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Crystal Ballroom St. Augustine

The Cocktail Hour

The Cocktail Hour

What is the cocktail hour all about? As the name implies, it is a time for guests to mingle with drinks, but the purpose is so much bigger than the bar. It can be a bit of a mysterious hour. The bride and groom disappear from the main event and everyone is left to some bar surprises and a small glimpse of the celebration on the other side of a curtain. The cocktail hour sets the stage for the grand entrance, so we are sharing insight and tips to make yours spectacular.

The Reason Behind the Cocktail Hour

Most weddings follow the basic structure that involves a cocktail hour sandwiched between the ceremony and the reception. This event serves a purpose beyond serving drinks and appetizers. During this time, guests will mix and mingle, and indulge in cocktails while they wait to be seated and served the main cuisine. While these are some benefits, there is a greater purpose behind the hour that most might not realize. This hour provides a time and space for entertainment, drinks, hors d'oeuvres, a social experience, and allows time for photography moments and a reveal of the reception area while everyone awaits the grand entrance in a different space. The ceremony places every eye on you and your intimate moment. The cocktail hour gives you a break away to toast the occasion and enjoy a quiet moment.

The Timing of the Cocktail Hour

We hear cocktail hour and assume it is an hour-long event. This is not always the case. Some couples choose a slightly shorter break. A forty-five minute block on the timeline brings the two events closer together. It can reduce the bar costs and avoid a dead spot that drags too long. 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. It is your wedding day and your timeline. Plan for your circumstances.

The Cocktail Hour

What About a Dry Wedding?

We are not talking about the rain. Not every couple chooses to serve alcohol during the cocktail hour, and the cocktail hour does not necessarily mean cocktails. Every couple celebrates differently, and for some that means serving healthy and fun beverages in place of alcohol. If you are considering a dry wedding, think beyond lemonade, tea and coffee. Serve up fruity splashes of punch that bubble over with the mix of a carbonated drink and sherbet. A dry wedding doesn’t mean you cannot serve mixed drinks. Serve them up without the alcohol and add splashes of carbonation and fruit.

A Cocktail Hour Without Alcohol

Without the alcohol, your party might not seem as lively. Your dry event is a celebration and not a Sunday brunch in a restaurant. Keep in mind that you will need to work closely with your deejay and coordinator to keep events flowing and get your guests to step out of their comfort zone without the influence of alcohol. Plan line dancing activities and dancing games that would place a large number of guests on the dance 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. A dry wedding requires a little more planning to create a party experience. Having a professional day of event coordinator and deejay will make the planning effortless.

The Cocktail Hour

Wedding Venue with a Full Bar

Many couples choose to have a full bar and take advantage of the cocktail hour experience with formal banquet staff to butler pass hors d'oeuvres and bartender staff to mix and serve the cocktails. Serving alcoholic drinks can break down inhibitions and create a more lively dance floor. Choosing an all-inclusive wedding venue with banquet staff and bartenders to cover your cocktail hour and entire event can save you thousands on your wedding day while pulling off an unforgettable party celebration.

The Time of Day

The time of your ceremony will ultimately dictate the time of day for your cocktail hour. If you are planning on a dry wedding, consider alcohol trends, which indicate that drinking is an evening affair. An early afternoon event can put your cocktail hour in the middle of the day and help you pull off a dry wedding without guests missing the alcohol. If you seek to create a nighttime party with a full bar and club-style entertainment, you might consider having a late afternoon or evening ceremony to place your cocktail hour in the evening.

Crystal Ballroom Saint Augustine

Crystal Ballroom Saint Augustine

However you choose to spend your cocktail hour, create the magic at the all-inclusive Crystal Ballroom Saint Augustine, where the in-house designers create a wedding from fantasy. Stock your bar the way you desire, and the banquet staff and bartenders at Crystal Ballroom will help you create an unforgettable celebration. Contact Crystal Ballroom to begin planning.



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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