11 Cocktail Hour Entertainment Ideas

11 Cocktail Hour Entertainment Ideas

I spend a lot of time with couples planning beautiful and meaningful ceremonies followed by perfect receptions, but most of the time I see couples not giving much consideration to the cocktail hour. It’s important to plan how to best take care of guests between the ceremony and reception. This time is generally when the wedding party finishes up all those important photos and the vendors put the final touches on the reception room.

The cocktail hour is when guests mingle with old and new friends, eat and drink a little, and basically get organized, locating any table cards before the reception begins. I suggest couples make the most of this little window of time by introducing the unexpected and provide their guests with a fun and interactive experience.

Here are some ideas for consideration…

Good upbeat music is definitely a must whether it be through a DJ or your own playlist, but acoustic performers are a fantastic way to add a little flair to your music selections. How fun would dueling piano players be for your guests to get to watch?

Dueling Pianos cocktail hour entertainment ideas

Photo by Root Photography

Caricature Artists are always a big hit and the sketches make great party favors. Fortune tellers are another fun experience for all.

Caricature Artist cocktail hour entertainment ideas

Photo by Amanda Wilson

Strolling Magicians are one of my favorites. They move through the crowd stopping to perform intricate little tricks that will amaze your guests… “wait, how’d you do that?” will be heard frequently.

Strolling Magician cocktail hour entertainment ideas

Living statues are generally more for the artsy crowd, but who doesn’t love a human wonder to look at. Another spin on this idea is a living table directing guests to the most delectable items on the buffet or offering up a flute of champagne from a specially designed skirt.

Another very different take on human art would have to be a mime. They may not be as exciting at magicians, but they can be simply mesmerizing for your guests to watch and join in on the acting.

Live dancers and performers… think fire eaters, hula and belly dancers, flamenco dancers, and aerial silk performers.

rope dancer cocktail hour entertainment ideas

Photo by Dewitz Photography

I recently had the beautiful Janelle Issis, local belly dancer and So You Think You Can Dance star, at one of my events. The guests absolutely loved her!

So You Think You Can Cance Janelle Issis cocktail hour entertainment ideas

Photo by Joe De Sciose for B Metro Magazine


Slideshows and videos are a way to welcome your guests warmly and give them a little more of your history and insight into how you and your love came to be.

Meet the Wedding Party… a photo display of all the bridesmaids and groomsmen complete with short but fun to read bios. These displays allow your guests to learn more about the special folks who stood beside you during the ceremony as well as provide a way to cut costs by eliminating the need for wedding programs.

Wedding party Photo display cocktail hour entertainment ideas

Photo by JR Magat Photography

Games… who doesn’t like a good game to play while killing some time? Consider trivia cards such as “Who Said It” bride and groom cards or Adlibs with advice for the couple. Date night and anniversary bucket list suggestions are always fun for guests to contribute to. And for outdoor weddings, lawn games are perfect entertainment ideas.

cocktail hour entertainment ideas corn hole

Photo by Sunny 16 Photography


Couple's advice cards cocktail hour entertainment ideasPhoto by Red Fly Photography


Bucket List cocktail hour entertainment ideas

Found on Etsy


Cigar bars… guys (and gals) love watching professional rollers prepare custom smokes. Make sure to designate an outdoor area away from the main event space to not irritate your other guests.

cigar bar cocktail hour entertainment ideas

Photo by Elizabeth Messina

Secondary portrait photographer… photo booths are great for the silly photos, but guests will find it thoughtful of you to offer the services of a pro to snap a nice photo of them all dolled up. We’ve all had that moment when we wish we had a good photo from attending an event with our significant other. Consider providing some great wingback chairs or furnishings for this setup.

Comedian… whether professional or a close friend who can rock a crowd… everybody loves to laugh!

Wedding Comedian cocktail hour entertainment ideasPhoto by Radiant Photography

As you can see, the ideas can be endless. So get creative and add a little fun to your day!


Rachael Grammer, Two Hearts Weddings

Professional Bridal Consultant



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