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Customs and Traditions

Cocktail Hour: Attend or Not Attend?

My mother has mentioned that back in "her day" the bride & the groom did not attend the Cocktail hour before the actual reception, but I've been to more recent weddings where the bride and groom did mingle with guests about half-way into the Cocktail hour. What to do? Help! Thank you : )

Re: Cocktail Hour: Attend or Not Attend?

  • It depends on when you're taking pictures.  If the couple is taking most or all of their pictures after the ceremony, they do it while the guests are at the cocktail hour.  If they take most or all of the pictures prior to the ceremony (or put them off until after the reception), they're free to attend part or all of the cocktail hour.
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  • Yep, what Aerin said.  I've even heard of the cocktail hour taking place prior to the ceremony, so the B&G actually mingle with the guests.  I don't think I would advise this, but whatever works for the couple.
  • we're doing our cocktail hour immediately after the ceremony.
    we'll be doing pictures and then join the cocktail hour afterwards.
    i think its whatever you guys want to do...lots of old traditions/rules have gone out the window
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  • Yes, back in the day when I was married, the WP had their own "private" CH~in a special room~while the guests were having theirs.  Then came the big reception entrance,  and B&G started the reception.

    Now, my son and DIL finished their photos early, and joined the CH and mingled.  DD and SIL (and families) were having photos, so we didn't really get inside to the CH until it was over.  We had food and drinks delivered to us outside where the photos were being taken.

    Either way is fine.  The CH is to give your guests something to do while you're being photographed.  If you finish early, join them if you want.  Or not.  Either is fine.
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  • I would have loved to join our cocktail hour and tasted some of the food but we were so busy with pictures there just wasn't any time.  It's all about timing.  If you can, great.  If not, it's not that big of a deal.
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  • I would love to go to our coctail hour, but I think we will still be taking photos! I think what your Mom might be getting at is that you have to be announced to your guests. Other than that, I am not sure why you wouldn't.
  • I haven't been to a wedding in the last 5 years where the couple did not attend their cocktail hour.  Meet & greet and a receiving line outside the church saves running around all night.
  • In Response to Re: Cocktail Hour: Attend or Not Attend?:
    [QUOTE]I would have loved to join our cocktail hour and tasted some of the food but we were so busy with pictures there just wasn't any time.  It's all about timing.  If you can, great.  If not, it's not that big of a deal.
    Posted by jagore08[/QUOTE]

    This exactly! I think I might have gotten a bite of food and then it was time for the grand entrance, dinner, etc.
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  • I am going to attend my cocktail hour.  We have 2 1/2 hours in between the church and reception so I'll have plenty of time to finish my pictures and be at the CH.  I don't know how everyone else is, but in Jersey we have AWESOME CH's and I wouldn't miss it for the world!  I also want to be able to make my rounds during cocktail hour so I get to enjoy my reception as well!
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  • We took all of our photos prior to the ceremony, so we attended most of the cocktail hour. I'm glad we did...it gave us a chance to mingle longer with some of our OOT guests.
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  • We went to our cocktail hour and are so glad we did. We were able to enjoy some of the amazing hors d'oeuvres we picked out and we were able to mingle more with our guests. Another pro for doing pictures before hand! Ditto pp.. most of the weddings I've been to lately, the bride and groom were mingling at cocktail hour. It's a great way to get more face time with your guests.
  • We haven't made a decision yet.  Since we don't have a big bridal party, it likely won't take a long time for pictures, which will be taken after the ceremony (at the time of the cocktail hour).  It is my guess that we'll be able to join our guests about half-way through the cocktail hour.  BUT ... we might choose to greet our guests prior to the ceremony.

    Our wedding isn't until July of next year, so we have plenty of time to decide.
  • We have 3.5 hours between our ceremony and the cocktail hour due to the required scheduling of our church and our reception venue.  Our reception is at a zoo with an exhibit closed off for our wedding's cocktail hour so we will definitely be there.  Plus half of our guests are out of town so we are definitely excited for the extra mingle time. 
  • I am making it a point to attend the cocktail hour. CH always has the best food and wide variety of things to try and I am a huge fan of going out to eat/food so I keep telling everyone I will be there and eating, even though they say I will miss it. We are doing our pictures before the ceremony, so I don't see why I shouldn't be able to make it.
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  • I'm getting married in 3 weeks & we're taking our pictures before the ceremony and we are attending our cocktail hour - maybe some people will be taken aback by it, but ultimately it's the only wedding day we have and we want to be there for as much of it as we can!! Since we're having a bigger wedding (220 folks) I wanted more time to connect with our guests, too.  

    But a big entrance is always fun too!  Do whatever you want :) 
     
  • We got two photographers so we could do most of the pictures (of families, bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc) before the ceremony so we only have the pictures together afterward so we could make it to part of the cocktail hour.  Some people want to have a formal announcement at the beginning of the reception which is why many b and g's dont attend the cocktail hour (besides doing pictures).  Our wedding is a destination (for most of the guest) and is a wedding weekend with parties and gatherings from Thursday on...so we don't feel the need for formal introductions since we'll all be partying together from Thursday-Monday.

  • Like many others have already said, I will be attending my CH. In fact, I am making a point to be there. We are having a small wedding, around 75 people or so, but I want to have that time with my guests. I want to spend as much time as I can with all those I love. And, yes, I am foodie, too, so I don't want to miss out on the passed apps, either.

    In order to accomodate this, my church ceremony will be at 4 and the cocktail hour won't start until 6. This gives us plenty of time to take pictures after, since I definitely don't want my FI seeing me beforehand, and also lets the CH hour be perfectlty timed to a November sunset in South Florida. At first, I was concerned about the extra hour or so inbetween the two events, but as I read these boards, I see many people are opting for that anyway, due to church restrictions or just personal preference. And for those guest staying at the hotel, it gives everyone a chance to return to their rooms, freshen up, etc.

    BUT here's question: I still want that formal introduction at the recption. Anyone still planning for that, despite the fact you'll be at the CH? I know, it might seem odd, but I figure it's YOUR day, and you should have that special moment if you want it!
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  • In Response to Re: Cocktail Hour: Attend or Not Attend?:
    [QUOTE]Like many others have already said, I will be attending my CH. In fact, I am making a point to be there. We are having a small wedding, around 75 people or so, but I want to have that time with my guests. I want to spend as much time as I can with all those I love. And, yes, I am foodie, too, so I don't want to miss out on the passed apps, either. In order to accomodate this, my church ceremony will be at 4 and the cocktail hour won't start until 6. This gives us plenty of time to take pictures after, since I definitely don't want my FI seeing me beforehand, and also lets the CH hour be perfectlty timed to a November sunset in South Florida. At first, I was concerned about the extra hour or so inbetween the two events, but as I read these boards, I see many people are opting for that anyway, due to church restrictions or just personal preference. And for those guest staying at the hotel, it gives everyone a chance to return to their rooms, freshen up, etc. BUT here's question: I still want that formal introduction at the recption. Anyone still planning for that, despite the fact you'll be at the CH? I know, it might seem odd, but I figure it's YOUR day, and you should have that special moment if you want it!
    Posted by Moon9981[/QUOTE]

    Yes we still had a "grand entrance" into the reception and so did our parents and the rest of our bridal party. I'm so glad we did, it was a lot of fun and I'm still eagerly to see our wedding video of it all.
  • i guess we are part of the few that didn't attend our cocktail hour.  We made it to the reception right around the time the cocktail hour started, so it wasn't an issue of our timing.  But our reception had Bridal Suites for us set up behind the ballroom.  There was 2 rooms side by side with tables chairs, and huge bathrooms.  They had mini displays of all the appetizers set up for us in one room, and we had our own cocktail waitress.  At first, we weren't crazy about not attending our CH, but I'm so glad we didn't.  We had just finished taking our pictures outside in the heat, and walking about 2 miles in heels up and down hills (well worth it for the gorgeous pics we got).  So we used that hour to freshen up, kick our heels off for a bit, grab some water and some cocktails, and eat some of our appetizers with our WP.  Then we were announced in from the back of the ballroom after all the guests were seated, and it was kinda cool to do a big grand entrance. 

    It's totally your preference though.  I totally enjoyed having that hour to freshen up, eat something, and kick off my heels for a bit.  But from PP's I'm realizing that we were lucky to have our own food set up for us. 

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  • Our cocktail hour beings half an hour after the ceremony ends, so we will be attending the last half hour of cocktail hour - that is of course hoping that photos will only take one hour. Hopefully I can get pictures of myself with my mom and sis (MOH) while I'm getting ready to get some of those shots out of the way and we can just move into portraits with the rest of the family afterward.
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  • Our ceremony site is walking distance from the reception site, and we have a 2 hour gap where we will have cocktail hour. I'm pretty sure we'll only spend an hour taking photos and then join the rest of our guests at CH.
  • Most Catholic weddings I have been to have a gap and during the gap the couple takes pictures.  Then they are present for all of cocktail hour.  (I know most people frown upon gaps... but it allows for a nice evening reception when the couple is forced to have an early afternoon ceremony.  I don't mind attending weddings with gaps.)

    I am doing pictures before hand so our cocktail hour starts right after the ceremony.  I am excited for the chance to say hello & thanks to my guests before the reception starts.  With a guest list of 300.. I want all the time I can get to great each guest!  (I would have been willing to miss my cocktail hour if I had a smaller guest list.)
  • I've recently been to two weddings where the WP did not attend CH and I was not a big fan.  in one, I was a guest and itt seemed like most of the other guests just kind of stood around awkwardly waiting for the WP to rejoin us.  At the other, I was in the WP and i totally hated having to stand outside taking pictures while there was a party going on inside.  I wanted to mingle!  Meanwhile my FI was inside where he said it most people just stood around awkwardly, waiting for us to come back in.  

    We decided to skip this for our wedding.  We are taking all posed photos before the ceremony and then enjoying being a part of our own wedding!  We have rented a historic mansion for the wedding with the ceremony outside-- then we will exit right into the mansion for a cocktail hour where we will greet and mingle with our guests (more like 20 minutes, but whatever) and then back out to the courtyard for dinner and dancing.  I want to be present and free.  This means no "grand entrance," but  that's not really my style anyway.
  • We are not attending our cocktail hour.  It will begin right after the ceremony so we will be taking our pictures then.  I think the purpose of our cocktail hour is to entertain the guests while we are taking pictures... once we arrive at the reception the dinner and most importantly the party can begin Laughing
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