Want to pull off a fabulous cocktail hour for your spring wedding? Fabulous food and drinks, everyone you know mingling as one big happy family? Here’s how!
Setting the Tone
The cocktail hour at your wedding is oh so many things. First, your cocktail hour will set the tone for the flavors of your wedding. Kicking things off with a bang will let your guests know what to expect at dinner & dessert service. It’s also the first part of your day when your guests will engage in active conversation with each other. But most importantly of all, it’s the turning point in your wedding day when the energy in the room starts to come alive. The pomp and formality of your ceremony is over. Cocktails are being served. The party music is playing, and your guests are ready to celebrate you while having an amazing time!
If we’re really being honest here, your cocktail hour is usually also the portion of your wedding day where guests walk around and get introduced to each other. Small talk ensues before they steadily make their way back to their trusted circle of friends and family. Before you know it, an hour has passed and your guests will be scrambling to find their seats. They’ll head to your reception where even more small talk and introductions are bound to happen. Sounds like a major bore, right?
Your cocktail hour should be a time when different friend groups converge!
Picture this instead! Everyone meets by the selfie wall to chat about how amazing the rehearsal dinner was. They talk about how they can’t wait to hit the dance floor together and how they’ll be sure to pass by each other’s table even though they hope they are seated together.
It should be the time of day the vibe of the celebration is just getting started and you can feel the electricity in the air. So, how do you pull off this amazing, electric, just-getting-the-party-started vibe for the cocktail hour at your spring wedding? We have some thoughts!
Location is Everything for a Spring Wedding
Yes, location lends a big heaping hand in setting the vibe of the night! If you live in cold weather climate, one of the fabulous things about hosting a spring wedding is that you can have your ceremony & cocktail hour outdoors before moving the party inside. Hosting your cocktail hour outside will put your guests at ease. Especially after the formalities of your ceremony! It’ll help them relax and feel more comfortable, leaning into the vibe you set for the day. If you’re still on the hunt for the perfect spring wedding venue, we rounded up our top tips for venue shopping, in this post!
Remember, Dinner & Dessert Service is Next!
Your cocktail hour is the very first part of your wedding day where guests will get a literal taste of your wedding. Creating a cocktail hour menu of drinks and small bites (no full bellies before dinner!) that incorporate the flavors of the season will be a huge factor in pulling your guests into your wedding day experience. Signature drinks are always a fun way to enhance your menu. But those are usually served throughout the entirety of your day.
If you want to kick up the wow factor, your cocktail hour has to have a certain pop to it beyond signature drinks. Incorporating fresh ingredients that are drawn from flavors of the season is an amazing way to serve up that pop. For spring weddings, we love incorporating flavors of lavender, mint, strawberry, chamomile, spiked iced tea, and fizzy-flavored lemonades! Pair those with flatbreads, tomato and mozzarella skewers, chicken and waffles small bites, or a cheese station. If you’re still putting together the menu for your spring wedding, you can copy the spring wedding menu we’ve put together in this post!
Introduce Your Guests Before Cocktail Hour
Look, you’re not reading this because you want a typical run-of-the-mill cocktail hour for your spring wedding. What you’re picturing is much bigger and better than the drink-in-hand intro dance. Our personal belief is that your cocktail hour should be more like the pathway to your reception. And on the flip side of that, your reception should be a continuation of your cocktail hour. You can do that by skipping the awkward convos and small talk at your cocktail hour.
Nobody wants to spend their wedding day making sure their guests are comfortable and having a good time. We kinda like to skip right to the good part when it comes to weddings, celebrating. And we’re not talking about the 11th hour when everyone has finally let loose and hits the dance floor as one big happy family. No no! We like to kick things off right from the get-go. Want your guests to go out of their way to say hello to familiar faces at your cocktail hour for the exact scenario we mentioned above? You can make it happen, through your Guestie event.
Setting up your Guestie event is super easy. You don’t have to worry about downloading & signing up for confusing apps, because really, who has that kind of time when they’re planning a wedding? With your Guestie event setup, your guests can “step inside” and get to know each other ahead of the cocktail hour at your spring wedding so they can skip right to celebrating! Sounds pretty amazing, right? You can set yours up through this link!
Set The Vibe with Music
Believe it or not, cocktail hour is way too often overlooked when it comes to music selection. Or you might believe it because you’ve stood through a cocktail hour where the music was piped in through the venue and it was sorely lacking, to say the least. Location, food, drink, and entertainment all have to come together and work in sync to set that vibey cocktail hour you’re hoping for. Because you want to approach your cocktail hour as setting the tone for the party, we’re going to tell you *not to ask* the string section to come over to your cocktail hour from your ceremony. Unless of course, you are going with a mariachi band, in which case we say, hit it full throttle!
String music is beautiful for a ceremony. But when that cocktail hour hits, we need to turn up the volume on fun. You have a few choices here! The first is to ask your reception DJ if they are available for your cocktail hour. Work with them to incorporate the music requests from your Guestie event and a playlist that will begin to set the tone for the night. You don’t want to go right into a track of “Crazy in Love” at this hour, because it’ll be lost on your guests. You get the idea! The second option is hiring a local band. Live music? We’re into it! Fun cover bands are usually a big hit at weddings. Pair that with the song requests your guests submitted through your Guestie event and you’ll be surprised to see who is already singing along!
Don’t Forget the Entertainment
Ok, guests are introduced, cocktails and small bites are planned, and your music selection has been made. Now it’s time for some entertainment! And no, the buck doesn’t stop at music for entertainment at the cocktail hour of your spring wedding! If you’re still working on setting “that vibe” for your cocktail hour, interactive entertainment is the way to go. If you hired a live painter for your ceremony, they’ll be transitioning through your wedding the same as your guests until their work is complete. During your ceremony your guests will be so focused on, well you, it’ll give them a chance to walk around with their fab spring-inspired cocktail to see what your live painter is creating!
Want to pull your guests even further into your wedding day experience? You can 100% hire your photobooth vendor to operate during your cocktail hour as opposed to your reception. But, if you want to keep your photobooth vendor strictly reception only, you can! Rent an epic flower wall and set up a selfie station for your guests instead! Having a wedding day filled with whimsy? We love carnival games, rides (yes, you can totally rent a carousel!), and snacks at an outdoor spring cocktail hour! Honestly, the sky is the limit when it comes to wedding entertainment! If you want to have a magician hop in and out of mingling guests to perform tricks, go for it!
Now that you’ve read through our tips on pulling off a fab cocktail hour for your spring wedding, come find us on Instagram @lets.guestie!