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Cocktail Hour Before The Ceremony? Yes, Please!

Cocktail Hour Before The Ceremony? Yes, Please!

No matter the theme or location, wedding days tend to follow a pretty predictable order. You’ll join your bridesmaids to get ready in the morning, celebrate your nuptials in the afternoon, head into the cocktail hour, enjoy dinner and dancing and then the after party begins. It may seem natural to start with this timeline as you plan your wedding, but if you’re ready to step outside the box of predictability, we’re with you!

Want to get the party started sooner? Let’s rearrange the wedding order of events and start with the cocktail hour. If you’re hosting a pre-ceremony cocktail hour, we have a few tips to keep things enjoyable and help customize your Big Day to your unique personality.

Go For A Light Signature Cocktail

You want your guests to mingle (not get sauced) before the ceremony, so keep the cocktails light. Go for a fruity wine spritzer or mojito. These drinks are easy to sip and refreshing. Guests will enjoy themselves ahead of the ceremony and still be able to pay attention.

Offer Some Snacks

Have food available any time alcohol is served for an extended period of time. Your pre-ceremony cocktail hour should include snacks. Choose a few options that pair well with your theme and will give your guests just enough to hold them over until the dinner reception. Some of our favorite cocktail hour snacks include:

  • Fruit skewers
  • Mini tacos
  • Meatballs
  • Stuffed mushrooms
  • Mini cheeseburgers (or veggie burgers)
  • Bacon-wrapped jalapeños
  • Mini flatbread pizzas

Set A 60 Minute Max

A cocktail hour that extends into the 90-minute mark may be ok before dinner, but as a pre-ceremony occasion, keep it between 45 and 60 minutes. You don’t want guests becoming impatient, nor do you want to give them too much time to sip too many drinks.

Plan For The Ceremony Shift

Making the shift from the cocktail hour into the ceremony will take some planning. Make sure the bar tenders and servers have a specific time to stop serving your guests. Once the bar is closed, ask the venue staff to direct guests toward the ceremony space. It’s best to have the venues close to one another for an easy, timely transition. Have music queued to signal that it’s time for guests to take their seats.

Make Plans To Be Seen Before The Ceremony

Family and guests will mingle, speak to your parents and want to congratulate you. Be ok with being seen ahead of the ceremony. While guests will see your gown before your big walk down the aisle, they won’t see all the accessories. Skip the veil and bridal jewelry. Step away from the cocktail hour 10 to 15 minutes ahead of the ceremony so you can add your bling and touch up your makeup.

Since the cocktail hour will be ahead of the ceremony, plan for a brief getaway with your bridal party, besties and parents so you can celebrate together before heading into the reception dinner. Grab a bottle of champagne for a quick celebratory toast and then dance the night away!