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  • Writer's pictureSongbird

The Ultimate Guide to A Perfect Wedding Cocktail Hour

Your wedding cocktail hour is the time between your ceremony and reception for your guests to get together, and enjoy delicious appetizers and drinks. To create a memorable and seamless experience for your guests, careful planning and organization are essential. As wedding planners we have gathered years of experience planning many cocktail hours, so here's a comprehensive guide of what we believe to ensure you and your guests have an amazing time! 

Food and Drink:

Appetizers and Hors d'oeuvres

Guests will most likely be a little hungry after the ceremony so it's always a great idea to offer appetizers and hors d'oeuvres. It’s also a great idea to have a variety of options, such as sliders, mini quiches, or spring rolls, to cater to different tastes. Don't forget vegetarian and vegan options to accommodate all dietary preferences.

Alcoholic & Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Having a variety of drink options is a must for a successful cocktail hour. Provide a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, beer, wine, and non-alcoholic options like mocktails and juices. This ensures all your guests can find something they enjoy.

Specialty Cocktails (His & Hers)

Specialty cocktails are an easy way to add a personalized touch to your cocktail hour. These "His & Hers" cocktails can reflect your taste and be a fun conversation starter for guests.

Desserts and Sweets

Mini desserts and sweets can add a delightful touch to your cocktail hour. Consider incorporating a mini dessert table or even specialty vendors like a coffee or boba cart. Guests also love ice cream, popsicles or shaved ice on a hot day.

Specialty Glassware

Enhance your cocktail hour with specialty glassware for drinks. Beautiful glassware adds an elegant touch and elevates the experience for your guests.

Personalized Napkins and Drink Stirrers

Add a personal touch with customized napkins and drink stirrers. The small details can tie in with your wedding theme and be a great photo opportunity for guests to take pictures with their drinks.

Bar and Serving Staff

Hiring experienced bartenders and serving staff is essential for a smooth cocktail hour. Bartenders can craft delicious drinks, while wait staff can serve appetizers and clear tables, ensuring your guests have a seamless experience.

Decorations and Ambiance:

Flowers and Decor for Cocktail Tables & Bar

Create a charming atmosphere with flowers and decor for cocktail tables. For cocktail hour, simple bud vases can add a lot to a space. Don't forget to add some decor to the bar area as well!

Bar Menu

A custom bar menu is another great way to add a personal touch to your cocktail hour. Include a list of available drinks, specialty cocktails, and other offerings so guests can easily choose their preferred drinks.

Seating Chart and/or Escort Cards

It is very helpful to set out your seating chart or escort cards in a visible location during cocktail hour, this helps guests to find their designated seat with enough time, ensuring a smooth and organized flow for the cocktail hour.

Decorative Lighting Such as String Lights or Candles

Lighting can set the mood and create a romantic ambiance. String lights and candles add warmth and charm to the space.

Live Band or DJ for Background Music

Music plays an essential role in setting the tone of your cocktail hour. Consider hiring a live band or DJ for background music to enhance the experience and entertain your guests.

Extra Entertainment (e.g., Photobooth & Lawn Games)

Consider offering extra entertainment options like a photobooth or lawn games to keep your guests engaged and create memorable moments during the cocktail hour.


Cocktail Tables and Chairs

Arrange cocktail tables and chairs for guests to gather around and chat. This setup encourages socializing during the cocktail hour, and offers older guests a place to rest. 

Lounge Seating or Sofas

Create comfortable seating areas with lounge seating or sofas. These spaces offer guests a place to relax, enjoy the ambiance and are also another great space for guests to take photos.

Bar Station

Designate a bar station with bartenders who can craft drinks for your guests. A well-organized bar area ensures guests can easily access beverages and keeps the flow smooth.

With this guide, you will surely create an enjoyable experience for your guests.

If you are still feeling a bit overwhelmed and need some help planning your wedding Our team of expert wedding planners brings creativity, professionalism, and unmatched expertise to every wedding we plan.Whether you're saying "I do" in a local california venue or a picturesque vineyard or a tropical paradise, our wedding planning and destination wedding planning services ensure a seamless and unforgettable experience.

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