How to Keep Your Guests Entertained at Cocktail Hour

Discover some fun things to do before dinner is served.

Explore some ideas to help you decide what types of entertainment will work best for your cocktail hour!

Photo: Gina Taro Photography

When people think of cocktail hour, alcohol and hors d'oeuvres immediately come to mind. Yet, there is much more that occurs within that short party hour. This is a time for guests to socialize, sustain their hunger until dinner, and prepare for the festitivites ahead. It’s also your chance to captivate attendees and create a sense of excitement for the evening to come. You might also consider having other activities available to preoccupy loved ones in case some do not consume alcohol or prefer to wait until dinner to eat.

wedding cocktail hour, entertainment ideas for cocktail hour

Photo by Laura Gordon; Planning & Design by Evoke Design & Creative

See the following ideas to help you decide what types of entertainment will work well for your cocktail hour:

Whether you opt for live music or would prefer a DJ playing the most popular tunes of the day, music is an immediate attention grabber and keeps guests singing and swaying. Some couples further entrall their guests with professional dancers and/or performers.

For less traditional couples, try making available favorite board games, a deck of cards, giant games of chess/checkers, or cornhole. Customized wedding word searches or crossword puzzles can prove to be a hit, too!

Photo Booth
This has become a popular form of wedding-day entertainment within the last decade. Attendees will be thrilled to have their very own photos as keepsakes from your special day. Most photo booth companies provide hats, props, signs, and other accessories for guests to pose with.

Slide Show
Share your love story on a projector and let the presentation loop the entire time. Include photos and/or videos from your childhood, favorite moments, and ones featuring friends and family members. Your guests will adore these precious memories and will also be very excited to see themselves on screen.

Caricature Artist
Along with other favors from the reception, friends and family will be able to keep this one-of-a-kind portrait. Guests of all ages will be amused when they see the many silly faces and bodies drawn by the artist, personalized just for them.

If your celebration is filled with whimsy, inlcude fun elements in entertainment as well. Family and friends will be excited to see someone perform impossible tricks or stunts.

Create one-of-a-kind favors by asking attendees to craft a personalized keepsake. Have your guests make crafts of your choice where they can leave notes of advice, well-wishes, or attach photos and place them inside your guest book. The possibilities are endless, so be creative!

Memory Lane
Think of this like an understated slideshow; arrange tables or easels filled with photos of your childhoods and those together, but also incorporate wedding-day images of your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, or other special people in your lives.

Not only should the fête reflect that of your and your fiancé(e)’s tastes, but you should also think about attention grabbers that will delight guests. Remember that you do not need to host a bunch of activities to keep your guests busy, nor should you feel pressured to limit your choices to just one.

For more ideas and tips, discover what not to do at cocktail hour, find out what you need for the perfect cocktail hour, discover a cocktail hour wedding playlist, and view inspirational styles for your fête.