The cocktail hour is a pivotal part of your wedding. Not only does it keep your guests occupied if you’ve chosen to take pictures between your ceremony and reception, but it also helps guests transition from one portion of the party to the other.
My rule of thumb is to keep cocktails under an hour. Anything longer than this will start to bore your guests. You will see people checking their watches and wondering whether there is anything else to come. Throughout the event, take your guests on a guided journey from one experience to the next. Changing spaces is a great way to keep the energy flowing.
You always want to end each event of the day at the peak. When transitioning from the cocktail hour to the next part of the day, wrap things up organically. Lower the music and have the servers discreetly tell guests where they should be headed next. Never have someone take the microphone and make an announcement. This always feels very impersonal and corporate. If you want everyone’s attention at once, get creative. Tapping a triangle or ringing a cowbell is fun and different.