There’s more to planning an outdoor cocktail hour than choosing a couple of cocktails for your guests. It’s also important to consider the setting, seating arrangements, seasonal themes and any small bites you want to pair with your drinks. Whether you’re planning the ultimate outdoor gathering for your dream wedding or an important corporate event, the possibilities for creating a lively hour full of mingling and relaxation are endless.

Remember, like the name implies, a cocktail hour is a crucial transition and offers a brief window of time to warm up for the larger occasion at hand. Maybe you’ve been to a wedding or event where there is not enough room to sit or time to order another drink. Flow is key!

At Radnor Hunt, we’re experienced at planning all sizes and styles of outdoor weddings and events. Here are some common setups, theme inspiration and menu ideas for a cocktail hour you and your guests will truly enjoy:

Favorite Cocktail Hour Setups

It’s essential to determine the number of guests who will be attending your outdoor wedding or event and the setup that works best for your group. Covered patios are ideal for small, intimate cocktail hours. Our patio features a French window that connects to the ballroom and offers plenty of shade, mood lighting and panoramic countryside views.

Cocktail hour with both hightops and lower seating in use
Juliana Laury Photography

The beauty of choosing a venue that sits on expansive grounds is that there is plenty of room for large parties. A common setup our guests enjoy includes the patio coupled with low tables arranged in the grass—perfect for older guests who can benefit from the accessibility.

There is also the possibility of offering your guests hightops, which would especially come in handy if you’re planning to have an outdoor bar. If your cocktail hour takes place on a sunny day, you can even choose to add umbrellas to hightops.

Flavorful Drinks to Match Your Theme

Providing your guests with a wide range of drinks will make any cocktail hour shine regardless of the occasion. That’s why it’s essential to consider the mixologists who will be handling the beverage selection at your outdoor wedding or event.

Bride and Groom Hold Custom Cocktails
Elizabeth Gibbs Photography

We look to drink experts like J. Scott Catering to help us provide the best seasonal offerings for our guests. If your event takes place during the summer or spring, consider a fruity red or white sangria.

And everyone appreciates a delicious signature cocktail, which only adds that extra element of class. Couples especially enjoy signature drinks like:

  • The Dashing Groom: Gin, lemon juice, soda water and basil
  • The Blushing Bride: Vodka, simple syrup, lemon juice, raspberries and soda water
  • A True Gentleman: Vodka, grapefruit juice and a sprig of rosemary

If your event is taking place during the fall, consider refreshing drinks like:

  • The Hemmingway: Rum, lime juice, grapefruit juice and a splash of maraschino cherry
  • Spiced Apple Margarita: Tequila, apple juice, lime juice, agave nectar, a dash of cinnamon with an apple slice garnish
  • Falling in Love: Bourbon, Coke and lime garnish

Pairing Cocktails with Fresh, Delicious Hors D’oeuvres

First impressions count, which is why it’s crucial to provide your guests with the right style and flow of appetizers that will inspire conversation and whet everyone’s appetites if there are more delicious offerings to come.

For your outdoor event, consider providing guests with a raw bar along with hors d’oeuvres like:

  • Baked brie crostini with cranberry jam and toasted pecans
  • Sriracha pork belly with pineapple dipping sauce
  • Peking duck quesadilla with hoisin and scallion orange creme fraiche
Passed Appetizers at Wedding
Dazzle Photography

Our professional catering partners help us to create customized menus that appease even the most refined tastes. We can help you create a menu that offers the freshest farm-to-table eats that cater to a wide range of diets such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and more.

We hope these outdoor cocktail hour tips gave you some ideas to think about for your wedding or corporate event. If you would like to explore all the venue and menu options that fit in with Radnor Hunt’s marvelous outdoor setting, then contact us online or give us a call at 610.725.9420.

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  • Covered Patio at Radnor Hunt
    Radnor Hunt is a beautiful venue that is comfortably elegant. The covered patio is perfect for cocktail hour with breathtaking views of hunt country. There is abundant natural light throughout the reception area. The staff is very professional.
    Mary Beth B.
  • Radnor Hunt's grounds
    A unique and elegant venue that is set on breathtaking property. If you savor Chester County country-elegance, this is your spot!
    Carolyn W.
  • Fruit tarts by J. Scott Catering
    J Scott was very helpful and an ultimate professional. He worked well with both my wedding planner and mother to provide an amazing meal. The food was fantastic and the presentation was even better! I was very pleased as it seemed to go off without a hitch from my point of view!
    Mary T.
  • bridal party outside radnor hunt
    I got married at Radnor Hunt in July and it was exceptional. My family and I had looked a few venues before Radnor, but once we were there, we all were blown away by the landscape. We worked with Amy through J Scott Catering, and they made everything so easy for us. Leading up to the wedding, they were so organized that it took a lot of pressure off of me!
    Daylen M.
  • Outdoor Ceremony set up at Radnor Hunt
    My husband and I could not have been happier with our choice to have our wedding at Radnor Hunt in October. It was the first venue we looked at, and I immediately knew I wanted our ceremony and reception to be here. The venue is beautiful and very well maintained.
    Sarah K.