The cocktail hour can be one of the best parts of the wedding, if you ask me. All the pressure from the ceremony is off, and you can just drink, nosh, and socialize. It’s also a great time to play your favorite music, as you don’t have to worry about whether or not guests will dance to it, or if it’s going to put them to sleep.
Originally I thought about having a cocktail hour band, but I couldn’t find what I was looking for: A great blues band that could play all the Mississippi/Chicago blues I loved. Being in Miami, it was hard to find a band that fit this description that wasn’t super cheesy. So I just decided to make my own cocktail hour mix (which the DJ played). That mix also doubled as our wedding favors for guests. We had our mix duplicated onto 100 CD’s (if you have the resources and the time, I suggest making your own at home. The quality is pretty much the same, and it eliminates the awkward conversation with the CD duplication place about whether or not you “own” the copyright to the music. I clearly didn’t, but because we weren’t using these for re-sale, the place let us make them anyway…which is something you should point out if you do have them made professionally.) It cost us $150 to have the CD’s made, and they were able to put our names and wedding date on each.
Instead of using plastic jewel cases, I ordered recycled CD sleeves from a company called ReBinder that ended up costing around $30. I also ordered CD labels from them to go on the back of the sleeves, and printed the track list on each. TIP: Order more than you need of these. It took about 10 screwed up label sheets until we could get the alignment somewhat correct. Those cost around $30, not including shipping. So all in our favors cost us around $220
To decorate the front of them, I bought a birds and nests rubber stamp set on Amazon, and stamped a bird on each (birds were a recurring theme in our wedding). We placed them near the exit alongside a sign that said “Please Take One” so guests’ could grab one on the way out.
Martha Stewart Weddings has some good cocktail hour drink ideas and other helpful tips here. The playlist I made for our cocktail hour is below.