DeLong Photography Blog

Photographers providing authentic photographs, modern heirloom albums, and more for those who value a comfortable and fun experience 
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Available for travel.

4 Reasons to Have a Cocktail Hour

Cocktail hour image of 2 whisky glasses filled with a beverage on black tray

Cocktail Hour

Some couples choose to forego a cocktail hour, and we totally get it. While it may seem like another expense with your caterer, there are many benefits to hosting a cocktail hour. They can be fun for your guests, and be an essential part of your wedding day flow! Keep reading to find out the benefits of a cocktail hour!

1) Time for Pictures

This is a HUGE one! Most of us don’t want our guests just standing around while we work through family and bridal party formals. If that happens, generally someone will want to come up to you to share their congratulations, which then turns into a mob. It’s imperative for the timeline that guests are directed away from the ceremony site (or wherever you may choose for formals). This also gives you and your photographer an allotted amount of time to get those oh-so-loved portraits. If planned well, an hour may do the trick. BUT do know that depending on the size of your wedding, and the amount of formal combinations you choose, cocktail hour may need to be extended past the one hour mark.

2) Time for Vendor Set Up

If you’re doing a room flip, or reusing elements from the ceremony site at the reception site, your vendors need time to set up. It’s always best to have your guests in a separate space than where your vendors are trying to put everything together. This not only helps your vendors complete their tasks faster, but it also avoids any liability. It eliminates the chance of someone bumping a ladder, tripping, or otherwise harming themselves or another person.

3) Time for Guests to Mingle

This is a perfect opportunity for your guests to get to know one another! Whether it’s at the bar grabbing a cocktail, or schmoozing over some snacks, your guests will have the opportunity to socialize. It’s the perfect time for old friends to catch up, and those who don’t know anyone to make some acquaintances. This also means that when the important reception moments arrive i.e. first dances/toasts etc your guests won’t be whispering “how are you’s” through them and miss the entire thing.

4) Creates a Flow

After the ceremony, your officiant will announce the guests are invited to join the cocktail hour and where it is taking place. After cocktail hour is over, your DJ or band will announce everyone is now invited into the reception for introductions and first dances. Once those are over, the band or DJ will announce it’s now time for everyone to eat, and the bridal party/immediate family are to go first. Your guests will know what’s going on, when, and where to be. Cocktail hour sets up the flow for the rest of the evening, and your guests will then look for announcements from the band or DJ for the rest of the evening (such as announcing the cake cutting).

Making sure you and your family get to eat first is a big deal by the way! Many couples don’t get a but a bite to eat on their day because they are bombarded by well-wishers. This usually happens because the guests have eaten before the bridal party has arrived at the reception, so the bride and groom are eating last. Be sure to create a flow, such as the example above, that ensures you will eat first! You’ve paid and planned for this whole thing, ya know? 😉

I hope you found this post helpful, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Black and white image of Tim and Shannon DeLong of DeLong Photography in Riverfront Park park smiling at the camera

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