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cocktail hour glassesCOCKTAIL HOUR

The Cocktail Hour at a Wedding typically follows the Ceremony itself. While the Bride and Groom go off for pictures, the guests mingle in the reception room, finding their seats, and partaking in some hors d'oeuvres and drinks.

Within this Cocktail Hour section you will find questions that you need to consider when planning the Cocktail Hour for your wedding. We get very specific in giving you both traditional and non-traditional ideas on how to answer these questions in a manner that is best suited to you and the type of reception you are looking for. In addition, we tell you how most of our couples have chosen to answer those questions. Write down the questions, and your answer for each of them. When you've answered all the questions, your Cocktail Hour will be planned.

When you meet with your MC and/or DJ in advance of your wedding, we recommend you bring this guide with you, so they can understand exactly what you want your reception to look like, and help you iron out any fuzzy details.


COCKTAIL HOUR: SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER...

• 1. Do you want to have a cocktail hour at your reception?

• 2. Do you want to be involved in the cocktail hour?

• 3. What type of music do you want to have for the cocktail hour?


• 1. Do you want to have a cocktail hour at your reception?

Why you might want to do this:

A. Some receptions have a cocktail hour, while some do not. Sometimes, the cocktail "hour" ends up being 1/2 or 3/4 of an hour. If you plan on having formal photographs taken after the ceremony, and if your guests will be arriving at the reception area well before you will, you may want to consider having a cocktail hour.

B. If there will not be a lot of formal events at the reception, you may want to include a cocktail hour simply because you have the time to do it.

Why you might not want to do this:

A. You are planning on having most of your formal photos taken before the ceremony, and you'll be arriving at the reception site at about the same time as your guests.

B. If your reception is short to begin with (four hours or less), and you plan on doing some other formal events as part of the reception (e.g. first & parent dances, cake cutting, centerpiece giveaway, etc.) you may not have time for a cocktail hour. If this is the case and you still want to have a cocktail time, perhaps because you are going to have your formal photos taken after the ceremony, try to limit it to a half hour.

What most couples do:

It's a split. About half have a cocktail hour, and half don't. Make your decision based on your circumstances. Just make sure that you allot enough time for the cocktail hour. Try to decide as accurately as possible how long it will take you to get to the reception site after your guests have arrived.


• 2. Do you want to be involved in the cocktail hour?

Why you might want to do this:

A. It will give you a chance to mingle with your guests and thank people for coming.

B. You may want to do this if your reception is a shorter one when there will be no time for a receiving line.

C. Also, you might want to do this if yours is a large weddings (over 250 people), where a receiving line will be impractical, or where it would be impossible for you to visit each table individually during the reception because of the amount of time that would require. (you don't want to spend half of your reception thanking people for coming. Not only does it become tedious, but it doesn't give you a chance to enjoy your own reception).

Why you might not want to do this:

A. Some couples choose not to join the cocktail hour because they believe it takes away from their formal introduction into the reception area that usually follows the cocktail hour. If you think this will be the case, it is probably best to have a receiving line at the ceremony site, or during the reception.

What most couples do:

We have seen a few couples join the cocktail hour, but traditionally, most do not. Of course, you may want to be untraditional and join in on the cocktail hour just for the fun of it. Or, you may want to join in half way through after your formal pictures are done. There is no right or wrong here.


• 3. What type of music do you want to have for the cocktail hour?

Some choices for cocktail hour music:

a. Live Musician

b. Lite Instrumental Jazz

c. Lite Classical

d. New Age

e. Irish/Celtic or other cultural


a. Live Musician

Why would I want a live musician?

A. It's classy, and if you are going to have a DJ for later on in the evening, it provides a contrast of music types.

Why wouldn't I want a live musician?

A. Expense. A Professional Wedding DJ can play similar, appropriate music and it will usually be less expensive.

What type of music can a live musician play?

A. Piano

B. Guitar

C. Harp

D. Saxophone

E. Violin

F. Flute

The above are the most popular choices. You can also hire a small band for your cocktail hour.


b. Lite Instrumental Jazz

What does this music consist of?

Typically, this is the Kenny G. type of jazz. Dave Koz, Joe Sample, Gerald Albright, Rick Braun, and Spyro Gyra are some other typical artists. Listen to some great Jazz selections for your Cocktail Hour.


c. Lite Classical

What does this music consist of?

The term "classical" represents a wide range of music, from the Baroque era to modern classical music. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Debussy are some typical composers. Listen to some great Classical selections for your Cocktail Hour.


d. New Age

What does this music consist of?

Popular artists are George Winston, Yanni, and Kitaro. Listen to some great New Age selections for your Cocktail Hour.


e. Irish/Celtic or other cultural

What does this music consist of?

This varies according to the type of cultural music you want played.


All of the above music ought to be played softly, and as background music only. It is played as your guests are coming in, finding their seats, and chatting a bit. It is best that this music not be overpowering.


What most couples do:

Most couples will choose light jazz for the cocktail hour. Consider the atmosphere you want to create, and whether you have a theme for your wedding. We have done almost everything for cocktail hour, but, as mentioned before, the music is almost always played softly, as background music only.



COCKTAIL HOUR: ACCESSORIES

Here, we offer you some links to accessory ideas from our store for weddings that feature a Cocktail Hour, along with some general resources for the reception hall.



Back to the Wedding Reception Events & Activities page.


 
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