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wedding guests toast at cocktail party

Cocktail Hour Activities and Decor Ideas

A cocktail hour doesn’t need to be just about cocktails. These ideas are sure to make your cocktail hour fun and fresh for you and all of your guests. 

Cocktail Hour Activity Ideas


While cocktail hours are known for their top notch beverages and even better conversation, it can also be a good idea to add in some activities to keep everybody happy and entertained before the reception begins. 


A Bonfire and S’mores


If you and your spouse love the outdoors and love camping, why not bring the great outdoors to your cocktail party? You and your guests are sure to have a great time roasting marshmallows, making delicious s’mores, and creating millions of memories while you sit around a blazing bonfire.

Having a s’mores station at your cocktail party is unique and fun for people of all ages. 


Backyard Games


Backyard games are the perfect option for a fun loving, outdoorsy couple. Gather everybody’s most loved outdoor games including larger than life Jenga, cornhole, ladder ball, bocce, and spike ball.

All of your guests are sure to find a game they will love to play while they drink and chat with friends. 


Polaroid Photo Station


A fun take on a standard photo booth, a polaroid station is a great way to capture all of your wedding memories on film. Set up a table with a polaroid camera, a ton of film, funny props, and a unique backdrop and have all of your guests snap photos of themselves having the time of their lives at your cocktail hour.

Have a photo album or an empty board for guests to put their photos in if they decide not to take them home. This is a great way to document the day and the photos can act as keepsakes from your wedding. With these photos, everyone is sure to remember how much fun they had at your wedding.

Use the polaroids to create a unique photo guest book! 




No matter how young or how old you are, bingo is entertaining for everybody. Gather some fun and unique prizes and have your guests battle it out in a classic bingo game.

Have a tie? Have your friends answer a question about you and your new spouse and whoever gets it right wins the game! Watch as everybody’s competitive side comes out in this head to head battle of the bingo cards.


Live Music


The point of a cocktail party is to socialize while you enjoy some drinks and celebrate the newlywed couple. Music can be a part of this, but it should not be the main focus.

If you want to have music, opt for a string quartet or an acoustic band. These live music options are calm and act as the perfect addition to your cocktail hour. 

If live music isn’t in the budget, create the perfect cocktail hour playlist. 


Ice Cream Truck


It is a given that you are going to serve snacks and small bites at your cocktail hour. Go for something original and enjoyable by choosing to have an ice cream truck.

Rent out a truck for some classic frozen treats or ask your local ice cream shop if they cater large events. To make it more personal, add an ice cream treat or flavor named after you and your spouse.

You could even do an ice cream bar where guests can choose their own flavors and topping concoctions. 


Cocktail Hour Decor Ideas

Another important aspect of the cocktail hour is the decor. How do you make it unique to you and your spouse? What will look great in person and in photos? Here are some gorgeous decor ideas that are sure to wow your guests.


Wooden Wedding Sign

wooden wedding sign

A personalized wooden wedding sign is the perfect practical addition to your cocktail hour. With this piece, you can add any sign or detail that you want. Point guests in the direction of the reception, the bar, or the photo booth area.

For more coordination, paint the signs to match your wedding colors. This is a piece you can make entirely your own. 


Refreshment Station


Drinks are arguably one of the most important parts of a cocktail hour. Break away from the standard bar and have a specially designed refreshment station. Whatever the vibe of your wedding, you could grab some tables, a bar cart, or opt for something more fun like a specialized wine bar or craft beer station.

Whatever drinks you decide to serve, display them in a fun and distinctive way that is sure to keep your guests coming back for more. 


Custom Napkins


Napkins are a must when handing out beverages and small bites to guests. You could go for the standard white cocktail napkin, but why not take it up a notch by adding a personalization to your napkins? Have the date of your wedding, your names, or a fun fact about you two embossed on your napkins.

Not only are these custom napkins adorable, they are also practical. Who doesn’t love something that does double duty?


Signature Cocktail Sign


Since a large part of a wedding cocktail hour is the cocktails, why not create your own signature beverage for the occasion? You can theme it after you and your new spouse’s favorite cocktail or name it after the place you two met.

Whatever you decide, make sure to also create a custom sign that tells guests what the cocktail is and what it is named after. Who doesn’t love a cocktail with a great story to go with it?


Mismatched Seating


Plenty of seating is a must at your cocktail hour, but why not make it unique by going for a mismatched, eclectic vibe? Take your own unique style and apply it to your seating arrangements.

Gather antique bistro chairs, one of a kind armchairs, and a loveseat fit for a queen. If you’re having an outdoor cocktail hour with backyard games and a bonfire, choose some Adirondack chairs and a wooden bench. Make your seating nearly as fun as the cocktail hour itself!



Cocktail hours are all about making memories. With these unique and exciting activities and decor ideas, your guests are sure to have the time of their lives. Your cocktail hour will certainly not disappoint.  

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Laura Gooch

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