Cocktail hour: the time after the ceremony when the wedding party and newly betrothed couple are getting millions of pictures taken while the guests sit around, listening to poorly-performed Sinatra instrumentals, eating small versions of their favorite foods, sipping away at something vaguely alcoholic to alleviate their boredom.
We’re here to tell you, dear friend, it doesn’t have to be that way! Let’s look at some ways you can transform cocktail hour into something so great that maybe your guests don’t even realize how long they’ve been waiting on you!
The most important steps to take to prevent boredom is to make sure the basic elements of a proper cocktail party are present and done well.
Pick a venue with ample space for sitting, standing and mingling, soft but appropriate music in the background and have plenty of bartenders for the number of people attending. Nothing kills a buzz faster than having to wait in line for a drink throughout the entire hour.
Also, pick a few hors d’oeuvres to soak up the spirits. Best to make them finger foods, nothing too oily or saucy with a couple of vegan or vegetarian options.
A great personal touch is a signature cocktail. They can be prepped ahead of time and can be themed or have something to do with the history of your relationship. Get creative with a classic combination or think up something completely unique.
If you’re getting married and have a lot of guests from out of town, local activities are a sure-fire way to keep them happy which is usually the opposite of bored.
Make sure you provide a little information in advance so guests know that they’re going somewhere. If you can swing it, arranging transportation is ideal. The last thing you’d want is a bunch of people unfamiliar with their surroundings getting lost before the reception starts. We can hear you giving your grandpa directions now.
Think along the lines of a short trip to a beautiful attraction or even a quick wine tour. Your party people will arrive back to your reception venue ready to…well, party!
If the weather is on your side, cocktail hour can be accompanied by classic and never dull lawn games. With this, a superb excuse to have custom-made cornhole boards made. Who wouldn’t love that?
Anything from croquet to lawn darts to ladder golf can keep your guests sipping and smiling through cocktail hour. Just slap a caution label on those lawn darts…”Ambulance NOT on site.”
If your cocktail hour is more of an indoorsy event, stave off boredom with some activities that can be seamlessly integrated.
A fun and interactive way to keep guests entertained is to do a different themed bar for hors d’oeuvres. You can do a s’mores bar, a bloody Mary bar, a mini-pizza bar, etc. You can get creative and it dual-purposes to not only provide sustenance but to give your friends and family something fun to do while they wait.
You can just as easily provide an activity at each table to break the ice and encourage a little friendly competition. A couple-themed mad-lib, trivia or cross-word puzzle themed around you and your fiancé could be just the thing to make cocktail hour fun and interactive.
If you don’t mind reaching a bit deeper into your bank account, you can hire some entertainment for your wedding guests. We’re not telling you to hire your nephew who can kind of, sort of play the guitar, by the way.
You’d be surprised at how well a magician, a caricature artist, a mariachi band or something similar goes over with a crowd with a few (or several) drinks. Just do your research to be sure you’re not hiring some hack with a wand.
One of the surest ways to go with hiring entertainment is a photo booth. Props plus drinks plus people always results in fun had by all. We promise, they’re worth every penny.
So, don’t fret or stress over cocktail hour boredom. Keep it classy, keep them awake and keep your sanity!