If you’re planning a cocktail hour at your wedding, you don’t want to miss anything important.
You’re not expected to be the expert in cocktail hours, since it is likely the first time you’re planning one. This list will help you to figure out exactly what your cocktail hour needs to have — and what it doesn’t — so you don’t miss a thing.
Cocktail Hour Wedding Tips
First, let’s talk about what cocktail hour is.
1. What is Cocktail Hour at a Wedding?
The term cocktail hour for a wedding relates to the hour prior to when the reception officially begins. It is the time between the wedding ceremony and dinner and is important to have, especially if you have a bit of a break between the two events.
Guests will be hungry, thirsty, and in need of some socialization, so if possible, don’t skip cocktail hour.
You can include games and activities if you wish, but it is not required. If your venue offers space for lawn games, here are some of the best lawn games for guests to play.
2. How Many Bartenders Do You Need?
To keep the bar line at a minimum, plan to have one bartender per 45 guests.
3. Should Cocktail Hour Be Indoors or Outdoors?
If possible, plan to have cocktail outdoors or on a patio or terrace when the weather is nice. Guests will enjoy moving around and getting some fresh air before being seated again for dinner and toasts, which may be for a long duration. Cocktail hour is a great time for guests to stretch, move around, and socialize while enjoying passed hor d’oeuvres and enjoying beverages.
4. How Much Food Should Be Served at a Wedding Cocktail Hour?
Passed hor d’oeuvres should be available for guests to take while socializing; in addition, a few food stations can be set up for guests to help themselves. We recommend having at least 3 to 5 different appetizer options to choose from, so guests get a nice variety.
You don’t want to have too many food options where guests won’t be hungry enough for dinner, but you don’t want to be skimpy and have guests hoping they’ll get a chance at a sample. :)
5. What Kind of Beverages Should I Serve?
Every cocktail hour bar should have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available, along with plenty of cold water for guests. Although the term cocktail hour is used, not every guest in attendance will be having a cocktail, so be sure to offer other options.
6. Do I Need Tables?
A few high-top tables are a nice touch so a few guests can set things down, but it isn’t a requirement. In addition, you’ll notice many guests use the tables as a place to discard things, so keep this in mind: the more tables you have, the greater the messes left behind.
7. Is a Cocktail Hour Required?
It’s not a requirement; many couples get married without a cocktail hour! However, it is highly recommended.
8. How Long Does Cocktail Hour Last?
It is typically an hour, just as the name suggests. However, it typically goes anywhere from 60 minutes to 75 minutes. You won’t want the cocktail hour to take too long, as guests will be hungry for dinner and will be ready to take their seats.
I hope this helps as you plan your wedding cocktail hour. If you have any questions, let me know in the comment box below!