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Cocktail hour is the most anticipated culinary component of the wedding. From the sushi bar to the meat carving station, your guests will be canvassing the room in search of those infamous baby lamb chops. For most guests, cocktail hour is the only time in the evening where the focus is on the food. By the time the party gets started everyone is happily distracted by the band, the toasts and inevitably the alcohol. Usually, the sit down meal is forgettable and what leaves a lasting impression are the creative pass around hors d'oeuvres that began the evening.

Kobe Beef Sliders, Ahi Tuna crisps and Scallops Wrapped in Bacon are some recent favorites.

As you plan your extravagant and tasty cocktail hour remember these four words:
No matter how elegant an affair, no matter how ritzy the venue, pigs in a blanket are an all time winner. You can even dress them up in a black tie outfit and call it Sausage Wrapped in Phyllo.

There is one key and one key alone to a successful cocktail hour.
A cocktail hour with too little food is like Thanksgiving dinner without enough turkey. There is nothing worse than watching your friends and family fight over the last shrimp on the platter or seeing the disappointed look in your guests’ eyes as they get to the sushi bar to find a lone cucumber roll sitting on the otherwise empty bamboo boat.

In closing we cannot to forget to mention the aspect that gives this hour its moniker. Cocktails are the stars of the night…so start off strong (pun intended). It’s always a good idea to have glasses of champagne and popular martini combinations served by waiters as guests arrive. That way they don’t have to rush right over to the bar. However, many people will make a beeline for the bar, so make sure there are enough bartenders and bar locations in the room. No one wants to wait for a drink at a wedding like they do at their local dive bar.

Unfortunately as the bride you probably won’t get to taste any of the food, especially at cocktail hour when you are busy introducing yourself as Mrs. for the first time. Your guests on the other hand will be hungry and great food and drinks will set the tone for a wonderful evening. Take the time to plan a great kickoff to the wedding, besides if it’s really a party, it will be the only hour of the night that some people will remember...

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