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Cheers to a New Year

At Goodnestone Park, we believe that a cocktail hour shouldn’t be enjoyed only in your favourite bars.

We love to mix it up and incorporate a cocktail hour in your wedding event. Swirl cultures together by featuring (the traditionally American) cocktail hour against the quintessentially-British backdrop of Goodnestone Park, the perfect Kent wedding venue.

Rules - Group of Cocktails_-5

Why should I have a cocktail hour at our wedding?


If you’re wondering whether or not to host a cocktail hour at your wedding event, you’ll first want to consider your guests. How to entertain guests at a wedding is one of the most common worries couples have when planning their wedding, especially when there’s a whole weekend of entertainment to be planned and organised. When it comes to wedding entertainment, we always recommend putting yourselves into the shoes of your guests. Moments of downtime can be much appreciated during busy wedding events but leaving your guests to their own devices for too long can lead to them knocking on your door asking what’s happening next.


It’s also helpful to consider the tastes of your guests. While you can’t be expected to cater for Uncle Bill’s preference for gin and keep in mind that Aunty Fran can’t stand sour cocktails, mixing up the drinks menu can go a long way to appease guests. For some, drinking wine and prosecco or champagne all weekend can be a bit much; offering different signature cocktails can be a great way to add variety to your beverage selection.

Cocktails can also enhance the feel of your wedding. Getting married in the heat of summer? You might wish to offer light, fresh flavours. If your wedding is planned for the middle of winter, warming, spiced cocktails can help your guests brush off the outside chill. Fancy adding a personal touch? Rename our recommended cocktails (keep reading!) or suggest your own poisons with names unique to your special day.

Cocktail hours are also one of 2023’s top wedding trends… if you’re into that kind of thing.

What might a cocktail hour at our wedding look like?

The Goodnestone cocktail hour falls 90 minutes after the ceremony and before the wedding breakfast. During this time, guests can sip a delectable drink, mingle and take in the stunning scenery of Goodnestone Park.

If you’d prefer not to have cocktails at the wedding, you could choose a more personalised cocktail service in Goodnestone House the night before the wedding, as part of your wedding weekend. For many couples, all the focus is on The Big Day – of course it is; it’s your dream wedding you’ve been planning for ages. Although this sometimes means that couples feel at a loss with how to entertain guests the night before and the day after. Hosting a cocktail hour on the evening prior to your wedding solves that problem. And we have delicious non-alcoholic mocktails available, too!

Our House Manager Ronnie is a trained mixologist and can put together a skilled team to help you choose the cocktails to serve guests. Equipped with tools for cocktail flare and decorations, including a Goodnestone cocktail hour at your wedding is hassle-free. 

What drinks should we serve during our wedding cocktail hour?

Did you know that Goodnestone inspired Jane Austen’s nineteenth-century masterpiece Pride and Prejudice? We thought it only fitting to honour this connection by sharing our favourite Jane Austen-inspired cocktails. So read on to whet your appetite and get your tastebuds tingling.

Gin Austen

You may not be surprised to learn that our speciality cocktail is the Gin Austen. A real hit with Goodnestone guests, this gin-based cocktail is strong and attractive; possessing enough sweetness and just the right amount of acidity. Celebrate the author and her gift of incredible stories.


5 sage leaves

½ ounce lemon juice

2 ounces gin

2 ounces Lillet rosé

1 dash orange bitters

In a mixing glass, muddle 4 sage leaves with the lemon juice. Add the gin, Lillet rosé, bitters and ice. Stir well and strain into a coupe. Garnish with the remaining sage leaf and settle into your favourite Jane Austen novel.


Cousin Collins

A drink for when there seem too many options. After Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth rejects Cousin Collins’s marriage proposal, marriage-obsessed Mrs Bennet begins spiralling. We reckon a stiff Cousin Collins might have levelled her buzzing head…


1½ ounces gin

1 ounce limoncello

½ ounce lemon juice

club soda

lemon for garnish

In a shaker filled with ice, pour gin, limoncello, simple syrup and lemon juice. Shake well. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice and top with club soda. Garnish with a lemon wheel and reconsider your options. Variation: For a fruitier version of this drink, substitute 1 ounce of Black Trumpet Blueberry Cordial and 1 ounce of St. Germain for the limoncello and simple syrup.


Salt & Pemberley

A cocktail sure to sweeten even the most miserable of guests. Elizabeth initially believes Mr Darcy to be cold and unkind, yet after a tour of Mr Darcy’s grand estate, Elizabeth has a change of heart and entertains the idea of becoming the mistress of the house.



1 ounce Aperol

1 ounce bourbon

2 ounces grapefruit juice

sparkling wine

grapefruit for garnish

Rim a coupe with salt and set aside. In a shaker filled with ice, pour the Aperol, bourbon and grapefruit juice and shake well. Strain the cocktail into the prepared coupe and top it with sparkling wine. Garnish with a grapefruit slice and never judge a gentleman without first seeking the opinion of his housekeeper.


How do we include a cocktail hour in our wedding?

We’re so excited you want to embed a cocktail hour into your wedding weekend! The next steps are really easy. When you book your wedding at the gorgeous Kent wedding venue Goodnestone Park, let us know you’re interested in hosting a cocktail hour. When we transfer the planning to our dedicated, experienced wedding planners The Wedding Dolls, they’ll take you through everything you need to make your wedding cocktail hour a reality.

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