliders.
Creative Mixology – Cocktails for Cocktail Hour
While you are sure to serve traditional cocktails, wines, and beers, the drinks portion of cocktail hour is still a chance to have fun and be creative. It is common for the bride and groom to mix up a signature cocktail. This is a creative and delicious way to tell your guests who you are as a couple. You can serve more than one signature cocktail; this provides options for your guests that may be fussy about what they drink. While the bride and groom may choose to serve different signature drinks, they can garnish the cocktails with the same garnish to create a common thread between the two.
If you opt out of creating a signature cocktail, you can still personalize the drinks. Custom napkins and koozies are popular personalization features. Your guests can even bring the koozies home to never forget your special day! Another adorable idea for drink personalization is custom stirrers. You can add the wedding dates to them, your initials, or anything that holds a special place in the bride and groom’s hearts. Having a signature drink is unique and adds flare to the occasion, but most people will revert to their drink of choice after drinking a couple of your signature cocktails. You will want to be sure you provide a variety of options for those who like to drink beer, wine, or seltzers.
You will also want to provide mocktails for those who decide not to drink, and beverages for the little ones that attend. You can have a self-pour station for mocktails, juices, water, and even iced coffee! Bring a sense of individuality to your special day with personalized cocktails and beverages.
Adding a few games and interactive features are a clever way to keep your guests entertained during the cocktail hour, especially the little ones. If your venue has an outdoor space or an annex, the cocktail hour is the time to make use of it. You can add a variety of games such as washers, cornhole, a giant Jenga set, large checkers, or a chess set; the options are limitless. A popular feature is photobooths for your guests to take pictures in. You mean also want to consider incorporating “live” art in your cocktail hour. Your guests can watch as the artists paint an illustration of the couple in real-time, and the couple gets a unique gift to remember their special day.
Cocktail hour is the time for guests to sign the guestbook. Make it entertaining by adding unique elements to signing the guestbook such as asking for life advice, favorite vacation spots, date night ideas in a date night jar for you newlyweds to utilize later, or encouraging guests to snap a picture of themselves with a Polaroid camera and add a note to it before putting it in the guestbook. For those who love capturing the moments after the ceremony, ask guests to pick up a disposable camera from the table and take pictures with it all night long. When the reception is over, they can leave them for you and your spouse to get the pictures developed. Having interactive features allows your guests to have fun and make memories with the newlyweds.
Adding Finishing Touches – The Décor
Cocktail hour is a chance to have some major décor moments. The décor during your cocktail hour can be integrated in a few diverse ways. First, with the escort cards that tell your guests where they should be seated during the reception. If your wedding has a rustic charm to it and you want to make the escort cards ultra-personal, you can use Polaroid pictures of the person with their seat written on it. If your wedding is very classic, you can keep it simple with white cards, but the display can be very elegant with floral installations. Other ideas include offering shots with markers in the glass to point them to their seats. Give each guest their own plant in mini terracotta pots with a marker that guides them to their seats.
Unique seating options are another way to add to the décor during your cocktail hour. Your seating options should match your design theme. If your wedding is more modern, you can arrange a lounge area with sofas, love seats, and a mini coffee table. For a simple, whimsical modern look, you can place cabanas around the lawn area. For a more casual feel, you can include picnic tables and add décor to the tables, or wooden lawn chairs around a fire pit.
Food and drink stations can add a touch of décor to your cocktail hour. If you have self-pour stations, you can add a touch of elegance by installing greenery and floral arrangements around the drink dispensers. For a rustic charm, you can use the bed of a vintage truck as a cooler for beer and seltzers. For the food, you can use a vintage wagon. This would be the perfect place for a charcuterie board and any other finger snacks.
Let Pleasantdale Chateau Plan Your Dream Wedding
At Pleasantdale Chateau, we aim to satisfy the bride and groom. Our beautiful venue is the perfect start to a dream wedding. Let our experts help you plan everything from saying, “I do” to hosting a memorable cocktail hour. Call (973) 731-5600 today to book your date.