where did your guests hang out during cocktail hour? separate area? reception?

posted 3 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
201 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

elliptical2013:  Our space (a hotel/conference center) has a small “bar” area next to the ballroom that guests will mingle and drink.  So it will be separate but directly next to the dinner/dancing area.

Post # 3
8680 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Our ceremony will take place on the lawn of a historical home, cocktail hour will take place inside.

Post # 4
8388 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

We had one large room for our reception that was separated into areas (dance, tables, lounge, bar, etc), so our cocktail hour took place at the lounge/bar end of the room, then moved towards the other side once the reception started.

Post # 5
2675 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - Madison, WI

We have a separate cocktail area just outside the room our reception will be held in which has tall cocktail tables with chairs and doors to go sit outside too if the weather is nice. There are also a few more “comfy” chairs in this space as well. The bar will be set up there along with some appetizers.

Post # 6
2117 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

Our venue has a lounge/bar area that will be used for the cocktail hour, with high tables and some seating. The main reception is in the venue’s main dining room.

My cousin’s wedding was supposed to have the cocktail hour outside, but it rained, so they had to move it indoors (into the same space as the reception), and it worked fine! People were setting up around us a bit, but it was a large space, so it really worked out well. I didn’t even notice.

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by  annb9.
Post # 7
10748 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

Everyone just came into the reception space and waiters walked around with appies. That’s where the bar was too. People either sat at their table or mingled. 

Post # 8
216 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014 - The Meeting House/DoubleTree by Hilton

elliptical2013:  We haven’t gotten married yet, but the hotel we’re using has a separate space for the cocktail hour. Guests will mingle in the hotel atrium, then move into the ballroom for the reception. Most of the weddings I’ve attended have had cocktail hour and the reception in separate rooms, although one did not. 

Post # 9
1193 posts
Bumble bee

elliptical2013:  Our cocktail hour will be in the same room as dinner, but with a separate area using hightop tables by the bar. I assume that many guests will make their way over to the tables to have somewhere to sit though, which is obviously totally fine.

Post # 10
720 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

elliptical2013:  We are no longer having a cocktail hour as our venue is a hotel/casino and people aren’t able to check into the hotel until 4pm (which is after the wedding), so while we are taking pictures, people can check into the hotel, play at the casino and there are other things to do in the area so we opted not to do a cocktail hour. We took the money we would spend at the cocktail hour and included a late night snack taco bar instead. 

Before we changed venues, we were going to have a ceremony outside (weather permitting) and than off the main hall was a pourch where 2 bars were going to be set up and another room off of that where seating would have been. We were originally getting married at a golf and country club but had to change venues due to serve allgeries that the venue just couldn’t accomodate. 

I think it all depends on what you prefer and the space/location you have. Our photographers don’t want anyone in thereception room so they can take pictures of the decor so no one will be in the main hall until doors open (except the staff setting up of course). 

Post # 11
1067 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

Our wedding won’t be until October, but our cocktail hour will be held in the large hallway right outside of the hotel’s ballroom.  The hallway also leads into the lounge/restaurant/bar area, so there will be plenty of room to sit and relax.  There’s also access to the hotel’s outdoor patio so weather permitting, they’ll be able to enjoy some fresh air.

Post # 12
1604 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I actually never heard of a “seperate area for cocktail hour” until I joined the Bee (and started watching 4 Weddings lol).

Where I’m from, cocktail hour is relatively informal and just takes place in the same room as the reception. The bar is open, h’or douvres (sp?) are served, the DJ plays light music, and people mingle while waiting for the bridal party.

I think either way works, but that will obviously depend on your venue.

Post # 13
1197 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

We haven’t decided where we’ll have our coctail hour.  We have access to a lawn and a sort of lobby area with a bar, but the actual full bar will be set up in our reception space.  I’m just thinking of letting guests come into the reception area for coctail hour, even though I was initially trying to avoid that. 

Post # 14
1231 posts
Bumble bee

I have never been to a wedding where the cocktails were served in the reception area. It has always been in a separate space, sometimes the adjoining area.

Post # 15
92 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2014


Our reception space doesn’t have an additional area to have cocktail hour so ours will be in the same room as the reception.  I actually like that because then there is room for everyone to sit.

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