|Photo Credit: Jessica Claire Photography|
- When Cocktail Hour Happens - As I shared before, cocktail hours usually take place between the ceremony and reception. Recently, I have seen couples who want to have the cocktail hour before the ceremony. I've also had couples who have wanted two cocktail hours - one before the ceremony and one afterward. Quick tip about this trend - if you decide to eliminate the cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception, do be sure to have time built into your timeline for photos prior to the ceremony so that you can just go right into starting the reception. This way, you don't leave your guests wondering what they should be doing.
- Comfortable Seating - Promote mingling by having comfortable seating which can be created by incorporating lounge furniture. You can configure the furniture to create pods which makes it easier for people to spark conversation with one another.
- Custom Hash tags - This option is becoming more popular as our addiction to social media increases. Creating a hash tag helps to make the images that your guests post searchable. When the night is over, you and your significant other can view all of the fun photos that your guests posted, provided that they used the hash tag. Including the hash tag on creative signs throughout the cocktail hour and reception will help promote it to your guests. You can also have your DJ make a couple of announcements about the hash tag throughout the night. Quick tip about hash tags - make sure that you do a search on Twitter and/or Instagram to make sure that no one else has used the hash tag that you are considering.
- Entertainment - Music is typically central to the cocktail hour entertainment. Try adding other elements of entertaining such as a live musician, caricature artist, games, or photo booth. Don't wait to introduce some of these entertainment options during the reception. Having them open during the cocktail hour will encourage your guests to participate and will allow for more people to participate throughout the night.
Don't forget that the cocktail hour leads into the reception so keep that in mind for the decor. The linens and decor should tie in nicely with the overall theme for the wedding. Cocktail hour is typically forgotten when it comes to decor. Be sure to discuss floral ideas with your florist.
Cocktail hour is a great way to have your own happy hour for your wedding guests. Be sure to have great food, entertainment, and drinks.
What are you planning to do with your cocktail hour? I'd love to hear what you're doing to make it different.