8 Cocktail Hour Décor Ideas You (and Your Guests) Will Love

We know, we know—your ceremony and reception are the stars of the show, but you can’t forget about the cocktail hour.
by Sophie Ross

You have your aisle décor and your reception centerpieces picked out, but there’s a good chance you may be neglecting one thing: your cocktail hour, if you’re having one.

Whether yours is being held in a lawn next to your outdoor ceremony venue or in the hall next to your reception room, you should definitely consider how you can make your guests as comfortable, happy and entertained as possible while they wait for the reception (and you!). Spoiler alert: There’s more to it than an open bar and bite-sized apps (but not much). Find some fresh, simple ways to decorate your cocktail hour space, below.

  1. You can make casual hors d'oeuvres or charcuterie plates feel elevated with stunning centerpieces and florals.

  2. Make sure your guests have lots of surfaces to sit and place their cocktails while they mingle—linen-draped tables and casual chairs are perfect.

  3. The more seating there is, the better—you might not want to make your guests (especially the elderly ones) stand for an hour plus. Try a cozy-chic lounge area.

  4. A spacious, photogenic bar with cocktails on deck is a given.

  5. A tiny detail that makes a big impact? Monogrammed napkins.

  6. Try a stylish refreshment cart—think sodas, waters and beers, perhaps—to make sure the line for the bar stays relatively low.

  7. Top the tables with sweet, framed photos of you and your partner.

  8. Lawn activities, vintage board games or a photo op—just make sure to scatter some activities in the area to keep your guests occupied and entertained.

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