Cocktail Hour

Whether youre hosting a cocktail hour at your home or in a venue, its important to plan ahead.

You want to reserve appropriate rooms for viewing and storage of all items related to the reception. Think about how much furniture you need and ask yourself if you have enough seats for everyone. If not, encourage guests to sit on pillows and cushions on couches and sofas. And once youve reserved your space, keep it clean!

Choose the right time of day.

When it comes to hosting a cocktail hour, there are few rules. You can invite people over at any time during the day, but some activities are better suited for certain hours. Think about what you want to accomplish when inviting guests over, and plan your events accordingly.

Consider the age of your guests.

You dont have to invite children into your adult cocktail hour, but if you do, make sure to remind parents about bathroom facilities and help them locate their kids rooms. Many people feel uncomfortable having little ones around so think carefully before you open your door.

Think about what activities your guests enjoy.

One of the best ways to choose a cocktail party theme is to think about what activities your friends and family members most love and then incorporate those feelings into your dcor and menu selections. For example, if one of your relatives loves sports, have game-themed decor in your home and serve up hot dogs and chips on a football table.

Determine a theme for your look.

Whether youre hosting a cocktail party or just an intimate evening with friends, choosing a unique color palette can help you get beyond the usual blue and reds. Pick seven to nine colors that mesh well together and stick with those when designing your tablescape.

Keep the time of day in mind.

When it comes to hosting a cocktail hour, theres nothing more off-putting than an event that doesnt adhere to normal dinner hours. Your guests wont have a great experience if they feel like theyre drinking with everyone but the familyor even not at all! Be sure to let people know about your cocktail hour early enough to plan their evening accordingly. And while you should definitely consider what time zone you live in and invite people who are willing to work around your meal timing, dont stress out about whether you need to cater to just one group or multiple groups. Instead, focus on planning something delicious for your guests and getting back to having fun with your friends.

Plan for different levels of engagement.

Dont expect everyone to be actively engaged throughout your cocktail hour. For some people, just hearing about your initiatives will be enough; theyll go home and forget about them right away. But dont think you can hold an effective conference with only minimal participation from attendees. As a leader, it is your job to get participants involved at every stageand that includes you!so all their questions are answered and they feel comfortable participating in the conversation.