Wedding reception cocktail hour

A wedding reception cocktail hour: how does it usually unfold in Italy? what is the order of events? which type of food is served? how long does it last? These are just a few questions I’m being asked by couples who plan their destination wedding in Rome and want to have a traditional Italian wedding reception in a typical Italian wedding venue.

So here’s the first of a series of blogs on the traditional Italian wedding reception which is made of three different events: the wedding reception cocktail hour, the wedding dinner, the open bar.

Wedding reception cocktail hour: set-up

The cocktail hour is the first part of a wedding reception in Italy. It usually lasts from one up to two hours. Ideally, it takes place in that area of the wedding venue which is closer to the entrance, whether a garden or a room.

For this part of the wedding reception, only a few small round tables and chairs are needed, so as to provide seating for approx. 50% of the guests. During this part of the wedding reception, in fact, guests are supposed to mingle and not be seated the whole time.

If the cocktail hour takes place in a garden, you can add some comfortable couches and low tables, as well as large cushions to be set on the grass for a country-style wedding.

Of course, don’t forget some special flower arrangements, both on the small round tables and big buffet tables.

Wedding reception welcome cocktail set-up

Wedding reception cocktail hour: food and drinks

The best option for the cocktail hour is to have food and drinks served in two different ways: waiters passing around with flutes of Prosecco and canapés and buffet tables where guests can help themselves.

At the buffet tables you would have typical Italian cured meats and cheeses, such as Parma ham cut at the moment and buffalo mozzarella as well as finger food, such as small bruschettas, mini aubergine parmigianas, fried food including the must try courgette blossoms filled with mozzarella cheese and anchovies…

As for drinks, the cocktail hour usually includes Prosecco, wine and juices; and sometimes popular Italian cocktails such as Spritz (Aperol and Prosecco), Bellini (Prosecco and peach juice) or Rossini (Prosecco and strawberry juice). You will hardly find beer included, as it’s not so common here at weddings, but you can of course ask for it and add it to the cocktail hour package.

The cocktail hour can be extremely rich and more than once guests thought that was the actual wedding dinner!

Wedding reception welcome cocktail food and drinks

Wedding reception cocktail hour: music

Music is a must during the wedding reception cocktail hour! It should not be too loud, but definitely entertaining. So you could opt for a swing band, or simply have classic musicians playing modern tunes. A singer is also always a good idea.

To save some money, you can opt for a DJ instead who will also play for the rest of the wedding reception.

Whichever type of music you’ll have for the cocktail hour, don’t forget to choose a special song for your first entrance as Mr & Mrs. This will announce the guests your arrival at the wedding reception after your photoshoot around Rome and will give the chance for a first wedding toast.

Wedding reception welcome cocktail music

The cocktail hour will set the mood for the whole wedding reception, so make it fun, entertaining and full of typical Italian delicacies, which is probably what your guests are waiting for at a destination wedding in Rome. It’ll be a pleasure for Dolce Vita Weddings to help you create the perfect cocktail hour and choose the best possible catering company which will of course prove fundamental for the success of the wedding reception cocktail hour.

Stay tuned to know more about the typical Italian wedding reception and to have tips and ideas for your cocktail hour in my next blogs!