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Must-Haves for Your Cocktail Hour

Many brides go overboard planning their reception, but often overlook the cocktail hour. This leaves guests with a ho-hum experience leading into the reception. Give your guests a cocktail hour they’ll never forget by following these five tips!

Must-Have #1: Serve ‘Em Up
While having a full open bar can sometimes be a large cost for a bride and groom on a budget, asking guests to pay for their own drinks at a wedding is not the most tasteful option. Spoil your guests with an open bar, and surprise them by offering a signature drink inspired by your own tastes! You can even have his and hers drinks for a fun take on a regular open bar. If you’re short on cash, opt to serve only beer and wine or just a signature drink.

Must-Have #2: Fine Tune the Food
Of course, you should serve food that you love and that you know your guests will love. But if your signature drinks at your happy hour are beachy and tropical, then maybe Italian inspired hors d’oeuvres might give your guests more of a belly-ache than anything! When selecting different options from your caterer, you should remember that the food you serve should reflect the drinks you’ll be having as well as the vibe you’re going for.

Must-Have #3: Factor in Some Fun
Instead of just hoping guests will mingle and congregate, get them talking and laughing with some fun games to get them going! Bocci ball, badminton, and croquet are great outdoor games. For indoor cocktail hours, opt for a fun game of couple’s trivia or even make personalized Mad Libs for some wedding themed chuckles! Also, make sure there is some background music playing, and keep the volume relatively low. You don’t wan the music so loud that guests won’t be able to speak at a comfortable level.

Must-Have #4: Vary Your Seating
One way to mix up your cocktail hour setting is to mix and match chairs and seating for a unique, quirky look. You should also play up tall chairs with cozy armchairs. By utilizing a mix of both tall and short seating, you will achieve a cocktail hour with a fun vibe (which is the goal of a cocktail hour)! Just make sure that you provide enough seats so that guests can have an opportunity to sit after a while of standing.

Must-Have #5: Give It a Theme
No, that doesn’t mean you should hire hula dancers for a Hawaiian themed cocktail hour! But everyone gets bored with a standard cocktail hour with standard drinks and standard food. You could honor your heritage by serving foods at the cocktail hour inspired by your own culture. Another idea is to go with the time of year for a theme that’s simple but yet appropriate for the time of year. For a fall wedding, go for an autumn inspired signature cocktail such as a spiked apple cider or a pumpkin pie martini to spice up a blander cocktail hour.

These tips are very basic, so feel free to embellish and personalize your cocktail hour so that it’s perfect for you! At the Liberty House, Stone House, Ryland Inn and Celebrate at Snug Harbor, there are multiple unique spaces both indoors and outdoors to accommodate your guests. Talk to your event stylist today to coordinate the perfect cocktail hour on your big day!

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