Cocktail Hour Entertainment Can Be Cool And Not Cheesy
The ‘cocktail hour’ portion of the wedding day is meant as a segue between the emotional ceremony and the lively and (generally) less emotional reception. And yeah, serving a fun cocktail is great, but I say…make this hour WORK for you, honay. It’s likely that you and your new spouse will be taking photos immediately following your ceremony so you won’t be present during cocktail hour to host your guests which can make that cocktail hour feel stiff and awkward for some of your friends and family. Hiring entertainment is the best way to divert the guests’ attention from rigid, often clumsy, formal introductions to one another to something that engages them and gives everyone something easy and fun to talk about. Your cocktail hour should feel light and fun and it should build the energy for your dinner party.
Here are a few of my favorite (cocktail hour entertainment) things ——
#1: Balloon Artist. And whatever image is in your head right now (it’s a middle aged man, isn’t it?) — forget about it. There are so many cool new artists on the scene who can create almost anything you can imagine. And both latex and mylar balloons come in soooo many cool new colors and shapes that it’s best to find an artist in your area and let them give you some ideas that will spark awe in your guests and start some conversation. Here are few tips to give you the confidence to make that call to your local balloon artist.
Talk to the artist about a LIVE install: Have the balloon artist work on an install during cocktail hour…and get those pics for the gram after dinner, once everyone has had some drank the install is complete. This could be a balloon wall or a uniquely placed garland.
“Inflatable artistry” goes waaay beyond animals and swords. Some artists specialize in fashion and wearable latex. One of my favorite inflatable artists is from Russia - Sasha Frolova - and while her work is very avant garde, I personally love it. It’s easy for me to imagine models showcasing wearable art gracefully wandering through a cocktail hour, giving everyone something to talk about.
#2: Tarot cards. Again, you might be thinking of a spooky lady looking into a crystal ball, but with the right person for the job (and they’ll usually say on their website if they do events), having a tarot card reader can be really up beat and give your guests something super fun and interesting to do and talk about together. Here’s what to look for:
Don’t hire a “friend who reads cards” - find a reader who takes their work seriously and presents themselves well.
Be very upfront about timing. A short reading, done in a party setting, should only last about 10 minutes. That usually means drawing only 1- 3 cards per guest. Any longer than that and only about 10% of your guests will have had the chance to get their cards read.
Ask your reader about obtaining small, pocket-sized copies of the cards for guests to keep with them during the night/take home.
Be sure to know exactly what your reader will need when it comes to set-up. You can coordinate with them to bring their own tables + linens or you can provide what they require through your event rentals order. (tip: don’t forget decor for their set-up, add a floral arrangement at the very least!)
#3: Aura Photo Booth. If you’re doing a photo booth for your “guest book” then start getting your guest into the booth during cocktail hour! While your intention is to keep all of the photobooth shots for your guest book, the guests almost always want to take some images home with them. Whether the pics are on polaroid or instax film and taped to a book or if they’re traditional photobooth strips or if they’re being taken against a backdrop and printed on-site, give your guests t i m e to take some pics for themselves and some pics for you and your guest book. My latest fave photo booth option is an Aura Photobooth. Again, because it gives the guests something to talk about. So have your photobooth set up during cocktail hour if you can.