The Evolution of the Cocktail Hour

Over the past few years, the cocktail hour has moved from the opening act to center stage.  With more and more couples extending their cocktail hour to be 1.5 hours or to hosting “cocktail hour” style receptions, couples are opting to focus extra attention on creating unique culinary experiences for guests to enjoy while mingling before the reception.  

A mix of passed and stationary hors d’oeuvres, as well as action stations, have all become part of the modern cocktail hour.  The cocktail hour is a great way to offer a wide variety of tastes and flavors, ensuring everyone will find something they enjoy or may try something new for the first time without having to commit to selecting it for a dinner choice.

An added benefit to the extended cocktail hour is the ability to skip the formality of a 3 course seated dinner and get everyone up and dancing that much sooner.  After 1.5 hours of indulging, your guests are full and ready keep the night moving with toasts and festivities.  Many couples are opting for a 2 course plated meal or one course with a late night dessert offering.


Truffle Mac and Cheese


Lobster Dog


Tuna with Olives



Creating a menu with all guests in mind:

Your caterer or event planner would be the best place to start when trying to plan with so many friends and relatives in mind. Make the caterer aware of any specific food preferences, dietary restrictions or “must have” items that are important to you. Once you get past the dietary notes, let the fun begin.

Certain menu items are always hugely popular with most guests such as; any rendition of sliders, dumplings, Peking duck pancakes and raw bar. Simple and elegant, these app stations are a go-to for most guests. While you want your guests to have fun and try something new at your wedding, you also want to serve food that helps set the mood.


Meat Slider


Island Creek Oysters


Classic Hits and Extra Bits:

Ensuring all the basics are covered when creating your menu is important, but leave room for some fun to add an element of surprise and intrigue for your guests.  Celebrate at Snug Harbor offers a variety of cocktail hour selections that will leave your guests feeling even more relaxed and ready to party at the reception. Some amazing appetizers ideas include a tuna taco, a vegan veggie stack, and mushrooms with ricotta on a crostini.

Vegan Veggie Stack


Tuna Taco


Mushrooms with Ricotta

The Caterer Is Key:
The cocktail hour sets the tone for the wedding. You want it to be inviting, extravagant, and tasty! Speak with your wedding planner and caterer to discuss bold and different flavors that don’t only impress your guests, but also represent a bit of your own personality as a couple. Lastly, don’t forget that it is your wedding day. Don’t you want the flavor to be just as magical as the day?

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