When planning your wedding, you might be wondering how to entertain your guests between the ceremony and reception. You and your wedding party might have plans to bar hop or take photographs, but what are the other guests going to do? Consider cocktail hour! This popular option allows guests to mingle and visit before sitting down for supper. Here are some dos and don’ts for planning a successful cocktail hour for your wedding.


DON’T Plan Longer Than An Hour

While it’s impossible to follow a timetable perfectly on the big day, plan to spend just one hour between ceremony and reception. Guest milling around for longer than an hour will get anxious to find their seats in the reception hall and bored with making small talk. If you need more time than an hour to do photographs or something else, plan entertainment in the reception hall for your guests to enjoy. 


DO Serve Appetizers

Serving appetizers is a nice gesture to keep guests happy as they wait for your return to the reception. Cocktail hours without food results in guests drinking more than they planned. Having a bit of food is also helpful for young children who might be getting hungry after sitting through the ceremony. Just be careful not to overdo the hors d’oeuvres, your guests might not be hungry for dinner! 


DO Offer Full Bar

Cocktail hour with limited alcohol options will undoubtedly frustrate some guests. The purpose of cocktail hour is for folks to find something they like to drink and loosen up for the party that’s about to start. The more options for mixed drinks, sodas, hard liquor, and beer, the better! It is also fun to create a signature cocktail special for your wedding. You can even tie it into the theme! If you have the budget, consider open bar during cocktail hour, at least for beer and wine.


DON’T Make Them Stand

While space might be limited, you want to make sure you have an option for comfortable seating somewhere in the space cocktail hour will be held. Making folks stand for an hour while drinking is not the most comfortable way to wait for the reception. If you must have people standing, our Courtyard is perfect for hosting cocktail hour outside where they can walk around. You could even set out games like corn hole or other activities for guests to do!


DO Play Music

To set the mood, ensure there is melodic music playing during cocktail hour. You can hire a disk jockey who plays easy listening songs, hire a violinist who plays Mozart, or arrange a playlist of lyric-free melodies to come through the sound system. It all depends on your theme and style of wedding! Plan to have some type of quietly playing music or lulls in the conversation might make your guests feel less comfortable.  

These dos and don’ts of cocktail hour will guide you to plan a welcome break during your wedding day instead of a boring wait for your guests. Create the perfect atmosphere for cocktail hour (and the whole wedding) at Earle Brown event center. We offer indoor and outdoor venue options that will surely impress! Contact us today!