Wedding Ideas

Wedding Bar Basics, Trends and Signature Drinks

Posted on July 07 by New Jersey Bride

Ok ladies, don’t leave the bar planning to the boys. Planning the perfect drink menu is one of those little details that often gets left till the end and rarely gets the attention it deserves. What’s to drink is just as important as all the other wedding day details like the flowers, invitations and decor. It’s the perfect place to infuse a personal touch into your wedding and create a memorable experience for your guests.

Bar Basics

First things first, find out what is included in your catering package. There is typically a basic bar with optional upgrades. If you are getting married at an off premise venue where the food and alcohol vendors are separate, there is a whole different set of rules. While your caterer may assist you in placing your order, you are responsible for coordinating with the liquor vendor and handling the payments. Either way, here is what you need to know.

1.) Will wine be served during dinner? This eliminates the need for guests to get up and head to the bar in the middle of their meal and is typically the choice for more formal affairs. It also requires more glassware and the need for more wait staff an often results in increased wine consumption.

2.) While Wine and Beer are a given, what other options to you have? Terms like “top shelf” or “includes a basic bar” don’t help me when it comes to ordering a drink! A drink menu is a must. Make it easy for you guests by listing out popular drink options or a signature drink rather then have them staring at the bottles and trying to figure out what to order.  If your on a budget, beer, wine and a signature drink should keep everyone happy!

3.) Make sure you provide your venue or caterer with a complete list of the drinks you want to serve along with the recipes, mixers and garnishes and any other necessities like blenders, pitchers, decanters and utensils. This detail is often overlooked and  a Mojito without the mint just won’t do. Also review  whether or not you want your feature drinks served all night or cocktail hour only. By only serving them during cocktails, you can cut costS.  If they will be available all night long, make sure enough product is ordered to last for the entire event. For off premise events, any unopened wine, beer or alcohol may be returned.

4.) Glassware is another detail you will want to inquire about. Your feature drinks may require specialty glassware and straws. You will also want to review the number of glasses your venue or caterer is providing. I have seen many a martini served in a rocks glass. If you are on a budget, opt for a universal glass like a mason jar to cut costs and eliminate the need for various types of glassware.  Also consider if you want to do a champagne toast or just have guest toast with whatever they are currently drinking.

5.) Last but not least, your bar should be a reflection of your personal taste and style! Forget trying to please everyone and do what works best for you. Your cocktail selections should tie into your theme, decor, venue and season. Stylish drink menus, coasters, straws and cocktail napkins add to the vibe and overall experience of your wedding. A featured drink display upon arrival or self serve refreshment bar at the ceremony are a great way to create a wow moment.

What To Serve

Planning the perfect bar menu can be overwhelming. For a formal wedding, a bevy of liquors and an assortment of wines takes precedence over a varied beer selection. For a less formal affair, a red, a white and 2 or 3 beer options will do. A signature drink is always a good idea, because if you’re like me, I always opt for the fun mixed drink. You can have one signature drink or a few! Schedule a luncheon with your bridesmaids to do a taste test the wines, beers and feature drinks!

Here’s What I’m Loving This Season~ 

  • Pre Ceremony Refreshments Station ~ Whether it’s an infused water station upon guest arrival or a butler passed champagne cocktail to greet guests, a welcome drink is always appreciated by guests. Refreshment stations also add to your decor and create a vignette for  you to display other important details like the ceremony program.
  • Self Serve Drink Station ~ As soon as those doors open for cocktail hour there is a mad rush to the bar! Alleviate some of that pressure and those lines by staging a featured drink station display or Beer Garden. Guests can grab a drink and go!  A stunningly styled drink display also adds to the decor and wow factor of your event. A Non – alcoholic beverage station is also a great idea. Guests who want a water or some pop can skip the lines.
  • Themed Drink Stations ~ Just like the cocktail hour food stations, create drink stations or multiple mini bars! Each station can represent a feature drink from a place you visited or that represents a story or meaningful event in your relationship. This is a great place to display photos of your travels and adventures with printed stories for guests to enjoy! You can also feature popular drinks from your parents weddings or era.
  • Butler Passed Drinks ~ Forget the shots! Wow your guests with wait staff serving up swanky mini cocktail shooters throughout the evening! This idea is even sweeter for dessert, caramel apple martini shooter, yes please!!!
  • Dinner Flights ~ Impress your guests by offering wine and beer flights at dinner. Allow them to sample a bevy of local beers and taste test a variety of wines with their dinner. This is a first class experience your guests are sure to remember!

 

~ By Kristin Rockhill 

Styling: Kristin Rockhill 


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