10 Fun Cocktail Hour Ideas for a Summer Wedding

Who doesn’t love a summer wedding? With blue skies and balmy nights, it’s easy to see why so many couples choose to have their big day at this time of year. One of the best ways to capitalize on the good weather is to have an outdoor cocktail hour. This space of time between ceremony and reception may not seem like a big deal, but it’s actually an important bridge between the main events. It’s also a great opportunity to create the atmosphere that will carry on into the evening. Just a few creative touches will leave your guests feeling like they’re on the ultimate summer vacation! Here are ten fun ideas for your summer wedding cocktail hour.

Frozen desserts. There’s something so perfectly summery about frozen treats! Serve popsicles in Prosecco, slushy frosé or shaved ice to keep guests cool. Or hire an ice cream truck (or cart!) to show up through cocktail hour – I guarantee it won’t just be the kids who queue up for a cone!

Self-service cocktail bars. The bar is always a focal point, so why not give guests the chance for some interaction? Self-service G&T or prosecco bars are already on-trend, and the latest are rum or sangria stations and aperol spritz bars. Perfect summer tipples!

Fedora favors. Keeping your guests comfortable is a priority at a summer wedding, so if your cocktail hour is outdoors, give attendees chic straw fedoras to wear. You can also make a fun display of them that adds to the summer wedding décor.

Pool party. If your venue has one available, host your cocktail hour poolside. After all, nothing says ‘summer’ like a pool party! Add fun pool floats or flowers to the water for extra tropical vibes.

Hydration station. Keeping guests hydrated in the summer sun is vital, so make a feature of it. Set up a station with infused waters (try cucumber, melon, mint and lemon) and allow guests to help themselves. Or serve coconut water in cute coconut shells to really create that holiday feeling.

Light bites. When the weather is warm, guests crave food that is light and refreshing. Watermelon and cheese slices on a stick are always a hit! You could also pass around summer barbecue-style minis like burgers and hot dogs. Or serve cute pairings like mini tacos and shot glass margaritas.

Oysters. Seafood is another summer staple, so if you’re planning a coastal wedding, serve fresh oysters at cocktail hour. You could even hire a chef to shuck the oysters in front of guests for an extra entertainment element.

Lounge area. A shady lounge area is a must for a summer wedding cocktail hour. It gives guests a chance to mingle in comfort while they enjoy their drinks. It’s also a thoughtful addition for older guests, who may want to sit down.

Lawn games. Games are a great way for guests to pass the time while they wait for the bride and groom! Think customized cornhole, croquet, giant Jenga, horseshoes, bocce, even space hoppers! They’re fun for everyone, including younger guests, who can often get bored during cocktail hour.

Personal touches. Signature cocktails are always a great idea, but you can make them even more personal with bespoke paper goods like napkins and coasters (Shutterfly’s range is my favorite!). Add cute quotes or phrases or use your wedding logo or monogram for a personal touch.

Which of these ideas would you incorporate into your summer wedding?



Top image by Brian Leahy Photography via PartySlate