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Tips for Receptions and Private Events: Drink & Be Merry?

When planning whether or not to have a bar at your event, think about your guests, the venue, and your budget. We’ve put together a few options that brides and hosts at our venue have considered.

The Open Bar

Your guests will love you, but be prepared. With an “open” bar, guests can order as many drinks as the bar tender can serve. The event manager will work with you to estimate the cost. This is a fine option for generous hosts who don’t want to limit their guests. If an open bar is very important to you, it’s okay to save on other parts of the wedding in order to make it happen. However, you’ll need to work with your coordinator to be sure they have enough supplies to fit your needs.

The Limited Bar

This serving option can save you some money and allow you to regulate your guests a bit more without asking them to pay. With a limited bar, you and your venue coordinator would decide on a predetermined quantity of alcohol, normally beer, wine, and simple mixed drinks. Be sure to find out what type of alcohol your venue’s liquor license will allow. Then you set your own consumption times, such as during cocktail hour and one hour after dinner. To make things run more smoothly, you can even hire waiters (for an extra cost) to circulate and pass out drinks in order to reduce long lines at the bar.

The Self-Serve Bar

Aside from an open bar, this is your guest’s second favorite. Basically, it’s just like any other party you’ve ever been to. You leave out the drinks and let guests fill up their own. This option is a great compromise between the open bar and the limited bar. Use simple drinks like beer and wine and leave them out in their designated areas. A small wine table will do just fine, where guests can grab a fancy glass and fill it up. Set up coolers around the perimeter that house well known beers or for a classier look, beer troughs will do just fine. There are no time limits and everybody can drink until the last song plays.

The Cash Bar

This option is wonderful for private events. We don't recommend it for wedding receptions, at all. Private events can utilize cash bars when in mixed company. Birthday Dinner Parties and casual Corporate Parties are ideal because it allows every person to decide to relax for a little bit or go for some sodas or water. The host doesn't really need to cover those costs.

The Dry House

If your guests don’t really drink alcohol, then feel free to skip it altogether. This option is perfectly acceptable. Just be sure to be stocked with a lot of water, sodas, and maybe a little champagne for the wedding party to make a toast. In the end, this option will save you the most money.

No matter which way you choose to serve the beverages at your wedding reception, we have no doubt that it will be one of those receptions that will give you a reason to watch your wedding reception video over and over again!