After you’ve exchanged vows and have been officially declared husband and wife, it’s time to make your triumphant entrance into the reception for your celebration. As you revel in updating your Facebook status to “married,” the last thing you want to worry about is whether your guests are enjoying the food and drinks. We’ve shared tips on how to plan your catering, so here’s what you should consider as you organize the bar details for your reception.
What type of service do you want to offer?
Planning the bar takes some thought, and it’s not the same as having a few friends over for cocktails. First, consider the service options – do you want to offer a full open bar? All-you-can-drink for a pre-defined period of time? Free beer and wine for a couple hours, then an open bar later in the evening? Review your guest list and decide what would make the most sense, given the crowd that will be attending.
Keep it simple.
Remind yourself that it’s a reception, not a neighborhood bar. Don’t feel obligated to have a large, extensive drink list. Your family and friends are gathered to celebrate your union, so having a few key options is more than sufficient. Make sure to include the basic spirits (vodka, gin, tequila, rum and whiskey) as well as mixers. (Hint: if you’re on a tighter budget but don’t want to forgo your favorite quality brands, look for deals, sales and check out memberships programs for liquor discounts.)
Create custom-themed cocktails.
Have fun with customized cocktails. Brainstorm ideas for a “his” and “her” beverage, and serve them in different types of glassware. Share the recipes on your wedding website, or on cards at the bar. Let your personalities shine through! Your guests will enjoy the personalized touch.
Provide alternatives to hard liquor.
It doesn’t have to be all about the liquor! Think: microbrews, wine and champagne. Are there local breweries that have a really great seasonal ale? Are there any amazing wines you’ve tried? (Remember: more expensive wine doesn’t necessarily mean better quality! Choose types based on taste, not price.) For an additional piece of wedding flare, look into personalized wine labels!
Make sure non-alcoholic drinks are readily available.
Have pitchers of water ready to serve at all times. Dancing for hours at a time requires major hydration so make it easy for guests to take a water break. Sparkling water is a great fizzy alternative for champagne, and creating a “mocktail” is a fun nonalcoholic beverage option. Or consider a multilayered liquor-free punch that’s both tasty and beautiful!