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How to Set Up Your Cocktail Hour | Bar Queens

Updated: Dec 5, 2022

"Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!" – Dr. Suess

Dearest Wedding Enthusiast,

Hello, again, old friend. So a little birdy told me that you're getting married!

Congratulations! Now it's time to start thinking about all the details that will make your wedding day perfect. One of the most essential elements of your wedding reception is Cocktail Hour. This is the time when your guests mingle and enjoy some delicious hors d'oeuvres and custom signature drinks before sitting down for dinner. But how do you set up a Cocktail Hour that will wow your guests? Don’t fret, keep reading on to discover my top tips.

Select The Right Location

The location of your cocktail hour can make or break the vibe you're going for. Consider setting up your cocktail hour on your ceremony lawn or in a nearby park if planning an outdoor wedding. If you're having a more formal affair, consider setting up separately from the dinner and dancing or in an alcove off the main ballroom. Get creative!

Set Up Some Lounge Areas

Lounge areas are vital for creating a relaxed atmosphere during your cocktail hour. You can achieve this by renting furniture like sofas, love seats, ottomans, and coffee tables or using your own furniture if you have enough. You'll also want to add some cozy pillows and throws to really make your guests feel at home.

Remember The Mobile Bar!

This one is important! You'll want to ensure you have enough mobile bar set ups, so your guests can get their drinks quickly. Depending on the size of your wedding, I recommend 1-2 mobile bars for every 75 guests. And please let your bartending vendor know your plans during booking, this will allow them to design each bar with the necessities without having to break down one bar to move to another altogether.


W.W.Insight: To my dearest wedding planners — please incorporate enough time in the itinerary for the bartenders to ‘turn the room.’ Unless the cocktail hour and reception are taking place in the same setting, the bartenders will need time to break down one location to set up and continue service during reception.


Create a Unique Menu

Hors d'oeuvres are essential for any good cocktail hour! But instead of going with the same old crudites and cheese platters, get creative with your menu. Serve miniature versions of your favorite dishes or come up with bite-sized originals that reflect your personality as a couple. Your caterer should be able to help you with this one!

Keep It Well-Lit

Good lighting is key for setting the mood at any event, but it's essential during cocktail hour when people are mingling and trying to get to know each other. Make sure there are plenty of light sources around the room, so no one is left in the dark!


W.W.Insight: Consider the time of year. Will it be chilly, cold, raining, or slightly uncomfortable due to the sweltering Georgia heat? Please ensure that your guests are comfortable and see if your venue can accommodate you. There may be a separate indoor room that can be utilized or a covered patio with fans. Just consider your guests!


Add Some Special Touches

Add some personal touches to your cocktail hour decor to wow your guests. This could be anything from incorporating family heirlooms into your centerpieces to hiring a live musician to play during cocktails. It's up to you! Could you make sure whatever you choose fits your wedding day's overall tone and feel?


We hope these tips help you plan the perfect cocktail hour for your big day! Remember, it's all about finding what works best for you, making it your own as a couple, and running with it! You only have one life to live, and it should be lived top-tiered like a bottle of ”The Macallan M.” Please drink responsibly.

The Queens Chalice wants to hear from you and help you make a smooth whiskey decision!

Signed — The W.W


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