The cocktail hour of your wedding may not be the first thing you think about as you’re rushing about planning all the details of your big day, but for many guests, that hour or so that they spend mingling and sipping refreshing beverages and nibbling on gourmet appetizers is one of the best parts of the night.
The cocktail hour kicks off the celebration and sets the tone for the rest of the reception. It’s the perfect time to get really creative! Bring in different music, fun entertainment, signature drinks or exotic cuisine and let your personalities shine through. Here are a couple of easy tips on how to get the flow of your space right and how to make the cocktail hour at your tropical destination wedding a huge success!
Create a Separate Open Layout
Walking out of a lovely ceremony area only to find yourself ushered directly into the dinner area, stuck amongst a sea of tables and chairs with guests searching for their seats from table to table, can be a quick mood killer. Try to make the atmosphere more about mingling, relaxing and celebrating, by creating a separate space for your cocktail hour, away from the dinner tables, free of potential roadblocks……..and have the appetizers and drinks flowing!
Get Everyone their First Drink Quickly
At Weddings Vallarta by Barbara, the minute the ceremony is over and guests begin to enter the cocktail area, we like to have servers ready and stationed with trays of Margaritas, Rum Punch, bottled water, wine, beer, and signature cocktails so guests can grab a drink and move on. This avoids a bottle-neck at the bar and everyone can relax with a refreshing beverage quickly and at the same time. For the same reason, we find it best not to set up a drink station right near the entrance.
Divide the Responsibility
If your guest list is big, In addition to your main bar, we like to situate one or even two satellite bars at opposite corners of the room, serving only wine, beer, and soda. This way, guests who want just a glass of wine or a quick beer can get fast service.
Pass the Appetizers
Setting up appetizer stations can create more crowding than convenience. Instead, rely mainly on servers to get food to guests so they don’t have to take time away from mingling and interesting conversation to get themselves a bite to eat. We like to do mostly passed appetizers and set up just a couple of placed appetizer areas where people can pick up a bite of cheese or some fresh guacamole and chips….things that don't require a plate or a fork.
Lounge Areas with Entertainment
There’s nothing nicer to set the mood of a stellar reception than a lovely and comfy lounge area, designed with your wedding esthetic in mind. A few small couches with throw pillows in your wedding colors; cocktail tables, some high some low, with small vases of fresh flowers; and of course, some ambient lighting and candles and you’ve created the perfect place for guests to rest their drinks, and themselves, in style. Having some live music, like a Spanish guitar duo or a Jazz trio or even a lively Mariachi band is a wonderful finishing touch to make your cocktail hour entertaining and memorable!