Post # 1
Has anyone had a cocktail hour last longer than an hour? Our wedding is pretty early in the day- 3 pm-8:30 pm because the ceremony and cocktail hour are outdoors and the sun sets very early that time of year. The ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception are all at the same venue- just different parts of the venue. The ceremony is at a lakeside gazebo, the cocktail hour is at an outdoor bar/louge area with adjoining lawn and waterfall, and the reception is in a classic indoor ballroom.
3:30-5:00: Cocktail “hour”
5:00-8:30: Reception (dinner served at 5:15pm)
Our cocktail will include a beer and wine (and maybe signature cocktail drink), hors d’oeuvres, a shave ice stand, live singer/guitarist, and various lawn games (giant jenga, cornhole, chess). There is also a fire pit and seating area near where the musician will be performing. I have heard cocktail hours shouldn’t be more than an hour, but I want to serve dinner as late as possible (5:15 is a pretty early dinner by any standards). I was also thinking we might even get to attend part of the cocktail hour that way- has anyone done that? Does it make the grand entrance slightly awkward? I guess my main question is “how long is too long for cocktail hour?”
Post # 2
HeartsandSparkles: I personally think that is fine and as a guest I wouldn’t complain. It looks like you will have food, drink and entertainment so 1.5 hours won’t seem that long.
Post # 3
- Wedding: June 2012 - Franklin Plaza
Hahaha, I asked this SAME EXACT QUESTION a few years ago when I was planning my wedding. We ended up having an hour and a half cocktail hour and our guests LOVED it. As long as you have enough food & drinks and places for people to sit I don’t see why they would complain!
And yes, we also attended the last half hour. It helped free up time during the reception that would have been spent greeting guests. We were able to talk to a lot of our guests during the cocktail hour and it didnt take away from the entrance at all!
Post # 4
- Wedding: October 2014 - Our Backyard/Steakhouse
HeartsandSparkles: It’s called a cocktail HOUR for a reason…because anything longer than that is going to make people bored.
An hour and a half isn’t the worst, but it is the very upper end of what most people will be able to tolerate.
Question, why do you need it to be an hour and a half?
Post # 5
I don’t necessarily need activities to keep me entertained for a long cocktail hour… there just better be a steady stream of food to keep guests from getting hangry!
Post # 6
eh, it won’t be that bad. I’ve been at weddings with a 4 hour gap with nothing for the guests to do…that was brutal!
Post # 7
I went to a wedding where the cocktail hour was 1.5 hrs. They had an insane amount of food but I still thought it was way too long. I wasn’t the only one who was bored..
Post # 8
LDay1983: If we have a one hour cocktail hour, the reception starts at 4:30 dinner is served at 4:45. If we have a 1.5 hour cocktail hour, then dinner is served at 5:15. (our venue is also our caterer and very strict about when they serve dinner!)
Post # 9
A friend of mine had a cocktail hour and a half and we loved it so much we’re doing it at our own wedding.
Generally, when the cocktail “hour” has felt too long, I’ve been at a wedding where I didn’t t know anyone aside from the bride/groom and/or there was no where for anyone to sit and the space was too small to accommodate all of the guests.
Post # 10
- Wedding: October 2014 - Our Backyard/Steakhouse
HeartsandSparkles: okay, then push back your ceremony start time.
Yes, the idea of games sounds fun but in practicality most of the people will be dressed likely in suits and dresses/heels which makes games difficult.
The cocktail hour is to give your guests something to do while you’re getting pictures done. You’re not meant to attend it and prolonging it so that you can is making your guests wait even longer.
I had the idea to do an hour and half cocktail hour and got raked over the coals for it. I revamped the entire day to make sure that guests weren’t waiting around for us instead.
Post # 11
HeartsandSparkles: I think what you have planned is perfect. There will be food, drinks, and entertainment so the guests will have plenty to keep them from getting bored. My husband and I planned ours this way because we wanted to enjoy cocktail hour with our guests and we are so thrilled we were able to do this. I think it will work out wonderfully!
Post # 12
LDay1983: #1, she clearly explained in her original post why she wanted it to be an hour and a half. #2 Yes, the tradition of the cocktail hour comes from people taking pictures, but nowhere is it written that you may not attend your own cocktail hour. I’m sorry people gave you a hard time for wanting a longer one but it’s really not some huge faux pas.
HeartsandSparkles: <br />We attended our cocktail hour (took pics beforehand) and it was an hour and a half. We had lawn games (cornhole and my little cousins played soccer, there was a big field!) and people definitely played those regardless of shoes. Our caterer actually recommended that we have it be that long, in their experience the hour goes by too quickly. The dinner tables were all available whenever anyone wanted to sit down, plus we had additional tables and chairs outside. It worked out great. Even if I did not do this personally, I would not be bothered by a longer cocktail hour whatsoever, unless there was literally nowhere to sit.
Post # 13
Our cocktail hour was about that long. And pictures didn’t take as long as we thought, so we ended up attending some of it.
The weather was amazing, there was food and drinks and chairs outside. Our guests were mostly family with a few close friends. Everyone sat around chatting. No one seemed bored.