• Forward Events + Design

Customize Your Cocktail Hour(s)!

Traditional weddings have evolved and come a long way from how they used to be celebrated. Nowadays, couples have so many unique options to choose from when tying the knot - from pop-up chapels to micro and destination weddings. The more weddings we are a part of, the more we are seeing couples take creative chances with how their ceremonies and receptions are celebrated. And, one area that we love to help reinvent is cocktail hour!

Typically, cocktail hour happens between the ceremony and the dinner reception. It’s the time when guests, family and friends can catch up and hug it out. It’s usually anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour long and most often consists of passed cocktails and light bites.

We’ve changed how our couples do cocktail hour and it has paid off with their guests’ big time! Oftentimes, guests are rushed into a ceremony then herded off to a short cocktail hour and then straight into dinner.

Here are some of the ways we suggest reimagining your cocktail hour:

The “Pre” Cocktail Hour: As guests arrive, open the heard us right, open the bar! Allow guests to get settled for about half an hour before the ceremony starts. This gives everyone a chance to say hello and get reacquainted, making the ceremony that much more fun and joyous.

Extended Cocktail Hour: After the ceremony, give your guests an extended cocktail hour for about an hour and a half. Open the bar and treat guests to heavily passed apps and maybe even a food station or two to really whet their appetites. This will give guests time to settle in nicely, catch up, chat with the bride and groom, and really enjoy being at your wedding.

If your ceremony is offsite and you aren’t able to take advantage of a pre-cocktail hour, then try extending cocktail hour if you can, you won’t be sorry and your guests will love it!

Making the most of your cocktail hour:

1. Take a shot and take your seat! We love pairing seat cards with a shot (you can do non-alcoholic too). This is an interactive way to let your guests have some fun when finding their seat.

2. Everyone is going to be going to the bar at some point throughout the wedding, so might as well add some cool signage and really dress it up. You can get custom bar menus and signature cocktail signs made from local artists that can also add to the décor.

And we love this custom bar sign made by Alicia’s Infinity:

3. Play a game - your guests will have so much fun! If you have an outdoor component to your wedding, then why not add some awesome outdoor games your guests can play during your (extended) cocktail hour! We’ve added games like ring toss, cornhole, Giant Jenga and Connect 4, a pinnata, croquet and even a sac race! Your guests will have a blast while working up an appetite for dinner.

4. Get interactive with your guests and do something different from the 3-piece band we’ve seen countless times. Besides, music tends to get lost during cocktail hour, so it might be better to just throw on a playlist and do something unique during cocktail hour. We suggest something like a roaming magician, card or palm reader, caricaturist, cigar rolling station or mentalist. You can even incorporate this as your guest’s gift so you don’t have to worry about wedding favours.

So, there you have it. If you’re all about the details, let us know how we can make your cocktail hour more memorable and fun for you and your guests!