Many brides and grooms find planning the cocktail hour to be one of the most challenging parts of wedding planning. Done correctly, the cocktail hour can be a fantastic bridge between the ceremony and the reception, setting the tone for a memorable evening. But, not planned properly, it can be a dead zone where guests stand around slightly uncomfortable and unsure of what to do next.

We asked some of our favorite wedding professionals for their top tips on how to have a fun cocktail hour.

Erin of  Wedding Music of the Upstate (Greenville, SC): Two words, location and length! Make a smooth transition between ceremony and reception and keep the cocktail hour to not more than an hour. This is a good place to display photos or have a photo presentation.

Jessica Valiente of Los Mas Valientes and 706 Music (Belleville, NJ): I did a wedding once where in addition to my trio, they hired an Elvis impersonator.

Linda Beers, Violinist (Avon, CT): I was once asked to play a Bach minuet, while the bride and groom walked up a large spiral staircase to the cocktail party. The guests all gathered around the top and had a unique view of the bride and groom. The bride's dress looked beautiful as she floated up the stairs.

Micheal Castaldo, Singer (New York, NY): Cocktail music should NOT be seen, and only slightly heard. Doing something flashy or out of the ordinary calls too much attention to it.

Jennie Eggleston, Harpist (Charlotte, NC): The harp carries the elegant atmosphere of the ceremony. Having your harpist play more energetic and modern music makes a good transition from the ceremony to the reception.

Ron from Cape & Island Entertainment (Cape Cod, MA): Because we're "singing DJS" we've been called on to provide thematic vocals during the cocktail hour (rat pack, 1950s, country, etc). This is a lot of fun and later for the reception you have more dance music. Other ideas given: Sword swallowing, one-man band, dancer, magician, juggler, palm reader, live art, caricaturist, contortionist, mime, peacock-stilt dancer, fire show. Check out our Variety Entertainment to find all of those entertainers, and more!

Are you looking for entertainment for your cocktail party or any other part of your wedding? Don't forget to search GigMasters!