For most guests, cocktail hour is the best part of the night. After all, it's the kickoff to the celebration and a chance to sample a wide variety of food and drink while mingling with friends. And if you're marrying during the summer, you'll want your cocktail hour menu to reflect the season, and what could be more fitting than loads of fresh, chilled seafood paired with ice-cold cocktails? Here are some of our favorite cocktail-hour seafood stations.
Raw Bar (above): At this couple's wedding, held at The Biltmore in Santa Barbara, guests enjoyed a stunning view of the ocean while enjoying a raw bar, with all the seafood offerings displayed on ice in elegant footed bowls.
Photo: Liz Banfield
Shrimp Cocktail: What could be more perfect on a warm summer day than ice-cold cocktails and an endless fountain of chilled shrimp cocktail with all the fixings?
Photo: Christian Oth Studio
Sushi: Wow your guests with a delicious spread of assorted freshly made sushi during cocktail hour.
Photo: Laurel McConnell Photography
Oyster Bar: Oysters are a crowd favorite, so have your caterer set up an oyster bar complete with just-shucked oysters, lemon and lime slices, and bowls of mignonette sauce.
Photo: Jen Fariello Photography
Ice Sculpture Raw Bar: If you want some serious "wow" factor for your cocktail hour, display seafood offerings like cracked crab legs and oysters in a fabulous ice sculpture.
Photo: Erin McGinn Photography
Baskets & Pails: Or, for something more casual and low-key, repurpose an old wooden boat and turn it into a self-serve raw bar, stocked with shrimp, littleneck clams, oysters, and all the accoutrements.