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Cocktail Hour Weddings with Lisa O’Brien at Bride Magazine

May 18, 2016

by Lisa O'Brien handmade and vintage goods

Lisa joined the Bride team in January 2015 so she finally had a legitimate excuse to stalk beautiful weddings on Pinterest and Instagram all day long. Before that, she was deputy editor of iconic Australian magazines Cleo and Dolly, and has also worked for The Sydney Morning Herald, Time Out Sydney and Travelzoo Australia. If she could, she’d have rose gold everything and a Beyoncé playlist on repeat 24/7.

As we get ready to send the June issue of Bride to the printers this week, I can’t stop obsessing over all the beautiful real-life weddings in the magazine (when I should really be looking for typos and signing off proofs!)

One of my favourites is Alice and Michael’s, who held their reception in the courtyard of  Melbourne’s Immigration Museum. In the words of my art director when he was laying out the pages, “That looks like it was a bloody good wedding!”

Not only was it bright and fun, with brilliant pops of colour, plenty of personal touches and an epic dance floor, but it was also a cocktail wedding. There’s something about a cocktail wedding that really amps up the party vibe – instead of being stuck next to a random stranger for an entire three-course meal (and speeches), you can mingle with other guests, grab a drink whenever you feel like it and hit the d-floor as soon as “Uptown Funk” comes on.

It also opens up a world of possibilities for your styling. Without long or round tables taking up the whole room, you can fill your venue with side tables, benches and bar stools to create a more relaxed space. For an industrial chic wedding, I love these awesome exposed stone and polished concrete side tables from Kyash Cubes:



And tripod bar stools by ModCraftAustralia:


Thinking a Moroccan or Middle Eastern theme? Scatter some floor cushions like these beauties from KOSMOtapestry:


A cocktail wedding also opens up a range of fun food and beverage options. Serve your signature cocktail from a super-cute vintage bar cart like this one from GoldLabelVintage:


Or set up an awesome candy bar with a sign like this one from Papierscharmants:


You’ll also need plenty of napkins for canapés – I love this gold confetti print by lightandco:


The key to nailing a cocktail-style reception? Making sure you have enough food. Check that you (or your caterer) have got the quantities right so your guests don’t have to swing past McDonalds on the way home!

The other great thing about cocktail weddings is that with their more relaxed atmosphere, you don’t have to wear the big puffball dress if you don’t want to. Go for a boho style with this lace number from Graceloveslace:


Or, for a super on-trend look, rock this two-piece gown from CandiceLeeBridal:


Whatever your cocktail wedding may look like, the most important thing is to have FUN – oh, and to send your photos to Bride so I have some new weddings to obsess over!

[PLUG] The winter issue of Bride is on sale from June 13. Bride is also hosting their annual wedding event, Your Perfect Day, in Melbourne on June 25 and 26. Go to to snap up your tickets!

If you’re looking for more wedding inspiration you can visit our Editor’s Picks pages on Etsy.


  • mutable

    Helen said 3 years ago

    I enjoyed looking at this collection. Thank you

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    Pure Invites from PureInvites said 3 years ago

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    Tanya from TanyaToys said 3 years ago

    How beautiful!

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