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Cocktail Weddings
The Latest Trend

From waddling swans to champagne-filled swimming pools and a small army of bridesmaids, some may argue that modern weddings have gone over the top. And clocking in at a cool $27,852 according to the Conde Nast Bridal Group, they’re not only effusive, they’re expensive.

If you’re a bride who favors simple elegance over grand affairs, read on as Brides.com outlines a hot new industry trend: cocktail weddings.

1) After-work Affair.

Cocktail weddings are a direct result of the increasing popularity of Friday night nuptials. Emerging as the polar opposite of the destination wedding, the Friday night fete provides minimal inconvenience to guests (no tickets to Tahiti needed!) while allowing the happy couple to score great deals on food and flowers and first crack at prime locations.

Your guests won’t mind cutting the workday short when they’re munching upgraded caviar at a coveted country club. Best of all, a Friday night wedding means a whole glorious weekend to recover. To the modern couple-older, more career driven-that’s a recipe for bridal bliss.

2) Just a Shot of Ceremony.

Cocktail weddings like their ceremonies like their shots: quick, potent and powerful. Consider trading an hour-long church sermon for a speedy service by a justice of the peace, then off to partying.

Lest you think of your ceremony as a mere happy hour of vows, view it as the ultimate opportunity for personalization: a close friend to officiate and self-written vows add special sweetness to a short ceremony.

3) Cosmopolitan Attire.

A cocktail wedding is more cufflinks and couture, less crinoline and cummerbunds. Always chic and never corny, an intimate cocktail wedding call for sleek mermaid gowns and sheaths, so avoid the urge to dress like a silken snowball lest you asyphixiate all whom you embrace. Encourage your guests to emulate a similar dress code, erring towards stylish-fancy versus stiff-formal.

4) Signature Sweets.

A trendy bar reception is no place for a towering wedding cake. For stylish sweets ideas, check out Brides.com’s “Food and Drink” Gallery for ideas like individual orange soufflés, chocolate dipped rose petals, or coconut covered ice cream balls.

Rather than having a professional photographer take those traditional cake-feeding shots, hand out disposable cameras as wedding favors and let guests have a blast snapping pictures of you and your spouse feeding each other rose petals or spooning orange souflee into each other’s mouths. These priceless pictures will earn a prominent place in wedding photo albums, and in the memories of all your guests.

5) A Top-Shelf Reception.

After all, what’s a cocktail wedding without the cocktails? Since you’ve saved money by choosing a less-competitive date and a casual ceremony, now’s the time to splash out and show your guests a good time. Brides.com’s “Cool Cocktails” Gallery offers original concoctions like the “Honey I Dew” and “Bridal Bouquet,” not to mention a great cheat sheet on champagne at any budget.

Don’t be afraid to get creative when brewing up your dream reception: A tapas bar, to-die-for swing band, and signature espresso martini are all surefire ways to create a wedding memory that will last long after the hangover has worn off.

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