What is cocktail hour? Cocktail hour is the filler time for your guests between the ceremony and reception. While you’re taking newly wed and family pictures, your guests can enjoy a nice appetizer and ice cold drink. This is the perfect time for everyone to mingle and allows for a small bite before dinner is served!

Drinks, anyone? First and foremost, what drinks will be served during cocktail hour? We have seen it all from beer and wine options to signature drinks and a full bar. There’s no wrong way to go about making your selections! For those guests that are underage, it’s always a good idea to have water, a soft drink, or possibly even tea available. In these images you’ll see bar signs with drinks listed from previous weddings at The Wheeler House, which we find super helpful for not just your guests but also the bartenders. This allows for a smooth transition since guests have already considered what they’ll be drinking and won’t have to ask the bartenders what is available to them.

Seasons change so your wedding ideas may too! It’s important to keep in mind what season it’ll be when your big day rolls around! Just think, weather… is there a high chance of rain? Will it be too cold or too hot? Everything to keep your guests comfortable! Here at the Wheeler House wedding venue we provide two options for cocktail hour, one outside on the brick courtyard and the other inside our historic house. Another reason to consider the season is for your drink selections. If it’s cold outside guests may enjoy a hard cider or hot chocolate. If it’s warm out you may do a long island iced tea, pink lemonade or something along those lines.

Pick a song, any song! When your planning for cocktail hour, keep in mind what music you want to have playing. While it isn’t a necessity, having music playing gives a good background noise and makes for a more comfortable mingling environment. Typically your DJ will have a playlist going that you have selected or approved!

Entertainment? I think yes! While entertainment isn’t a top priority during cocktail hour it is a great option to think about. It provides your guests that may shy off an option to socialize and allows kids to have something fun to do. This can also be a great transition into your reception to keep guests entertained that may not want to dance. We’ve seen games such as corn hole, human sized jenga and connect four and have loved every second of it!

Food for thought… literally Your guests have more than likely not eaten in a while so appetizers are a great way to hold them over until you guys can get into the reception area for dinner. It’s important to contact the catering team and discuss different options and decide on what you want served. There are passed appetizers as well as stationed. Typically guests enjoy this but this may be something the newly weds enjoy the most, while taking pictures you can grab a quick bite here and there in-between. Of course, appetizers are not a necessity, just something to consider!

Take a seat Seating is a great addition to any cocktail hour. While it isn’t a “must have” it is a great option to make the space more personal and cozy for guests. Here at the Wheeler House, we have seen guests rent from Miss Milly’s for our brick courtyard and we think it adds a charming touch to your big day!

Furniture such a sofa and coffee table or bar height tables really give space for eating, resting, setting items down and make for a great photo opt! This is a great way to dress up your space for an outdoor ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception! If your hosting cocktail hour inside there will more than likely already be seating, you can always add special touches of you by having floral arrangements or pictures of you and your now husband!

While this is a great time for your guests to let lose and mingle before the reception, it’s also a time for you to release your nerves and take pictures with any family members and your bridal party. Keep in mind that cocktail hour is not a super long time so you shouldn’t feel pressure to provide your guests with any and everything, these are just a few helpful tips to make sure that your day is exactly how you envision it!