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DO Tent Your Bar
Photo by Norman + Blake
вЂњDon't be afraid of tenting the bar for cocktail hour, especially if you are having your wedding during the summer,вЂќ suggests Britt Cole and Francie Dorman, founders of 42 North. An outdoor wedding cocktail hour can quickly become very hot, so think about shade. вЂњHere, we maximized the size of the tent by creating a custom-made round bar that fully wrapped around the center pole, allowing guests to come into the tent and access the bar from any angle,вЂќ they explain.02 of 07
DO Focus on Your Portraits
Photo by Charlotte Jenks Lewis
вЂњDo sneak away for portraits during cocktail hour,вЂќ says Charlotte Jenks Lewis, owner of Charlotte Jenks Lewis, adding, вЂњIt's a nice time of the evening to get some extra pictures.вЂќ Strategize golden hour for your cocktail hour, gathering for photos filled with glowing, sunset light.
DON'T Leave Your Guests Hot and Bothered
Photo by Jose Villa
There are endless ways to offer guests ways to beat the summer heat. Brooke Keegan, owner and creative director of Brooke Keegan Special Events, suggests couples set up displays of parasols and chilled lavender towels to refresh guests. вЂњThese small touches will leave a lasting impression on your guests and set the tone for the rest of the night!вЂќ she says.04 of 07
DO Customize Cocktails
Photo by Christopher Shane
Toast your special day with a themed cocktail! вЂњDon't be afraid to stray from traditional champagne and add a personal touch with a signature cocktail feature during your cocktail hour,вЂќ suggests Demi Meeker, senior sales manager at Cannon Green. A personalized menu with an homage to memories of your relationship-where you had your first date, an ode to your hometown-can add a memorable experience to your wedding cocktail hour.05 of 07
DON'T Be Afraid to Get Interactive
Photo by O'Malley Photographers
Staging a comfortable happy hour for your guests can set the tone of your reception, so start it all off with a fun activity. вЂњThink of a creative display where guests can walk through and pluck their escort card from a garden arch or pull it from a basket of fruit with names penned to each,вЂќ suggests Aleah and Nick Valley, founders of Valley & Company Events. вЂњWe all love lawn games, but other activities like a raw seafood bar or wine pairings will elevate the experience,вЂќ they add.06 of 07
DON'T Forget About Seating
Photo by Magnus Bogucki
вЂњIf the cocktail hour is held on grass, there is nothing worse than having your guests jockeying to be comfortable and relaxed,вЂќ says Brenda Babcock, owner of Brenda Babcock Celebrations. When finalizing your cocktail hour design, plan for an abundance of seating and separate lounge areas to guarantee your guests are comfortable in between events.07 of 07
DO Choose Seasonal Decor
Photo by Kate Headley Photography
вЂњSummer soirГ©es call for paper fans and cool cocktails to keep your guests refreshed,вЂќ says Shannon Wellington, owner of Shannon Wellington Weddings. This fun summer wedding decor idea can translate into a festive seasonal design that will help keep guests cool, as well as hint to the time of year.