I'm Lisa Kirk, a wife, mama, writer, and founder. Since 2010, Something Pretty has been home to my favorite memories, reflections, and inspirations. Thanks so much for reading!

Our Cocktail Hour

My Wedding

Even though Dave and I didn’t technically attend most of our cocktail hour, it was ironically one of my favorite parts of our wedding to plan! We loved the location–the courtyard outside of our reception venue barn–so we decided to keep the decor simple, focusing instead on the food, drinks, and atmosphere. That said, a few of my favorite details of the whole wedding showed up at cocktail hour: our watercolor welcome sign my friend Morgan made, a gorgeous calligraphy bar menu by Moya Minns (we kept our names and the date off of it, and now have it hanging up in our home above our bar cart!), and my dream escort card board. I have a weakness for classic calligraphy escort cards, and was in love with the way ours (also lettered by Moya) turned out!

While Dave and I did our portraits, our guests mingled and enjoyed our two passed appetizers (a mini BLT and a potato fritter with truffle creme fraîche), our bar options (we served white wine, red wine, four beers including three that were brewed in North Carolina, two signature cocktails, and raspberry citrus punch), our cheese table (my friend Natalie snapped a picture of it, here!), and the bluegrass playlist Dave had put together on Spotify. I was super inspired by the cocktail hour our friends Callie and Jamie had at their wedding, and we ended up following their format almost exactly. At the end of cocktail hour, my dad welcomed everyone to the celebration, and then announced us. Dave and I then stationed ourselves at the entrance of the barn to hug all of our family and friends as they made their way inside for dinner! I’m SO glad we did–we got to love on every single person, and then relax and enjoy our reception with them rather than worrying about who we hadn’t talked to yet. Receiving lines sound old school, but I highly recommend considering them :)

lisa and dave cocktail hour 1lisa and dave cocktail hour 2dave and lisa cocktail hour 3lisa and dave cocktail hour 4dave and lisa cocktail hour 5lisa and dave cocktail hour 6dave and lisa cocktail hour 7

Thank you so much for these special photos, Ryan Ray!!

More wedding posts:
Our Wedding Feature
Our Wedding Morning
Our First Look
Our Ceremony
Our Portraits






  1. Natalie says:

    Did you still announcement the entire wedding party? Or did you father just announcement David and yourself?

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Natalie! He just introduced Dave and I, and we did not do a wedding party introduction. We don’t particularly love wedding party introductions, so it was a tradition we didn’t mind skipping :)

      • Natalie says:

        Did you walk in somewhere? Or did you Dad get everyone attention at the cocktail hour? I never thought of how you didn’t have to do introductions!! This is a great idea!

      • Lisa says:

        At the end of cocktail hour, my dad got everyone’s attention for his mini toast, and then introduced us. We walked right into the cocktail hour patio area through all of our guests, which was so much fun! It worked out really well! :)

  2. Kelly says:

    Let me just say that your wedding looks beautiful! It is so great to see a traditional Catholic mass ceremony combined with a gorgeous Southern reception.

    Are you planning on doing a post with more details about your timeline? I’m curious how you worked the afternoon mass in with your reception. Did you have a hard time deciding between the early afternoon time slot and the evening time slot?

    The church (St. Mary’s in Austin) where we will probably get married (hopefully engaged soon!) has 2:00 and 7:00 time slots, and we’re leaning towards the 2:00 time. But our (mostly Protestant) friends here in Texas aren’t as used to the “Catholic gap” as college friends from the midwest. It sounds like y’all just started your reception earlier?

    Sorry for the long comment!

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Kelly! I LOVE St. Mary’s and used to attend from time to time when I went to UT! What a gorgeous church for a wedding! :)

      I’m not planning a post about our timeline but I’m happy to share a few details (in a very long comment, haha)! Our ceremony was at 2 (our only other option at our church was 11 AM), and it went till about 3:30. The drive from the ceremony to the reception was on the long side (about 40 minutes), so even though it was a bit inconvenient, it actually ended up helping our timeline a lot! Our cocktail hour officially started at 5, and by the time most people were done chatting outside the church, most people ended up at the venue pretty close to then. Our reception venue was also in a little “village” where there are lots of little things to see and explore, so if anyone arrived early, they were easily able to walk around. Our reception went from 6-10.

      These things were pretty specific to our venues, so I’m not sure how helpful they are, but one thing I would suggest that is a great option is to extend your cocktail hour a bit, maybe by adding lawn games, a fun food truck (I saw a wedding once with a coffee food truck at their cocktail hour, which I thought was so fun!), or whatever best suits your celebration. That way, people have the option to head over to your venue early if they want to. And honestly, I wouldn’t stress about it too much :) Your guests love you, and especially in a city like Austin, it’ll be easy for people to find something to do between the ceremony and reception if needed! Hope this helps :)

  3. India says:

    A receiving line sounds like a great idea! I always wonder if the bride and groom get to talk to everyone at the reception, this seems like a great way to do it!

  4. Dana says:

    Wish I had gotten there in time for the cheese plate!

  5. Mary says:

    Your cocktail hour was so nice. The weather was perfect too! :)

  6. […] More wedding posts: Our Wedding Feature Our Wedding Morning Our First Look Our Ceremony Our Portraits Our Cocktail Hour […]

  7. […] you know, we were “introduced” during cocktail hour and did a quick receiving line as people entered the reception. Dave and I did do a second […]

  8. […] wedding posts: Our Wedding Feature Our Wedding Morning Our First Look Our Ceremony Our Portraits Our Cocktail Hour Our Reception: Details Our […]


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