Cocktails have become increasingly popular at weddings in recent years as a way to offer a variety of drink options to guests. Many couples choose to serve signature cocktails that reflect their personal tastes or incorporate elements of their wedding theme. Cocktails can also be a way to add a touch of elegance or sophistication to a wedding reception. Additionally, offering a selection of cocktails can be a budget-friendly option for couples, as it may be less expensive than offering a full open bar. Overall, serving cocktails at a wedding is a trend that many couples choose to incorporate into their special day.
We have superb cocktail spaces at all our venues! And we're here to help you make the most of them whether you choose an indoor or outdoor experience. Arrange the space for a formal summer party, shabby chic gab-session, or a high-class gala! Wedding cocktail hour is traditionally the time between your ceremony and reception when your guests have a chance to catch up - as many likely haven't seen each other for a good while. These are generally informal to allow for plenty of mingling, but the style and format is up to you.
raise a glass after your big I DO Moment!
Whether your wedding is scheduled for winter, spring, summer, or fall, you want your guests refreshed and having fun. A signature wedding cocktail is a great way to add extra joy! People say that your signature cocktails can your wedding’s tone alongside the décor, music, and food. Your guests will be mingling in their best attire, beneath twinkling lights and floral arrangements, sipping on a cocktail inspired by you and your wedding theme.
You have thousands of choices. If you like dark liquor, consider an Old Fashioned, Dark and Stormy, or a Zombie. For fruity tastes, a Mai Tai, Cosmopolitan, or Hurricane will keep your tastebuds happy. Keeping it classic with a Martini or Manhattan is always a good option too.
Our team can create the perfect pair of signature wedding cocktails for your event. If you love tequila but your spouse is more into rum, combine your tastes with a cocktail made for each of you, then give your signature drinks a fun name.
Alternatively, we love it when couples go for a full cocktail-inspired moment like adding a Mimosa station or build your own Bloody Mary experience. Go wild with a bourbon or Añejo tasting…
Retro cocktail lounge in the sunshine at Galway Downs, CA
Wedding cocktail hour advice
Thinking about ways to fancify your wedding cocktails for you and your guests? Here’s how you can toast to a long, happy marriage with delicious cocktails and mocktails guaranteed to be a hit on your big day. Harmonize your signature drinks with your wedding colors!
- Personalize your favorite cocktail like a vodka cranberry, whisky sour, or other popular drinks to go with your theme!
- Our favorite cocktail nicknames are love potion, I do brew, blushing bride, grinning groom... or go fun by introducing your pet's names (or even your pet names - is this the way your guests find out you call each other Peanut and Snoopy?)
- Check with our team to ensure all ingredients are included in your bar package and let us know in advance if you would like extra special garnishes. Keep it simple. You want your guests having fun and enjoying your special day! If you want our bartenders to show off their Tom Cruise juggling skills behind the bar, then pair your signature cocktail with a prepared drink we can pour on demand.
- A cocktail party needs ice! So much ice. Did you know that we stock at least 1lb of ice per guest? Every drink is served at the perfect temperature.
- You signature wedding cocktails can (and probably should) be served in different shaped glasses. We have a wide variety available so that your martini is served in a martini glass, you can go rustic with a mason jar for your mule or serve your margarita on the rocks if a distinctive wide and tall margarita glass doesn't suit your theme.
- Providing soft drinks and nibbles alongside alcohol is always a good idea.
Provide cocktails, mocktails and standards like wine and beer to put your guests at ease
five Wedding Cocktail Recipes you'll Love
Spring is in the air
- Bombay Sapphire Gin
- St. Germain French Elderflower Liqueur
- Amber Martini
- Orange blossom bitters
- Basil or basil flower for garnish
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a rocks glass with a single jumbo ice cube.
- Seagram’s Peach Vodka
- Pineapple juice
- Lime juice
- Sparkling wine, to top
Directions: Add all ingredients except sparkling wine into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake hard to chill and combine ingredients. Strain into your glass. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish and enjoy.
Blackberry Whiskey Lemonade
- Blackberry simple syrup
- Lemon juice
- Your favorite whiskey (we love a rich, spicy bourbon here!)
- Fresh rosemary
- Tonic water
Directions: Combine ingredients, shake with ice, and serve over crushed ice
Bourbon Sweet Tea
- Peach preserves
- Fresh lemon juice
- Dash of Aperol
- Sweet tea, to top
- Sprig of thyme and lemon round to garnish
Directions: Mix the bourbon, peach preserves, Aperol, and lemon juice over ice and shake. Top with a generous amount of sweet tea and garnish with fresh thyme and a lemon round.
- Fresh lime
- Ginger Beer
Directions: Muddle fresh strawberries, lime wedges, and basil in a copper mule mug. Top with ice, vodka, and ginger beer. Garnish with strawberries, lime wedge, and basil leaves.
Understated calm at sterling hills in Camarillo where the exquisite view draws the eye
Cocktail Hour Appetizers
Augment your signature wedding cocktail selection with finger food served at hors d'oeuvres stations or pass by a server. Chips and dips are a great option for a relaxed party or step it up with our chilled or hot appetizer options. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Mac & Cheese Panko Croquettes
- Spicy Jamaican Jerk Chicken Skewers
- Bacon Wrapped Wild Scallops
- Brie & Apple Phyllo Kisses
- Array of Fresh Sliced Fruit with Honey Yogurt Dip
- Ahi Tuna Sashimi Wontons with Wasabi Cream
- Fresh Mozzarella & Grape Tomato Caprese Skewer
- Mini Shrimp Tostada
Your wedding cocktail hour is a chance for guests to mix and mingle while sipping cocktails and sampling light bites. The cocktail hour also sets the tone for the reception while feeling relaxed and laid-back. Add in some cool tunes, a string quartet, or some golden oldies and the cocktail hour will be fun for all ages. This is also the perfect opportunity for your photographer to grab candid shots of your friends or formal portraits of you two with your family.
Wedding Cocktail Hour Origins
The origins of the term "cocktail hour" can be traced back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries. At the time, cocktails were a popular way to begin a meal or social gathering. The "hour" referred to the time of day when this tradition typically took place, usually in the late afternoon or early evening.
The first recorded use of the word "cocktail" in reference to an alcoholic beverage was in the early 19th century. The term was thought to have originated from the practice of serving drinks with a "cocktail" - a small amount of sugar or other sweetener.
The tradition of having a cocktail hour before the reception is thought to have originated in America in the 1920s and 1930s, when prohibition laws made it illegal to serve alcohol in public places. As a result, people would gather at private homes or speakeasies for a "cocktail hour" before heading out to the main event.
In some cultures, a special cocktail is served during the wedding ceremony to symbolize the union of the couple. For example, in Jewish weddings, a traditional drink called the "Kos Miriam" or "Cup of Miriam" is served. This is typically a mixture of wine and water, symbolizing the blending of two lives into one.
The inclusion of a "cocktail hour" in wedding celebrations likely stems from the tradition of using cocktails as a way to start a formal or celebratory occasion. During a wedding, the cocktail hour serves as a transition between the ceremony and the reception, allowing guests to mingle and relax before the formalities of the reception begin. It also allows for the wedding party to take formal photographs while the guests are entertained.
Whether or not to have a cocktail hour at your wedding is ultimately a personal decision and should be based on your preferences and the style of your wedding. It can be a great opportunity to serve signature drinks or special cocktails that reflect your tastes, personalities and interests.
Adding a signature cocktail to your wedding can make it even more special and meaningful. It could represent something special to your relationship, or a drink to honor both of your personalities. Signature cocktails are also a great way to add a unique touch to your wedding, and a way for guests to get to know each other by sampling different drinks. So why not try something fun and interactive to liven up your reception? Creating signature cocktails for your wedding will help make your special day truly unforgettable.