Monday, June 15, 2015

4 Tips for Hosting a Successful Cocktail Hour

Where is your favorite place to go for happy hour after a long day of work? Now picture your cocktail hour to be just like that but better! Think about it: It's early in the evening, and you have all of your friends together with your favorite drinks, apps, great music and comfortable seating. Read on to see our four tips on what it takes to pull off an easy-breezy cocktail hour that your guests will enjoy (and a few extra tips on the side to take your cocktail hour to the next level!)
1. Cocktail, Please! 
Let's face it, when your guests arrive to the cocktail hour, the first thing they expect to have is a drink in their hand. It is called Cocktail Hour after all! Our top priority during the cocktail hour is to make sure all guests have a drink in their hand within the first 5 minutes of arrival. Whether the ceremony is at a separate location or in the same location as your cocktail hour, guests will always arrive in large groups. An idea to avoid long lines is to have servers tray pass pre-poured glasses of red wine, white wine, champagne and/or your signature cocktail. Not only does this eliminate guests from rushing to the bar and creating a line, but also adds a welcoming touch.  

2. Plenty of Food
We often recommend a nice variety of 3-4 delicious passed appetizers along with at least one food station. This amount of options will keep your guests happy until dinner is served. The food station of your choice can help carry out the theme of your BIG day- taco station, wood fired flatbreads, or a farm-to-table cruditè bar. All food options should be bite sized, finger foods to avoid spills and to also give your guests more of an opportunity to keep the conversations running smoothly. 
Helpful Hint: If you decide on a signature cocktail, make sure the appetizers you chose are complementary to your drink. 

3. Create a Comfortable Environment 
Create an environment that is welcoming and comfortable to your guests. We like to design cocktail hour spaces by providing tables of varying height - a combination of tall and short cocktail tables so the elderly guests and women in heels have a place to sit down. If the budget allows, we like to recommend adding furniture groupings for your guests to lounge on. The furniture design choice and the overall look of your cocktail hour can set the tone for the remainder of the evening. 

4. Choose The Right Tunes
Although most guests will be busy catching up and talking with old friends during the cocktail reception, providing a bit of background music is an integral part of hosting a fabulous cocktail hour. Whether you choose to hire a live musician (examples may include a jazz band, string quartet, or acoustic guitarist) or simply play tracks through a sound system- your music choice should match the overall mood that you are looking to create. 

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