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  • Writer's pictureCrystal Ballroom

Unveiling the Mystery of Cocktail Hour

Cocktail Hour

The cocktail hour is a mystery hour. What really happens between the ceremony and the big celebration? Sometimes it isn’t even an hour. What is the cocktail hour all about? The name gives away some details, but it isn’t all about the bar. This highlight moment is about so much more. The newlyweds escape and everyone is left to some bar surprises and a small glimpse of the celebration to come. We are explaining the cocktail hour and the little prelude to the perfect celebration.

The Purpose of the Cocktail Hour

Weddings are unique, but all have a basic structure that involves a cocktail hour sandwiched between the ceremony and the reception. This is a time for guests to enjoy entertainment, drinks, hors d'oeuvres and a social experience. While they await an invitation to dine in the reception area, there are moving pieces in motion behind the scenes. If your ceremony space and reception area require a flip, the transition will be in process. If they are separate spaces, it is all about the finishing touches. The newlyweds take a moment for a private toast, hors d'oeuvres and wedding photography. If the bride will be changing her dress, this will be the opportunity. The bride and groom get a reception area reveal while everyone awaits the grand entrance. The key to success is all in the timing.

Timing the Cocktail Hour

The timing of the cocktail hour is always the break between the two important segments of your wedding day. Some couples plan a shorter break of half an hour to forty-five minutes. A shorter cocktail hour is usually an attempt to reduce bar costs and shorten the timeline. Keep in mind that if you shorten the cocktail hour, you will be shortening the time allocated for wedding photography and the big reveal of the reception area before the guests are invited to dine. It might make more sense to keep the hour or add fifteen minutes. The time of your ceremony will ultimately dictate the time of day for your cocktail hour. Make sure you have a wedding day coordinator to manage the timeline.

Cocktail Hour

Dry Weddings

Not every couple chooses to serve alcohol. This can make a cocktail hour seem awkward. What is a cocktail hour without cocktails? It is a different type of celebration. You might choose to stock the bar with healthy and fun beverages. If you are considering a dry wedding, try to think beyond lemonade, tea and coffee. Serve up fruity splashes of punch that bubble over with carbonation and make it exciting. You can also serve mixed drinks without the alcohol.

A Cocktail Hour Without Alcohol

Without the alcohol, your party will have a different dynamic. The deejay and coordinator will have a little more work to get the event flowing. Getting guests to step out of their comfort zone without the influence of alcohol might involve dancing activities and dancing games that would place a large number of guests on the floor in a way that makes them feel connected with a group. Consider planning karaoke events, caricature artists, a magician, comedy show or a photo booth experience.

Cocktail Hour

Crystal Ballroom on the Lake

Crystal Ballroom on the Lake is an all-inclusive wedding venue that designs and stages the cocktail hour for luxurious celebrations. A meeting with a professional wedding designer is part of every package. Pick and choose your colors, décor and floral designs from the design studio. Stock your bar the way you want and get creative with your signature drinks. Crystal Ballroom provides bar services, banquet staff and bartenders to make the experience flawless. Beyond the cocktail hour, Crystal Ballroom customizes the décor and designs the entire wedding venue from the ceremony space to the reception ballroom. Just bring imagination, and let the wedding professionals create your dream wedding at Crystal Ballroom on the Lake.


We invite you to discover the
Crystal Ballroom difference found in the unparalleled elegance and uniqueness written into the design of each of our venues. The themes are as limitless as your imagination.

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