Alcohol is often the stuff stories are made of. It can inspire game-changing wedding toasts and encourage a few crazy friends to dance with abandon during the reception. You may have heard that every story worth telling starts with the phrase, “Hold my drink and watch this!” Well you may or may not want your special day to be filled with those kinds of stories.
When planning whether or not to have a bar at your wedding reception, think about your guests, the venue, your budget, and the kind of atmosphere you want your event to have. We’ve put together a few options that brides at our venue have considered.
The Open Bar
Your wedding reception guests will love you, but your bank account might not. With an “open” bar, guests can order as many drinks as the bar tender can serve, and you’ll pick up the tab when the party is over. 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 venue 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 wedding 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
Don’t even think about it. We even hate to put this option on here. The only reason you should ever think about this option is to … wait a second there is no reason! Don’t do it. This would be like inviting someone over to your house and making them buy the dinner you cooked for them. This option is tacky and should never be considered. This is a sure fire way to be sent into social Siberia.
The Dry House
If your friends and family 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!