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April 21, 2023 3 min read

Cocktail hours traditionally take place between your wedding ceremony and reception to give the bridal party time to take photos before hitting the dance floor. While it’s the most logical time to take posed photos, it can feel inconvenient to guests sometimes. While your photographer captures your precious new moments as newlyweds, your guests need something to do, especially if they aren’t all acquainted. Here are some things you can do to make your cocktail hour fun and exciting for guests.

1. Lawn Games

Lawn games are a perfect way to entertain guests at your wedding. Lifesize Jenga, corn hole, yard chess or dice and Connect Four are all fun games anyone can play. Ring toss is an all-time favorite for all ages that will encourage some friendly competition. Games are excellent icebreakers that offer ways for guests who don’t know each other to get to know each other.

Some venues offer indoor pool tables, table tennis or other things for guests to enjoy. If your guests remain indoors, you can provide cute customized crossword puzzles or word searches, card decks or even host a cocktail hour bingo!

2. Food Stations

Food stations are excellent directly following the ceremony, especially for the wedding party and children. Kids always love snacks and the wedding party may not have had time to eat with all the wedding preparations. Pre-made snacks like a cookie or cupcake tower, little bags of cotton candy or a charcuterie board are great finger foods for guests to snack on while they wait for dinner.

Set up food stations everyone will enjoy, like popcorn or another kind of snack bar. Popcorn bars are versatile since they go with every season. Guests can mix and match flavors to snack on throughout the festivities. A pretzel bar would be another excellent food station, especially for kids who can decorate their pretzels with fun toppings like sprinkles.

3. Photo Booth

A photo booth is always a hit at weddings. Who doesn’t want to take home memories in the form of a film strip? Include random props with your photo booth or ones that go with the theme of your wedding. Many photo booth companies provide props like hats and signs for guests to hold, but it might be fun to create your own! Photo strips from a photo booth are perfect keepsakes for you and your guests.

Have guests leave one photo in your guest book as their signature. You can use pictures from the photo booth or set up a Polaroid station right next to your booth. There are many ways to incorporate fun guest book ideas into your cocktail hour. Unique items like a bench, a mirror or a large photo frame of you and your spouse make awesome guest book ideas.

4. Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt is such a fun idea to get everyone involved during cocktail hour. Keep it simple or get as creative as you want with your treasure hunt. Although, you should wait until after your photos so you can watch people hunt for treasure. If you don’t want to miss any of the action, you can have a miniature treasure hunt during cocktail hour and have another one during the reception.

Set up hints for individual guests or group members and tailor them to your relationship to personalize the treasure hunt and make it more fun! Additionally, you can use an app to create online quizzes for everyone to guess personalized questions about the newlyweds. The app might also be capable of submitting song requests to the DJ or sharing photos.

Amping Up Your Cocktail Hour
A cocktail hour doesn’t have to be a drag. Choose from one of these tips or get creative with your wedding. Guests don’t need much to stay entertained and are there for you. Whatever you choose will elevate the wedding experience and keep guests occupied while you take photos and make your rounds. The newlyweds can’t be everywhere at once!