There are hundreds of people that attend weddings every single weekend. They put on their best clothes, strap on their dancing shoes, and come together to celebrate you. And while the majority of your guests will be in the background of a lot of your photos, there are two guests in particular that are total camera hams (when they’re invited).

They also have a bit of a soft spot in our hearts.

Meet June. Her other half, Johnny, isn’t pictured but trust us when we say he’s pretty great, too.

Confused yet?

Beer Burros have become a bit of a southern wedding hit in recent years and we are totally here for it. We’ve seen a lot of animals crash a bride and groom’s wedding portraits – from personal pups to loveable llamas – but Johnny and June are two of our favorites because they’re exclusive to The Chandelier of Gruene.  We love the addition of donkeys to cocktail hour because not only do they make for super fun pictures, but guests also love them.

Time and time again, we’re told by couples that one of the most important aspects of their wedding is the guest experience. They want their guests to come to the wedding and leave with the memory that it was the best wedding they’ve been to. And, while the overall guest experience is something that takes place throughout the night, the cocktail hour is one of the first things that sets the tone for the rest of the wedding. The ceremony is all about you as a couple. The cocktail hour, on the other hand, is all about entertaining your guests. So whether you want to incorporate 2 additional four-legged guests or create custom cocktails that are inspired by your favorite drink, here are some creative ideas to add to your cocktail hour to help ensure that your guests get that “best wedding ever” experience.

Bring out the Burros

Whether they serve beer, water, or are just around for a quick photo op and carrot feeding, donkeys are a unique addition to your cocktail hour that a lot of guests have never experienced before. As an added bonus, if you have a bunch of people attending that may not know each other, they’re an easy icebreaker for your guests to gravitate towards. And, above all else, they’re just straight up cute.

Get some Games

One of the easiest ways to up the experience for your guests is to incorporate yard games. You can go big with giant jenga, corn hole, and ring tosses, or choose tabletop options like tic-tac-toe, four in row, and get-to-know-you cards. A lot of times yard games are available for rent, but purchasing them is an option to get more bang for your buck. You’ll get to fill up your own game closet whenever people come to visit you long after the wedding is over and have a reminder of your wedding day every time you play.

Create a Cocktail

Custom cocktails are one of the most popular options for wedding days, and with good reason. People are already going to be getting a drink, so why not treat them to one of your favorites or one inspired by you as a couple? A custom cocktail also gives you the opportunity to personalize a sign, which looks great in photographs and can be used as bar decor after the wedding. Let people know why *that* drink is the one you chose to highlight.

Enjoy an Interactive Experience

Rather than the typical passed hors d’oeuvre, drink line, and chit-chat, you can mix up your cocktail hour experience by providing your guests with an interactive experience. Build your own flower crowns, make your own cocktail or appetizer stations, roasting s’mores, having a popsicle cart for guests to order from, and serving beer flights are all ways to change up the typical experience to make it more memorable for your guests.

Personalize the Products

Cups, koozies, and napkins with your names, monogram, or wedding style on them are always noticed. We’ve talked before about why we love them, but most guests actually take note of the time you’ve spent planning little details and appreciate how much love is put into your day. You can use the leftovers after the wedding, but little touches like personalized products during cocktail hour let your guests know that you’ve thought about what they would use during the wedding and as a favor.

Keep Comfort in Mind

Far and above, one of the most impactful things you can add to your cocktail hour are seating areas where you create a little vignette of your wedding style with comfortable rental furniture and unique touches. We LOVE them because they are also great to take photos at during portraits before the ceremony. They’re comfortable for your guests and give them a space to gather during cocktail hour, but they can also be a place for guests to escape to if they need a break from the dance floor late into the night.

Pick a Photo Spot

A lot of guests take advantage of being dressed up at a wedding to take a photo of their own. Whether you create a formal photo booth opportunity, have life-sized cutouts of the bride and groom for guests to pose with, or have a polaroid photo station where guests can get their own photo and fill up your guest book, the options are limitless. Having a spot where your guests can take photos ensures that they’re leaving with a memory to look back on.

Enhance the Environment 

While we personally think the cocktail hour spaces at The Chandelier are awesome, there are some ways that you can bring even more to the spaces. Underneath the oak tree canopies, you can enhance the cocktail hour spaces by bringing in some fun ideas that add your personality. Whether it’s incorporating Sipsy from Bartenders4You to serve drinks, hiring a live musician or creating a specific playlist with your DJ, or bringing in floral and tablecloths to give a hint about the design waiting for them inside, think about how you can make the cocktail hour space unique to you. Remember, this is the kickoff to the rest of your wedding day celebration for your guests.

So, while the wedding day is all about you and officially tying the knot, a lot of wedding planning tends to revolve around creating the best experience. Weddings are supposed to be fun. We know the planning can sometimes feel more stressful than anything else, but one of the best ways to minimize the stress that you might feel is to focus on the joy instead. Instead of getting stressed about what still needs to be planned, get excited about how much your guests will enjoy it. Instead of stressing about the perfect shade of [insert wedding color here], feel happy about the fact that your guests will love the color because they’re going to be having too much fun to notice if the shade is slightly different. And, if all else fails, just scroll through Johnny and June’s instagram @borrachoburros – we know their cute faces will lighten your mood.