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Do I need to have a cocktail hour?

My soon-to-be-hubby and I are thinking about cutting a little cost corner by not having a cocktail hour.  Is that acceptable?  The only weddings I've been to have all had a cocktail hour.  My thought is that the money I save by not having a cocktail hour could be used for our honeymoon or to either extend the DJ or Bar by an extra hour.  Thoughts?

Re: Do I need to have a cocktail hour?

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    I don't think you have to have a cocktail hour. Most often the cocktail hour is used to entertain guest while the WP takes photos. Do you think you need one?

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    The only way you could skip it is if you go directly from the ceremony into the reception with absolutely no downtime, since the cocktail hour is pretty much designed to cover that downtime.  Even if the only gap is to account for travel between venues, you need to provide some sort of hospitality to those who arrive early so they aren't just sitting around waiting for everyone to get there so the party can start.
    This is a neglected planning bio.
    This is a belated married bio, with no reviews yet because I'm lazy.

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    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
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    Are you taking photos after the ceremony?  Then, yes, you need a CH for your guests while you're off doing the pics.

    If you're going straught from ceremony to reception and dinner, then no, you don't need a CH.

    "Trix, it's what they/our parents wanted. Why so judgemental? And why is your wedding date over a year and a half ago? And why do you not have a groom's name? And why have you posted over 12,000 posts? And why do you always say mean things to brides?" palegirl146
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    I agree with the pps. As long as you do not have down time, I see no problem with no CH. I do think, however, that you should serve dinner fairly soon after you enter the room. That way nobody is hungry :-)
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    If dinner is served as soon as the ceremony is over, then no.

    Otherwise, yes you need to have one.  It doesn't have to be expensive, some veggie, fruit, and cheese and cracker trays will do.
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    Ditto everyone. As long as there's no break between the ceremony and reception, it's absolutely fine not to have one. 

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    It's not mandatory unless your guests will be waiting around for dinner to start.

    But I will say this ... I live in the NJ/MYC metro area too, and I think you may get some side-eyes from people if you don't have a cocktail hour, because they tend to be expected in our area.For me, and for most people I know around here, this is the part of the wedding that I look forward to the most.

    I think people in this area would, generally, rather have a nice cocktail hour than party for an extra hour. Assuming you're saying that a sixth hour would be added to the party in lieu of cocktail hour ... most people seem ready to go home by the fifth hour.
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    No, it doesn't change my thoughts.  Especially when in your OP you said that you could put the savings toward your honeymoon.  I think it would be very poor form to be an inconsiderate host to your guests so that you could go on a better honeymoon.  Sorry

    I don't like gaps at all.  And you're putting in a 2 hour gap.  There are those who are okay with a gap, but I'm not one of them.  If you have 2 hours, you need to provide some hospitality for your guests and not make them sit in their cars for 1 3/4 hours between the end of your ceremony and the start of your reception.

    "Trix, it's what they/our parents wanted. Why so judgemental? And why is your wedding date over a year and a half ago? And why do you not have a groom's name? And why have you posted over 12,000 posts? And why do you always say mean things to brides?" palegirl146
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    yeah an hour an a half is too long to not have a cocktail hour.

    I will be taking most of my photos before my ceremony and will have a 20-30 min "cocktail hour" which will include cheeze and crackers and a veggie platter while we take photos at a different location and then right into dinner.
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    If you have a two hour gap, then essentially you need a two hour "cocktail hour."  Not providing any hospitality in between is pretty much just begging your guests to skip part of the festivities.  Besides, if people have been with you since 2pm, chances are very, very, very low that they'll be sticking around to the bitter end of the reception and beyond.  With a two hour gap, I'd be surprised if anyone was still around by the last dance.

    And if word got out that you cut any sort of hospitality in your gap so you could take a better honeymoon?  Hello, pariah-ville.  That's a pretty good way to ensure no one wants to attend your parties ever again.
    This is a neglected planning bio.
    This is a belated married bio, with no reviews yet because I'm lazy.

    image
    Sometimes I feel like people think that brides are delicate little flower princesses who get all dressed up and pretty for one special moment of their dreams, when really they're just normal people who just happen to be getting married. Things shouldn't have to be sugar-coated for grown-ass women. -mstar284
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    Sounds like you really need a cocktail hour.
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    I agree with the PP, you need some hospitality for a 2-hour gap! Cocktail hour isn't really a "little corner" as much as a standard part of weddings these days (although not always with alcoholic cocktails if you feel strongly about it).
     & cocktail hour is a chance to get a little fun with your choices, too! 

    I'd A) suck it up and pay for a 2 (or at least 1.5) hour cocktail hour or B) if your budget is stretched, brainstorm how to host it with a lower cost if you need to. 
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    It depends on your crowd and what they're accustomed to. In my crowd, no, cutting the cocktail hour would not be acceptable. (And from a personal standpoint, that's usually my favorite part of a wedding!)
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    I was at a wedding where the bride and groom took photos for 2 hours while the rest of us stood outside (it was an off and on rainy day too!) the whole time JUST so we could throw the bird seed.  Needless to say the only thing about that wedding I remember is that they had us stand for so long with nothing to do and that is all we talked about among friends for years to come.  That is not the type of memories you want your guests to have. 
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    I don't think you need to have a cocktail hour. I've never been to one that did.  Your wedding plan sound like mine.  Our ceremony ends at 3pm and the reception doesn't start till 6 but we will be arriving around 6:15 so dinner will be served within a 1/2 hr.  We don't have the option of starting any earlier.   Unless I book a second venue for the cocktail hour I have no where to have one.  Also what time do you plan on getting to your venue?  I think that if you get there 10-20 min after the start time you should be fine but if you make them sit there for an hour or more than you should provide something. 
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    If you're still not convinced about a cocktail hour, go read this thread on SB.  One of the things many of these weddings have in common: a gap, particularly one without a hosted cocktail hour.

    http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_snarky-brides_worst-weddings
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    easy ladies... I was just thinking about not having a cocktail hour.  no need to yell.  or judge for that matter.  I was just looking for some opinions from women who have done the wedding thing before.  thanks for your responses.  Smile
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    IMO yes you need one.

    Even if it's only 30 minutes (although an hour is better), people like to meet, greet and catch up with people they have not seen in a while before sitting down for dinner.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
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