Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

cocktail hour

I'm wondering about thoughts on cocktail hour. We are not planning on having one. We are having the first look pics. So we don't need an hour to take pictures. What are the thoughts about not having a cocktail hour?

Re: cocktail hour

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    As long as you're going straight from your ceremony into the reception, it's fine.  If you have separate venues or if you're still taking some pictures after the ceremony, you should provide some sort of hospitality (even just cheese and crackers) while the guests are waiting for you/the other guests to arrive.
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    Robyn5298Robyn5298 member
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    edited December 2010
    I think doing pics before the ceremony is a great idea!  My husband and I did first look and 90% of our formal pics before the ceremony.  We still had a cocktail hour and I'm so glad we did - it gave us a little time to sneak off and have a few quiet moments together.

    We took about 15 minutes for ourselves then went inside to join the party.  About 10 minutes before the cocktail hour ended our coordinator came and got us and the rest of the bridal party and got us in line to be announced into the room.  I thought it would feel funny being announced into a room that we were already visiting people in, but it really didn't seem awkward at all. 

    I highly recommend you have a cocktail hour even if you don't need the time for pics.  Since you don't have anything scheduled it sort of becomes "free time" to visit with guests, spend time alone, or do whatever you and your husband feel like!
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    Ditto aerin. We did not do first look pics, so we had to do a cocktail/ hor'dourve hour. The key is that you just don't want your guests hanging around and waiting for the bride and groom to be ready, bc that is considered rude.
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    We also mingled with our guests duirng cocktail hour namely because I didn't want to miss it myself (we hired a Spanish guitarist to play and also served Spanish style tapas to keep with the theme). Initially like robyn I thought it would be a little odd to be talking with guests and then be officially introduced later but it wasn't at all. It def. led to a more relaxed type feel and schedule as opposed to being firmly regimented-announced, first dance, toasts, etc. It's hard enough making the rounds during dinner so being at cocktail hour would let you be able to talk with people.

    Or have more of an abbreviated cocktail hour-just serve cheese, crackers, fruits. Even if you go right from the ceremony to the reception, your guests won't be served dinner immediately, so it gives them a chance to refuel in a sense.
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    We took a few formal portraits during cocktail hour, but spent most of it mingling with our guests.  For us it was good, even if we hadn't taken any pictures, because our ceremony was kind of late and we wanted guests to be able to eat something ASAP.

    As PPs said, if everyone, inlcuding you and your FH, is going straight to the reception with no waiting around, I think it's ok to skip it.  Make sure your photographer knows, and you plan all of your photos appropriately.
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    I am doing one just because my recieving line will be really long (I have a large family) and the reception is the same site as the ceremony.
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    Have one either way. We did ALL our pic before our ceremony, and we wanted to be present for the entire cocktail hour. I am so glad we were there for it, we really got some quality time talking to our guests. And, it was fun!
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    We had a first look before the ceremony and did our pictures beforehand as well, but we still had a cocktail hour and we didn't want to miss it. I've never been to a wedding without a cocktail hour. Sometimes the bride and groom are there mingling and sometimes they're off taking pictures.

    It's up to you and your FI and what's in your budget. As long as your guests can go straight to the reception after the ceremony then you don't need one, but they're still a nice transition into the reception for guests to mingle and have some drinks and something to munch on before dinner is served.
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    We are doing first look pictures as well, but we are doing a  cocktail hour.  We want to be able to mingle with our guests during the cocktail hour, so that we don't have to worry about going table to table during the reception...once the party gets started we want to be able to participate.
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