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July 2011 Weddings

Cocktail hour BEFORE wedding?

OK... So a little back story my wedding just got moved from October to July and we are getting married outside. I am REALLY worried about the heat, so we are planning on getting married at almost dusk in the shade of the building we are getting married in front of.

My question is since we won't be married until 7:30, is it ok to do cocktail hour first or even split it up and do ceremony in the middle? FI and I are doing first look photos, so we will see each other anways and have most of our photos done.

Just curious on thoughts...

Re: Cocktail hour BEFORE wedding?

  • The downside with having cocktail hour before the cremony is that your guests might be drunk/ tipsy.
  • I guess its ok, but I really don't see the point of having a cocktail hour before the ceremony.
  • sunicosunico member
    2500 Comments Combo Breaker
    I wouldn't bother having a cocktail hour before the ceremony. Just speaking from personal experience, if I've had some appetizers and a couple of drinks, I'm not going to feel like then sitting through a ceremony before getting back to the "party".

  • I just recently worked a wedding.  The couple saw each other before, had a cocktail hour with appetizers in front of their house in a tent, did all the pictures and what not, then moved into a large tent in the backyard where everyone sat at their tables while there was a quick ceremony.  Dinner was served from there, and then the party got going.  It worked nicely for them.  Good luck.
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  • I think it depends on the overall feel of the wedding/ceremony. I think it could be nice if it was a limited cocktail hour with just a few passed appetizers and cocktails, followed by a lighter more casual ceremony. I don't think it's a good idea if you plan on a very formal ceremony, or a large spread at the cocktail hour.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-club-boards_july-2011-weddings_cocktail-hour-before-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding Club BoardsForum:647Discussion:4f5c23d5-ff48-4871-9337-e57479edf499Post:cb4c421a-f761-42f0-a13b-c3c49d7d02da">Re: Cocktail hour BEFORE wedding?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I think it depends on the overall feel of the wedding/ceremony. I think it could be nice if it was a limited cocktail hour with just a few passed appetizers and cocktails, followed by a lighter more casual ceremony. I don't think it's a good idea if you plan on a very formal ceremony, or a large spread at the cocktail hour.
    Posted by apaadzzzz[/QUOTE]

    This
  • Why not?  I'm sure there are people who do this.  The point of this is so guests aren't standing around bored during pics -right?  So if your coctail hour is during your pic time which is before your ceremony - then why not?    Just make sure the flow of everything tends to work out!  Or, just don't do the coctail hour.  If your pics are before hand, before guests are to start arriving- then they won't be standing around bored.  Then do some of your "afterwards" pics while guests are starting to eat.

    FI and I are working on this as well.  Our ceremony won't start till 7:30 as well - but that's just because the "almost dusk" is my favorite time of day, and thus the reason for doing it that way.
  • I guess my question is why not just have the wedding start at 7:30?

    But to be fair, I went to an evening wedding last summer where it was all just in the hall and they had the bar open early then closed the bar for their like, 5 minute ceremony (non-religious, they just had a marriage commissioner come in), then they went and did a few pics and opened the bar up again while they were gone.  It was fast, it went pretty smoothly, and worked for them.  But it was a very, very, casual wedding.

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  • If that's the way you would like to do, you just have to figure out how to keep it at the same level of the remainder of the wedding and reception.  Casual vs. formal and like pp, keep it light with limited cocktails.  What about serving apps with non alcoholic beverages just in case you have guests who really like to party.
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  • KA2KA2
    100 Comments
    edited May 2011
    I think this can be done. You could have some passed appetizers with a signature drink as guests arrive. After the ceremony, you could move straight into the reception. 
    With one signature drink as guests arrive, you should be able to do away with the possibility of tipsy guests. You could also plan to have some more passed appetizers after the ceremony to ease into the reception starting.. 
  • I kinda like the idea of this. But don't do this if your wedding is formal-
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-club-boards_july-2011-weddings_cocktail-hour-before-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding Club BoardsForum:647Discussion:4f5c23d5-ff48-4871-9337-e57479edf499Post:48bf316a-ad77-4f5e-87bc-2c746260ed11">Re: Cocktail hour BEFORE wedding?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I think this can be done. You could have some passed appetizers with a signature drink as guests arrive. After the ceremony, you could move straight into the reception.  With one signature drink as guests arrive, you should be able to do away with the possibility of tipsy guests. You could also plan to have some more passed appetizers after the ceremony to ease into the reception starting.. 
    Posted by KA2[/QUOTE]

    Yup!!  Ditto this!! :)
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  • I've never been to a that late wedding/ceremony, but I think I would prefer to have more time to mingle with other guests/bride and groom than not, so I would be for it.  Unless you're planning your reception to go until 1 - 2 am already, then its probably not necessary because there would be plenty of time later.  I'd also make sure that the music during that time was definitely mingling, not dancing music, so guests don't get too far into the "party" mood.  

    But PP have a lot of good suggestions to "contain" the partiness!
  • A friend of mine had champagne with strawberries available prior to the ceremony, guests had a glass or two and then it was time for the ceremony to start, it was really nice.
  • dco324dco324 member
    500 Comments
    If you're worried about the heat, serve something non-alcoholic for guests as they walk in or provide them with bottles of water.  Having something to eat prior might make it hard for guests to then calm down and be seated.  If it starts that late, most will know to have a small bite to eat beforehand anyway.  Just be mindful of when dinner is served-like do it right away because no one wants dinner at midnight.
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  • I have been to two weddings where they have done this--mostly champagne and strawberries and light apps. I think it is fine. You know your crowd--is it something they would go for?
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  • I think I would just skip the cocktail hour in that case, but saving money would be the main motivator here. I think the other ladies have made great suggestions.
  • Thanks you guys! I appreciate all the input. We are having a semi-intimate wedding with only about 70 people or so. We know everyone VERY well and the main reason for wanting it before is so that our friends and family have more time to hang out. We can only be at our venue until 11, so I don't want everyone there for like 3 hours?

    I think what we are doing is light passed appetizers and a "booze and berries" sangria bar for the cocktail hour. Then the ceremony. Then the reception which is heavy appetizers, lobster mac n' cheese, baked potato bites, chicken cordone bleu sliders, coconut shrimp..

    Our main goal is for everyone to have fun!! AND not get too hot!!
  • Lisa50Lisa50 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-club-boards_july-2011-weddings_cocktail-hour-before-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding Club BoardsForum:647Discussion:4f5c23d5-ff48-4871-9337-e57479edf499Post:2226bce3-d57d-4410-9d19-b24b0965279f">Re: Cocktail hour BEFORE wedding?</a>:
    [QUOTE]A friend of mine had champagne with strawberries available prior to the ceremony, guests had a glass or two and then it was time for the ceremony to start, it was really nice.
    Posted by fam6[/QUOTE]

    Oooo ... that sounds yummy!
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