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Here’s to Cocktail Hour

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Gracie Giedgowd and her partner, Marielise, enjoying cocktail hour at Osteria via Stato in Chicago. Photo by Andrew Barkulus Photography.

 

There’s no requirement that you include a cocktail hour at your wedding, but it’s definitely a great way for your guests to settle in and get into the party mood. They can grab a drink and a few snacks, and mingle with other guests while you are having some more photos taken.

Here are some great ideas for planning a cocktail hour your guests won’t forget.

Start by choosing a soundtrack. Decide on the style of music you want, be it a harpist or pianist, or something out of the norm like a mariachi band, string quartet, etc., you’ll need to choose what you want playing to set the mood.

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What about a photo booth?  Some couples love the idea but don’t want the distraction at the reception; this is a great option.

A really fun idea is making your own photo booth wall – stage an area or make cut outs on a wall and frame them. Your guests (and you, too!) can pose in the frames!

You can make these as pretty or as silly as you want.

Have some props or signs with sayings on them.  These make great keepsakes for your guests, too, and can be a fantastic ice breaker and lead to a lot of laughs!

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Next, the cocktails for your cocktail hour.  The signature cocktail is such a fun way to make your day uniquely you own and can help keep costs down.   You can choose based on seasonality, colors, location, even a his and hers – the uniqueness comes down to your creativity.

Our summer favorites include fruits and berry ideas like this fantastically beautiful blueberry mojito or perhaps a little pink grapefruit or watermelon creations!

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How about these for fall favorites – a pumpkin pie martini, or a spiced apple sangria?

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What?!  Bailey’s and caramel apple?  Yes, please!

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Winter and holiday cocktails are some of our absolute favorites!   This is one of the most beautiful we’ve seen, almost too pretty to drink!  The blackberry ombre sparkler!

 

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Or create a real winter wonderland with a peppermint white chocolate martini with chocolate dipped holiday strawberries…

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… or this “red” hot chocolate with whipped cream.

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Along with your signature cocktail, you may want to serve the standards  — champagne or Prosecco, beers, and non-alcoholic beverages  — along with some great snack foods.

For consideration:  Unless all of your guests have tables nearby, it is very difficult to have a drink in one hand and a plate of food in the other. (It’s hard to eat with your hands full.)  Make it easy by having bite sized hors d’oeuvres either butlered or at stations where guests can put their drink (and plates) down.  Bite sized are less messy and dressed-up guests don’t want to have food falling in their laps.

Fun ideas include bruschetta which you can make so many different ways – with tomato and scallions, spinach and strawberries with balsamic vinegar, grilled vegetables, mozzarella, avacado – or a combination.  Sandwich bites like grilled cheese on whole wheat with tomato soup shooters or mini pizza roll ups make great treats (and the wheat bread helps absorb alcohol).  Mini pitas with grilled chicken or veggies make delicious snacks, too.

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Or this one that seems like you couldn’t make enough of – the bacon and guacamole (a.k.a. heaven) bite:

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We hope these easy and fun examples help to make your cocktail hour a smashingly good time and get your guests in the mood for a super fun reception!

 

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