(Closed) Cocktail hour…Why? why not?

posted 8 years ago in Money
Post # 3
1986 posts
Buzzing bee

Cocktail hours are a courtesy to your guests, so they aren’t left hanging in the space between the ceremony and the reception, when most brides get the photos taken with the groom and bridal party.

Post # 4
661 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

Some ppl enjoy cocktail hour because of the small amts of food, but mainly the drinks or entertainment that goes with it. 

We didnt spend a whole lot of money on ours, and we’re fine with it.  I always figured the cocktail hour was so that the guests are entertained while the wedding party/bride/groom/family have to do pictures.  lol  But, for those doing first looks … its really for the fun.  Its to get them a little “tipsy” to prepare them for the reception.  no?  lol

Maybe that’s my reason behind it.  lol

Post # 5
87 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

We will be doing a cocktail hour purely for the reason that otherwise, I have no idea what our guests would be doing while we are taking pictures. We are not having the elaborate food spread that I have seen a lot of, just a few small hors d’ouvres, and the open bar of course. 

Post # 6
10287 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

I feel like alot of people have the cocktail hour because during that time is normally when the bridal party does their pictures so the couple wants to make sure their guests are entertained. We are having a cocktail hour, though we’re totally not going overboard on the food. I’ve seen some of the shows your referring to and holy moley could you imagine all that?! Some of those cocktail hours had to of cost thousands!

We’re keeping ours simple with mini cheeseburger sliders and french fry cones. We wanted something laid back and us and well, burgers and fries are us! We’re having a limited open bar for the whole reception and throwing in a few signature drinks so we’ll offer that during the cocktail hour as well. 

I’ve personally never been to a wedding without a cocktail hour but I certainly would not miss it if there wasn’t one. 


Post # 8
4162 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Since our morning ceremony and brunch reception are in the same place, we’re going to try and keep our photo taking to a minimum in between (about an hour.)  We will have some beverages, and some light snacks.  I don’t think it’s necessary to go all out, but something to munch on, especially if your guests have nowhere to go in between is just common courtesy.  I’ve been to a wedding where they only had drinks available during the cocktail hour though, no biggie.

Post # 9
3871 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Oh, you don’t have to spend a lot of money.  I was on a budget and just requested the caterer to put some veggie and fruit trays out.  With the alcohol part, I had my wedding at a venue that allowed me to bring my own alcohol so the bartenders could serve it, so it didn’t cost me extra to have an cocktail hour.  Plus, it allowed me to show my wedding slideshow while they mingled.

There are definitely ways to make everything cheaper. 

Post # 10
2496 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

We’re not simply because our ceremony and reception are at the same place and we’re taking all of our photos beforehand, aside from a few family pics.

We did it that way to save money and time.  I didn’t want our guests sitting around for too long since there’s no travel time buffer, and we’re not planning on our wedding lasting too late anyway.  We’ve got a honeymoon to get to! 😉

Post # 11
182 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

If the couple takes pictures after the ceremony then the cocktail hr is a must. But most ppl don’t spend enough money on them so they suck. So I like having no cocktail hour and all pictures before the ceremony!

Post # 12
3316 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

We didn’t have a cocktail hour.  However, our ceremony was tiny, only a dozen guests, and we had our photographer take pictures of all our guests, so we didn’t have a period of time we needed to cover.  Our ceremony was at noon, and by the time we arrived at the reception location, we figured our guests would be hungry enough to want to go straight to lunch.

We then had an at-home reception a few days later.  That was pretty much all a cocktail hour.  We had an open bar and heavy apps, but not a sit-down dinner.

Post # 13
7052 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

You can have a reasonably priced version of this..as our guests were coming to our reception (we had married a week earlier on the beach), we had drinks for them (mixed drinks, beer, wine, sangria) and passed appetizers.  They loved it and everybody mingled and talked for about 45 minutes.

You can do this instead of a full hour, and do it as people are entering your reception area and it’s a great way to have guests meet each other and have social interaction.

Imho, only a strict schedule or a very formal wedding might call for an exact full hour of cocktails.  But then again, who makes the rules anyway?  I say if it’s your day it’s your (and Fiance of course) way! 🙂 

Post # 14
14183 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

I have gone to a few weddings with cocktail hour. They are awesome because you get to socialize and it’s not awkward to just stand around and wait for the bride and groom to show up. It’s just very courteous. They’ve just had passed appetizers and sometimes i eat, sometimes i don’t, but it’s nice to just have somewhere to go and something to do. Plus, a glass of wine or cocktail puts everyone in a celebratory mood. Our place had a punch and appetizer hour while we took photos for about 45 minutes. Ceremony was until 6:30 and reception started at 7;15, dinner was served around 7:30, so it was just snacks and finger food. Little pastry puffs and whatnot. It certainly wasn’t a lot of food, it was just something.

Post # 15
514 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

I know a lot of people who don’t like the main course and look forward to the cocktail hour more than the reception. Personally I’d rather have cocktail hour and no food in the reception.

Post # 16
1161 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

We are doing a small one to help our guests pass the time until we arrive after pictures.  However, compared to the giant coctail hours shown on 4 weddings, ours will be tiny!  Our venue’s seated plate dinner typically includes dessert, and since we are doing wedding cake for dessert (I know this makes me uncool by wedding blog standards, but can I just tell you how much I LOVE cake) they are actually including a couple of passed appetizers during cocktail hour for free.    We will pay for a big cheese platter as well, and call it good.

I agree with the posters who say  that unless you are on 4 weddings, you don’t need an EXPENISVE cocktail hour, but it is nice to give people some snacks while they are waiting for you.  Alternately, my sister did a buffet dinner at her reception, and she just had then open the buffet when the guests got there (they didn’t wait until the bridal party was finished taking pictures before the guests ate) and that worked very well!

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