Wednesday, September 24, 2008

COCKTAIL HOUR: NOT A CAGE FIGHT (PART I)

I was thinking about cocktail hour, and how important of an event it is when a bride/groom choose to have a "full scale" wedding reception (i.e. ceremony, cocktail hour, reception).

To me, cocktail hour is that time when guests need to "re-fuel". After a ceremony--even if it's short--the first thing guests want to do is make a beeline for one of two places: the bathroom or the food.

Therefore, making hors d'oeuvres accessible -- no matter how many guests you have -- is of utmost importance (probably more important than how good the food actually IS).

Surely, no one wants to gobble down anything that's inedible.


But the worst thing about a cocktail hour, at least that I've experienced, is the fact that you end up waiting on a long line -- it's not really about the quality of the food, surprisingly.
(If the food is amazing, well, that's a bonus--but if I can't even GET TO THE FOOD--that's a problem).

Serving stations are great, so long as there are quite a few of them, and they are spread out throughout the room where you have cocktail hour. Same with having waiters milling about.

I've been to many large weddings where there are literally lines 10-15 people long, elbows are thrown, and guests cut in front of you like it's a totally acceptable practice.

TallGuy and I were at a wedding a few months ago, and this obnoxious lady decided it was cool to cut in front of several of us waiting--and she loudly announced she was going to do it.

I strongly believe this should never happen at a cocktail hour. No matter how large the number of guests, a bride/groom should make sure food (and drink) is plentiful -- and spread out in many locations.

At our wedding, TallGuy and I were surprised that the cocktail hour room was pretty EMPTY -- most of our guests were on the balcony adjacent to the actual room. We found that having a indoor/outdoor combination was great, as it spread people out.

If your venue allows the use of an adjacent outdoor patio or balcony, or several small rooms, I would highly recommend that as a way to make sure your guests are comfortable--and eating.

In the next series of posts, I'll talk about the cocktail hour---to me, one of the most crucial parts of the wedding event, as it will set the tone for the rest of the evening (for those of you having only a cocktail hour, fear not..... the tips will still apply!)

Stay tuned!

1 comment:

Megan said...

This is the main thing that my husband regrets about our wedding. We were going to have the cocktail hour outside, but then it was too windy so the restaurant moved it inside- it was rather like a lounge area. The small hors d'oeuvres were okay and they had waiters passing them around. But a cultural problem is that all of the Americans were hungrey way before the scheduled dinner time of 8 pm. Then, by midnight all the Americans wanted to go back to their hotel while the French were just getting started!