What Not to Do for Your Cocktail Hour

Make the time between your ceremony and reception as enjoyable as possible.

What Not to Do for Your Cocktail Hour

Photo: Tec Petaja

Cocktail hour may not be considered the most important part of the wedding day, but it really sets the tone for the reception. If people have an unpleasant time during cocktail hour, they’re more likely to be in a sour mood for dinner, which in turn can affect how much fun they have on the dance floor. It may seem simple enough – just provide drinks and hors d’oeuvres for everyone – but that is underestimating what can go wrong, as well as what your guests need. Read on to learn what mistakes you’ll want to avoid when planning your cocktail hour. 
mistakes to avoid for your wedding cocktail hour

Photo by Tec Petaja; Planning & Design by SoCo Events

- Forgetting seating. Unlike the ceremony and reception, you do not need a chair for every person. However, a nice lounge area can make a big difference in comfort level – especially for guests in high heels. Plus, it can be difficult to eat from a small plate of appetizers if you have a drink in your hand!

- Having a cash bar. We’re sympathetic to budget issues, but it is generally considered gauche to make your guests pay for their libations. At the very least, offer beer and wine or even limit the amount of time the bar is hosted instead of being open all night. 

- Not enough options for hors d’oeuvres. You likely thought of all the various dietary restrictions for your attendees when it came to the dinner menu, but what about appetizers? Do your best to make sure there’s at least one option for everyone. 

- Letting the lines get too long. There should be one bar for every 100 guests, so if you’re having a large wedding make sure to have multiple drink stations – preferably not right next to each other. 

- Not thinking about non-alcoholic drinks. Whether they are minors, recovering alcoholics, pregnant, or simply don’t drink, you’re bound to have at least a few guests who don’t imbibe. Provide soft drinks besides water so they have something fun to enjoy too. An extra considerate touch would be a signature mocktail.

For more inspiration, get ideas for incorporating Champagne into your big day and recipes for signature cocktails

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