The cocktail reception should create a social atmosphere, encouraging your guests to mingle amongst themselves and keep themselves occupied while you're busy taking pictures after the ceremony. The last thing you want is your guests to get bored and start interrupting your portrait session, or worse yet leaving. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind while planning your cocktail hour.
Good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
You want to not only cater to your alcohol drinking guests, but also your non-alcohol drinking guests. Have a good selection of both. Maybe consider working with your bartender on creating a signature drink. Consider creating a virgin signature drink as well. The more creative you get with this the better. If you have a drink that tells a story about your relationship even better.
A friend of mine for her wedding chose the Mei Tai as her signature drink because her and her husband had met each other in Hawaii. Choosing a drink that tells something about your story as a couple gives your guests a little glimpse into who you guys are as a couple.
Everyone loves food, so make sure you have a good selection of delicious appetizers. Your guests will be getting hungry by this time and food always fosters conversation. There's something about eating and enjoying people's company, they just go hand in hand.
As opposed to just having music playing in the background, live music gives people something to do. You'll have a few people get up and dance, you'll have those that are just entertained by sitting at their table watching the band and tapping their toes, and you'll have those guest that just enjoy the background music while they catch up with old friends or meet new ones.
Photobooths are really popular. They not only provide entertainment for your guests, but it creates great memories for them and for you if you chose to have your guests create a scrapbook from their photos for you. Most photobooths allow your guests to post their photobooth pictures straight to their social media which allows those that maybe couldn't make it to your wedding to still participate in it.
These are just a few essentials to consider when planning a successful wedding cocktail hour. These ideas will keep your guests happy and entertained until you make your grand entrance. Think about ways to add your own personality and story into your cocktail hour to not only make it your own, but to get your guests acquainted with who you are as a couple.