Mix & Mingle: 5 Tips for a Creative Wedding Happy Hour

Well, we’re on a roll with our wedding planning advice this week! Guess we’re in the spirit as we ramp up for a most busy season and guide each of our couples to creating experiences that are totally unique to them and their guests. Cocktail hour, or wedding happy hour, as we like to call it, should be well planned and fun and a time that guests can mix and mingle and experience a taste of what’s to come. So we’re dishing 5 of our Spring and Summertime Wedding Tips for a Creative Wedding Happy Hour:

 1. put on a show. We’re not talking about extraordinarily over-the-top acts {though you know we love ‘em!}, but give guests something to watch, experience or do during this transitional period. So frequently couples think of “cocktail hour” as simply a time between the ceremony and reception needed to shuttle guests, take photos or turn a room, but we like to think of this as the Second Act to the ceremony, leading into something exceptional. Think about having your caterer shuck oysters for guests, grill up sliders on site, have a face painter for the kids {and adults!}, or even a caricature artist.


License to Still for Valley & Co.

2. add unexpected sounds and smells to appease the senses. Brass trumpeter or steel drummers, anyone? Bring in lively music or musicians during this time to punch up the fun factor. Ask caterers to use cedar planks to grill up salmon bites over an open flame or stage a pre-dinner bonfire with S’mores and watch your guests enjoy the festivities like kids! The smells and sounds of music and crackling wood and food wafting through the air will be incredible.

wedding bonfireShannon Lee Images for Valley & Co.

3. let guests play mixologist. Stage a do-it-yourself bubble or cocktail bar {with barternder’s approval} and set out all of the trimmings like champagne, rosemary, citrus curls, frozen berries, balsamic elixirs and all of the accoutrements. Guests will rave at the unique factor and will also enjoy getting to be hands-on.


 Bryan Miller Photography for Valley & Co.

4. change up the setting. For one upcoming celebration we’re welcoming guests into a totally unique and personalized Hawaiian bar {down to the grass shack awning and umbrella drinks} – something not at all expected and totally different from their black tie bash. It’s all about creating different settings that play into experiences. Don’t be afraid to change up the setting to something you and your sweetie might love, but couldn’t see tying into the reception. If street taco carts, live performers, lighting changes or funky decor are awesome to you but didn’t make the wedding cut, tie in those elements into happy hour.

5. run with a funk y motif. Create a theme {remember, it doesn’t have to be so matchy-matchy with the rest of your wedding} and run with it. Get funky by pairing old school glassware {like copper mugs for our Moscow Mules} with a signature drink or bring in schoolhouse seating and atlases or globes to bring to life an awesome classroom.

Think creatively and consider your happy hour an experience in itself!  


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