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.
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.
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
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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