Or, more accurately, in our case: The Cocktail Hour and A Half.
I’ve been attempting to write about our cocktail hour for the past month. Maybe longer. I have had some serious writers block on this front, and the only reason I can give for it is this: We weren’t even there, so how can I write about it?
Bob the Builder and I really wanted to be there. I LOVE cocktail hours. It’s inarguably my favorite part of a wedding reception. I love appetizers, I love cocktails, I love walking around the room and seeing my options on display. I love miniature-sized foods. I just love the whole thing.
We thought we were making smart decisions to get us to our cocktail hour. We did a first look, and took all of our bridal party photos pre-ceremony. Bob the Builder & I even did are bridal portraits beforehand, because we wanted to spend as much time as we could with our guests. The only thing left to do during cocktail hour was some family photos. Neither Bob the Builder and I had a particularly large family photo list, so we foolishly thought this would take about 30 minutes. 30 minutes, tops, and then we’d be at our cocktail hour, eating sushi and lobster tails and drinking our speciality cocktail!
Um, no. Not so much.
Here’s the truth. I forgot to account for “people moving”. What is “people moving”?, I can hear you asking this through the internet. People moving is the amount of time it takes your guests to move from one location to another. It’s always WAY longer than you think it should be.
Bob the Builder & I did not want to do a receiving line. With 170 guests, it would have taken too long. Since we were planning on going to our cocktail hour, we (wrongly) thought we would have So Much Time to see everyone! Immedialely following our ceremony recessional, Bob the Builder & I were whisked away to a nearby small room to wait until all of our guests cleared the ceremony space. After they had all moved into cocktail hour, we would re-enter the room and take family photos. In my head, I was thinking this would take about five minutes. Yeah, right. Here’s the truth: It took about 15-20 minutes before we came back out to take our family photos. It was lovely to have some time alone to sit down and relax and reflect on our ceremony. But, I was so adrenalized, I could barely sit still. I said insane things like, “Oh my god, I am so sweaty! Was that the longest ceremony ever?” And “Oh my god, I have to get out of these shoes!“. After what felt like forever, we were brought back to the ceremony space to take photos. Our “kinda small” list of photos ballooned to a “sorta big” list of photos, and all in all, they took about 35-40 minutes.
Are you following along with the math? We had a 90 minute cocktail hour. After photos were done, we had 30 minutes left.
At this point, our day of coordinator escorted us upstairs to our bridal suite to freshen up and have a bite to eat. This is something I had asked for in the planning stages. I wanted some quiet time for just Bob the Builder & I, and I assumed this would be the only time we’d have. As you already know, I was wrong. I didn’t account for those 20 minutes post-ceremony. Aside from freshening up, this sabbatical was unnecessary. As we were sitting upstairs by ourselves, we wondered, “Why are we up here? Shouldn’t we go downstairs?” So we did.
We made our way downstairs and through the bottleneck at the doorway to the crowded cocktail room, stopping to say hello and hug and kiss some of our guests. By the time we made it partially into the room, our guests were asked to enter the ballroom for dinner!
We made it to our cocktail hour with only five minutes left! I am so grateful for those five minutes! We got to see our custom ice sculpture:
and we heard Ben Franklin was a hit with the crowd:
and even pose for a photo with ole Ben!
Right after this photo was taken, all of our guests moved to the ballroom and we got ready for our grand entrance.
When I look back on our wedding day, I don’t really regret not making it to the cocktail hour. After all, the cocktail hour is for your guests, not you. I may have had to repeat this to myself over and over, by the way. THE COCKTAIL HOUR IS FOR YOUR GUESTS. NOT YOU. Ahem. I really love cocktail hours!
My words of wisdom to you are this: Don’t expect that you will attend your own cocktail hour. That way, if you end up making it on time, it’s a happy surprise. And if you don’t? Well, no big deal! You didn’t think you’d get there anyway! Win-Win!
But get your day-of-coordinator to save you some sushi, or whatever your favorite appetizer may be. You may need it later on in the evening!
Up next: Our Grand Entrance!
So, tell me, Brideys: Anyone have strong feelings about their cocktail hour? Anyone else disappointed they didn’t get to go? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!