Generally the cocktail hour is located in the main ballroom, foyer, or patio. Upbeat background music is played for the guests as they mingle, snack on appetizers (hot & cold) and refresh themselves at the hosted bar. Hosted bar a little out of the budget?
There are lots of chic ways around this problem. Host the cocktail hour by offering two signature drinks to your guests! The drinks can be pre-made and elegantly served with beautiful garnishes. We have had couples choose "His & Her" options, cocktails named for the "Maid of Honor & Best Man", or cocktails based on the occasion like "Something Borrowed & Something Blue". Print up the recipe for your signature drink, add one of the ingredients, dress it up in a pretty package and it now does "double duty" as a favor for your guests. Win, win for your budget & your guests!
Another option to making your guests feel well taken care of and still keeping within the budget, offer a signature drink during cocktail hour and during the reception offer wine and local beers from the area. Offer a cash bar for those who prefer something different then wine & beer. We also love the idea of offering champagne for the toast! It's a very intimate way to invite your guests to celebrate with you!
Whichever option you decide for your bar, make it unique and special to the two of you!