While the ceremony is of course the most important part of the wedding day, your guests are probably looking forward to the reception the most. After all, that’s where the eating and partying happens! However, there usually needs to be a bit of buffer time between the ceremony and reception – whether to give the bridal party a chance to take photos, allowing everyone to travel between each venue, or to allow for setup time if the same space is used for each event. That’s where the cocktail hour comes in, keeping friends and family occupied until dinner is ready to be served. Ideally, you want this portion of the evening to fly by; always leave them wanting more, after all!
As with any proper soirée, the biggest key to hosting a successful cocktail hour is to have great food (in this case, hors d’oeuvres) and fun drinks. Plentiful appetizers will tide people over until the full meal at the reception, and signature cocktails can be designed to represent you and your spouse while also giving guests something new to sample. But if you want to go above and beyond, you’ll need to bring in custom décor elements, such as chic cocktail napkins, playful drink stirrers, and charming bar signs.
Below are examples of five of our favorite cocktail-hour details, all from real weddings! Click each picture for further inspiration.
1. Hors d’Oeuvres
2. Signature Drinks
Photo by KingenSmith
Photo by Abby Jiu Photography; Consulting by EVOKE
3. Drink Stirrers
Photography by Amy & Stuart Photography; Consulting by Mindy Weiss Party Consultants
Photo by Viera Photographics; Consulting by Tessa Lyn Events
Photo by Brian Leahy Photography; Consulting by Tessa Lyn Events
4. Cocktail Napkins
Photo by Carter Rose for F8 Studio; Consulting by DFW Events