Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Inspiration #24: Creative Wedding Cocktail Hours

The cocktail hour is generally held between the ceremony for up to 1.25 hrs so that the wedding party can take their composed photo portraits. I've been brainstorming ways to keep my guests entertained other than just providing drinks and appetizers. How about a mini-carnival, like the kind your school had when you were a kid - think popcorn balls, a couple booths of games (or kissing booth). Or how about setting up a Great Gatsby cocktail hour - with croquet or bocce on the lawn, champagne, and parasols?

Definitely set up a buffet of tapas and rather than start the open bar, have specialty drinks named after you and your hubby (make 'em quirky, fun names!). If you have these special drinks, you can control your alcohol budget, i.e. you'd just offer a sangria or beer or water vs. the whole bar. Try to borrow as much as you can (such as lawn game sets, vintage linens, popcorn machine) and see if you can get family members to volunteer their time to prepare the appetizers ahead of time and keep warm in the oven or chilled, if needed.

Carnival Themed Cocktail Hour Ideas
  • Drink - Beer and bottles of pop
  • Carnie food as snacks - sliders, popcorn, mini hot dogs or mini corndogs (buy in bulk from Costco)
  • Have guests trade in "wishes" (attach to wish tree) for drink/game tickets
  • Games: bean bag throw, kissing booth, ring toss (save up your bottles of soda or beer for this!)
  • See Real Wedding - Courtney & Charles in Anaheim, CA

Gatsby Themed Cocktail Hour Ideas
[Photography by White Box Weddings, from Summer Picnic Wedding Blog]
  • Use quilts on tables for a picnic feel
  • Traditional tea food - tea sandwiches, chilled mini mixed berry trifle
  • Drink - bowl of champagne and punch
  • Use baskets to hold simple floral arrangements
  • Borrow classic lawn games, such as bocce, croquet

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