Your Guide to Cocktail Hour

 In Wedding Cocktail Party, wedding ideas, Wedding Trends

Wedding Cocktail HourCongratulations! You said your vows and it’s time for cocktail hour! This is a time for your guests to relax while you take pictures and make your rounds before the real party begins. It is also an essential transition period for your caterers and vendors to prepare for the dinner and upcoming festivities. Impress your guests with signature hors d’oeuvres, personalized cocktails, romantic vibes, and plenty of Insta-worthy moments for cocktail hour. These ideas will get your guests ready to party and become a memorable part of your epic wedding day!

Feature a Personalized Cocktail

Along with beer, wine, and regular bar items, featuring a signature cocktail adds a fun personalized touch. These could be ‘his and hers’ drinks, colorful cocktails to match the theme, feature your favorite ingredients, or capture your unique personalities. Don’t forget to have plenty of water on hand, as well as fun non-alcoholic beverages for non-drinkers and minors.

Get Creative with the Hors D’oeuvres

This is your time to try something new, fancy, or culturally meaningful. Incorporate more daring appetizers like snap-pea sushi or tuna tartare. Don’t forget to serve classic favorites such as meatballs, fruit skewers, or pretzel bites. This way, picky guests won’t miss out.

Once you know which hors d’oeuvres to serve, you can get creative with the presentation. Have waiters roam throughout the venue while simultaneously serving directly from food stations. These are great for charcuterie displays, sushi stations, or taco bars.


To make your cocktail hour inviting, have high-top tables placed throughout the venue. Make sure to have some comfortable furniture or lower tables for older guests who are unable to stand for long periods. You don’t have to go overboard with seating as most guests will be roaming or standing for most of the cocktail hour.

Utilize Your Venue’s Indoor & Outdoor Space

If you book a wedding venue with balconies, an atrium, or a patio, this is the prime opportunity to let your guests socialize outdoors. Allowing your guests to get some fresh air while drinking their cocktails is perfect for relaxing and enjoying all your venue has to offer.

In high-traffic walkways and throughout the space, add decorative pieces to tie your theme together. Include a floral archway, festive food and drink displays, whimsical lounging areas, and other creative touches to encourage your guests to take pictures.

Entertainment and Activities

Now is not the time to show off your dance movies, save that for the reception. The purpose of music at cocktail hour is to create a welcoming and festive ambiance without overpowering the social hour. Many couples opt for a pianist, violinist, or acoustic set to provide a romantic mood without drowning out conversations.

Include a couple of games or photobooths to get your guests to participate in the festivities. If children will attend the wedding, we recommend creating a kid’s corner with games to keep them busy and engaged during the cocktail hour.

Plan the Ultimate Cocktail Hour with Knowles Hospitality

Cocktail hour is an important transition period between the wedding ceremony and reception. Make yours memorable with Knowles Hospitality! We will help you execute everything from cocktails and hors d’oeuvres to music and décor. Call (973) 731-2360 today to make your wedding extraordinary!

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