The cocktail hour is fun and a great transition period from ceremony to reception. It is a nice chance for guests to mingle and chat, as well as a good time for the bride and groom to have their photos taken. Don’t skip the cocktail hour as your vendors need time to prepare for dinner, and this can take up to 45 minutes, sometimes an hour.
Skipping shots is a good idea. Shots are easier and quicker to get bombed on. It prevents uncle Louie, the groomsmen, and others, etc., from over imbibing.
“If you’re hosting an open bar, ask the bartenders to adhere to a ‘no shot’ policy. Enthusiastic revelers often order rounds for their entire table, some of which go unconsumed. Eliminating that option helps keep down the added costs of late-night trips to the bar.” ~ Megan Weisberg, Wedding Consultant, San Francisco.
Make it clear to your bartenders in advance that although you want your wedding guests to have a good time, you are equally concerned about their safety and that the bartenders should monitor consumption and alert you if a guest has exceeded his/her limit. Professional bartenders have the experience to track individual consumption, recognize signs of intoxication and to tactfully slow an individual’s consumption when needed. You should take the responsibility for the overall safety of your wedding guests and intervene when necessary. You can always request that the bartender WATER DOWN drinks for specific people who you know tend to drink too much.
Guests imbibing on an empty stomach equals a recipe for disaster, so you’ll not only want to have plenty of munchies – finger food – on hand, but also make sure they work with your drink mix.
Consider closing the bar during dinner to allow people to eat and fill their tummies with something other than booze. Then reopen the bar when dinner is over. That way people aren’t drinking the whole night through. And closing the bar early – the last hour – means people have a chance to sober up before driving home. Serving coffee is a good idea.
From a wedding budget cost and handling perspective, it is best to keep your drink selections basic. Since you do not know what specific type of beverages your guests will consume at your wedding reception, by minimizing the number of overall selections you will be able to stock sufficient quantities of each beverage type – and within a reasonable budget – to make sure that you do not run short of any individual selection.
Non-alcoholic beverages are always an essential offering. A selection of soft drinks like cola, diet cola, a lemon/lime soda like Sprite or 7up, and sparkling water with lemon and lime twists will pretty much take care of the soft drink selection.
If you have hired a beverage service or caterer who has a liquor license to provide bar service for your wedding reception or if your wedding reception is being held in a facility that provides bar service, their liquor liability insurance should cover the liability of service of alcoholic beverages. It is advisable to obtain a copy of both the liquor license and the certificate of insurance for the beverage service. It is also advisable to check the local regulations pertaining to “cash bars” to make sure that you are in compliance with local laws unless your wedding reception is being held in a liquor licensed facility, i.e. hotel, restaurant, etc.
Tip: If you will be taking your formal and group photos immediately after the wedding, be careful not to take too much time taking photos while your guests are at the cocktail hour. If you give your photographer a list of what photos to take after the ceremony when you meet with them, the photos should not take more than 45 minutes. If cocktail hour is for one hour that still gives you 15 minutes to freshen up before you make the grand entrance.
Some couples are choosing to take most of their photos before the wedding so they can enjoy the cocktail hour with their guests. Seeing you at the cocktail hour doesn’t make it any less dramatic or exciting for the guests when the new Mr. and Mrs. are announced.
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s “romantic” Wedding Website. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 470 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.
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