Image: Sayher Heffernan via Tara & Andrew’s Bespoke, Creative & Joyful Surprise Wedding

Cocktail hour or pre-dinner drinks, is the period of time between the ceremony and dinner. It essentially is the beginning of the reception portion of a wedding.

I am certain that most have heard the truism “you only get one opportunity to make a first impression”, yet many couples don’t realise the benefits that having a professional DJ during cocktail hour will make and sadly, often resort to a self-programmed playlist or asking a friend or relative to look after the soundtrack for this portion of their wedding.

Don’t Burden Family or Friends

Foremost, every couple wants their guests to relax and enjoy themselves on their special day. Asking a family member or friend to look after the music really places a huge responsibility on them. So instead of enjoying the celebration, they will most likely feel like they are on duty the entire time and may not be experienced to appreciate other factors which need to be considered in order to meet the couple’s wishes, which I will cover in the next two points.

Image: Emily Abay

Setting the Mood for the Reception

The cocktail hour is an opportunity to get the guests in the mood to celebrate your love. Think about it, your wedding guests are feeling wonderful after the ceremony and are looking forward to having a great time as they mix, mingle, reminisce and catch up with old friends, loved ones and even new acquaintances throughout the reception.

A DJ who is experienced in performing at weddings will ensure the right songs are played at the right time, building the energy to the appropriate upbeat level, whilst observing guest demographics and their body language, which will be different for everyone. Of course, it goes without saying that the cocktail hour music can be personalised to reflect the desires of the couple whilst still keeping it upbeat and inclusive of guest’s demographics.

In my experience, people’s moods tend to mirror the soundtrack. When upbeat music is played, guests will sing-a-long or mouth the words, tap their toes or sway to the music and it will subconsciously get them excited for the good time that will follow. Don’t believe me? Imagine only hearing ballads during cocktail hour or worse, if there was no music at all. What do you think the guest body language would be like?  What do you think their expectations would be for the rest of the celebration?

The Right Volume

A DJ will ensure that you have appropriate volume levels throughout the cocktail hour. As more guests arrive, the conversation level will increase incrementally, the volume should also. Not so as to compete with the conversation, but to ensure that the music can still be heard.

Image: Juddric Photography via Carly & Pete’s Rustic Queensland Hinterland Wedding

Choice of Location & Second Sound System

Some couples may wish to have their cocktail hour at a location that is far away enough from the reception location where a second sound system may be required. In addition, there may not be power available at that location. Most DJs are able to provide a second system, battery powered options or have a generator to accommodate the couple’s wishes – so cocktail hour by the lake at the other end of the property is not problematic. This also enables a seamless transition between the end of the cocktail hour and start of reception as there is no urgency to break down the system, shuffling as fast as possible for a reset at the reception location.

Unique Opportunities for The Couple

Think outside the square and get creative! Some suggestions I have made to couples in the past are;

  • the couple could join the guests at the beginning of cocktail hour and have the DJ facilitate the cutting of the cake, then proceed to have photographs taken. The wedding cake can then be served as ‘afternoon tea’ of sorts. This frees up some time during the reception and increases the likelihood that the cake is actually eaten by guests, or
  • the couple could join the guests towards the end of cocktail hour and have the DJ introduce their first dance. The wedding party could join them if the couple wished. This ends the cocktail hour on a high and once again frees up some time during the reception which be utilised for additional dancing.

Image: Michelle Jarni via Kate & Julian’s Elegant Rooftop Garden Party Wedding 

I hope that you now have a better appreciation of some of the benefits in having your DJ provide the entertainment for your cocktail hour. Allow your guests to relax and enjoy themselves and leave the details to a professional!

Ms Floral Says: You make such a convincing argument, Serge! Music is so, so important, as is allowing your guests to relax and enjoy themselves!

About DJ:Plus! Entertainment is a premium, boutique style, wedding DJ & wedding MC entertainment service, designed to offer creative planning to make a wedding so much more personal, engaging and meaningful, resulting in an original celebration that totally represents each couple and is heaps of FUN.

Based in Sydney, Australia, Wedding DJ, Wedding MC and Ceremony services are available in the Sydney Metropolitan Area, Southern Highlands, Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Illawarra, South Coast, Central Coast and other locations by arrangement.