The time between the ceremony and dinner is known as a cocktail hour which means the reception portion of the wedding is about to begin. This is when guests can consume beer, wine, signature drinks, and light appetizers. You get to see old friends, ooh and ahh at newlyweds, and savor a few tipples and some delectable food. But it’s also a great opportunity to make a statement, set the tone for the remainder of the day, and impress your guests with thoughtful or personal touches.
There’s a lot more to organizing an outdoor cocktail hour than just picking a few drinks for your guests. It’s also vital to think about the venue, seating arrangements, seasonal themes, and any small nibbles you’d like to serve alongside your drinks. The possibilities for creating a vibrant hour full of mingling and relaxation are infinite.
Here’s everything you’ll need for a fantastic outdoor cocktail hour at your wedding that will help you keep your cocktail hour guests satisfied.
1 | Set up a Tent for Your Bar
It’s critical to figure out how many people will be attending your outdoor wedding, as well as the best setup for your group. Cocktail hours on covered patios are excellent for small, private gatherings. But, If your cocktail hour falls on a bright day, don’t be hesitant to tent the bar for cocktail hour, especially if your wedding is in the summer. To increase the tent’s size by creating and designing a custom-made circle bar that entirely looped around the center pole, allowing visitors to enter the tent from any angle and access the bar.
2 | Work on Your Portraits
When it comes to wedding day photography, we feel there are a few time frames to consider. Sneak away for some shots during cocktail hour with the help of your photographer. Make your cocktail hour happen at the golden hour when the light is most gorgeous. It’s a perfect time of night to capture some more beautiful pictures of you and your new husband. Even if most visitors will be chatting, sipping, and eating during that time, having some background music is an essential component of throwing a truly spectacular cocktail hour. It will contribute to the creation of the desired mood during a photoshoot.
3 | Maintain a Cool Setting for Guests
How to keep your guests cool and comfortable throughout your hot summer wedding? There are limitless methods to provide guests with options to beat the summer heat while enjoying your wedding party.
- Keep your guests hydrated and rejuvenated during your outdoor wedding by having cold and refreshing beverages ready for them as they walk in.
- Try providing another alternative in addition to water to make it more enjoyable. Use fresh fruits like raspberries or strawberries, as well as aromatic herbs like lavender or mint, to make a seasonal flavored lemonade.
- To keep guests cool, embroider washcloths and have them cooled, and delivered to them as they arrive.
4 | Personalize Your Cocktails
While having on-demand liquors behind the bar is essential, don’t forget to include a custom drink feature to personalize your cocktail hour. It has a significant advantage:
- It’s less expensive to serve customized barrel-aged cocktails than to hire a bartender or mixologist for the evening.
- Sticking to cocktail recipes with three or fewer ingredients will also help you save money.
- Distinctive wedding cocktails will be remembered by all, especially the bride and groom.
- It’s a terrific idea to add a personal touch by naming a trademark cocktail after the couple’s dog or the place where they met.
- Having signature wedding cocktails gives your guests a variety of drinks to choose from throughout the night.
- It’s a wonderful, no-pressure way for individuals who don’t generally have your “signature cocktail” to enjoy it.
5 | Allow Guest To Interact
Before the main event, the cocktail hour allows wedding guests to mingle and catch up with one another, have some food and drinks, and simply relax. This segment of your wedding day might include fun activities, games, and entertainment in addition to beverages and canapés. Guests will have something to do during the events, including those who are uncomfortable in social settings or don’t know anyone at the wedding. If your cocktail hour is held outdoors, include lawn games like horseshoes and corn hole. Don’t be afraid to let your creativity run wild to come up with something that everyone will love.
6 | Provide Comfortable Seating Options
This gives a place for guests who are unable to stand for long amounts of time to relax, as well as a chance for those who wish to sit down with their drink and have a conversation as well as comfortable lounge furniture to make your cocktail hour sparkle. It’ll be a hit with your guests, and it’ll make this part of your day feel more friendly and peaceful.
7 | Choose Seasonal Decor
The atmosphere of your cocktail hour should be similar to that of your reception. Include a few extra floral arrangements for your bar and cocktail tables while creating your floral decorations. You could even make your garlands drape over the bar or hang from the ceiling. Make a smaller version of the bar menu if you’re making lovely calligraphy signage for the ceremony and reception.
The possibilities are infinite! use seasonal tastes like pumpkin and cinnamon in the fall or citrus and berries in the spring to make your cocktail hour cuisine stand out. You’ll ensure higher quality meals and provide your guests a delightful experience they won’t quickly forget if you choose regional and/or seasonal flavors.
Keep these two words in mind when planning your wedding cocktail hour: creative and personalized! Signature drinks, personalized napkins, homemade finger foods, and straws with DIY flags are just a few ideas to incorporate your personality or wedding theme into the cocktail hour. It doesn’t have to be generic just because it’s the time between the two big events—ceremony and reception.
This is also a terrific opportunity to give your guests a sneak glimpse at what they may expect at the reception. It’s called cocktail hour for a reason: it’s an hour of drinking and mingling before the reception. There are also significant benefits to shifting your cocktail hour outdoors, at your wedding, you can often save time, money, and space.