You're inevitably going to be faced with some tough decisions during the wedding planning process. You'll be forced to ask yourself, what's most important? Where are you going to spend your budget? What do you HAVE to have as a part of your day?
Things like a choosing a venue, hiring a photographer, and sending invitations are a no-brainer... but what about some of the more discretionary choices?
At some point around the time you choose a caterer and start planning your menu, you'll need to decide what kind of bar you want to provide for your guests. But not to worry, there are a lot of options, and I'm laying them out for you here!
A Full Bar
If you want to go all out, this is for you. A full, open bar is (obviously) the most expensive bar for you to provide, but it also gives your guests the most options.
A traditional full bar will likely include vodka, gin, spiced rum, light rum, scotch, bourbon, Seagram's 7, tequila, white wine, red wine, sparkling wine and/or champagne, both domestic and imported beers, soda, juice, and of course water. Because of the options, your bartender will be able to create a variety of drinks to appeal to nearly any guest's taste
You'll definitely want to hire at least one bartender if you're providing a full bar (your venue may even require it!), and it's a good idea to have at least one bartender for every 100 guests.* When you hire a full bar service, things like cups, napkins, stirrers and any other necessary bar accoutrements, set-up and clean-up should be included (but always double check with your provider!).
And don’t forget to tip your bartenders! (if gratuity isn't already included in your bill)
Wondering just how much you'll need to stock the bar? Check out this wedding alcohol calculator from A Practical Wedding to help you figure out just how much you'll need to accommodate your guest list.
A Limited Bar
Depending on your budget, an open bar may not be feasible for you. But not to worry, there is a middle ground between full, open bar, and dry wedding.
Due to the high cost of alcohol and a full bar service, many couples are opting for a slightly different option. That is, providing just beer and wine for their guests. This option will likely still require a bartender to serve, but can be a more cost-effective way to provide alcoholic drink options to your guests.
Want to make your beer and wine bar more unique?
Enter... the signature cocktail. What the heck is it? It's a drink that you and your soon-to-be hubs craft together with your bar staff that gives your guests another option... without killing your budget.
Why should you consider adding a signature cocktail?
First, it's FUN! You can craft a cocktail that matches your wedding colors, or is named to fit your theme. Second, it can be created in batches. This is especially helpful to your bar staff if you have a lot of guests at your wedding... it will help reduce the time that your guests spend waiting for drinks at the bar and let them get back to shakin' it on the dance floor!
Signature cocktails are super trendy right now, and there are a TON of options out there. Check out these signature cocktail ideas from The Knot, and these from Martha Stewart Weddings.
Non-Alcoholic Bar Options
A bar doesn't have to be full of alcoholic drinks to be fun! You could choose to incorporate other unique bar and drink stations into your reception to delight your guests.
Infused Water Bar – As your wedding favor, give your guests a fun, wedding themed infuser bottle and then let them choose from a variety of fruits, veggies and other flavors to give them a different twist on plain old H2O.
Mocktail Bar – Just because you're not offering alcoholic cocktails, doesn't mean you can't still provide your guests with fun and fancy mocktails! Check out these options from Offbeat Bride.
Afternoon Tea – In lieu of the traditional cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception, host an afternoon tea for your guests, complete with a hot and iced tea station and finger foods.
Coffee Bar – This trend has been really popular in recent years! Ask a local coffee shop to set up a bar at your wedding to offer coffees, cappachinos, lattes, and your fave double mocha half caf extra foam something something... anyway, this bar pairs perfectly with dessert!
You could create a smoothie bar, a juice bar, a soda bar, a milkshake bar... The options are endless.
Whatever option you choose, full bar, limited bar, or non-alcoholic bar... the most important thing is that you have FUN with it!
And, of course, if you do choose to indulge and let your guests indulge, always plan appropriate transportation so that everyone arrives home safely!
About the blog
My name is Emily, and I'm a graphic designer. Jesus is my main man, and life is beautiful and amazing. This blog is going to be mini get-away throughout the week, my personal diary--filled with things I like, things I feel, things that are pretty, inspire me, or give me hope. If ya don't like it, that's really ok! If ya do, welcome!!
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