15 Tips for Planning the Bar... at your Wedding

Not too long ago I discussed these wedding tips during a Twitter party with BevMo. But my recent conversation with a dear friend about her wedding this Fall made me remember how much planning goes into a wedding, and many important decisions must be made about the big, non-refundable day. I of course think the bar is the most important part of a wedding, and most guests would probably agree. ;) 

1. Don't just plan for enough alcohol; plan for more than enough. For most parties you would bank on each guest enjoying two cocktails over the course of an evening. Because people tend to be at weddings longer, prepare for each guest to have 3-4 drinks. You don't want the bar to run dry.

2. If you are on a budget, don't forgo your favorite quality brands. Instead, look for great deals and sales, and join membership programs for a larger discount at the register.

3. Unless your wedding site is permitted to only serve beer and wine, always include the basic spirits at your wedding's bar. Vodka, gin, tequila, rum and whiskey are a must. Or be able to offer several cocktails built around one spirit or signature cocktail.

4. A cash bar at a wedding is usually frowned upon. If you are truly concerned about the bar bill, consider picking up the tab for a set time period. Treat your guests to wine, beer, and cocktails during the reception and dinner, and then switch to a no-host bar after dinner is served.

5. Don't shy away from offering premium spirits at your wedding. You may be surprised to learn that the cost per person doesn't vary as much as you would think when serving premium brands instead of the bottom shelf.

6. Create a custom cocktail for your event that your friends will enjoy and include the recipe on your wedding website or on cards at the bar. Ask us if you need help with this!

7. Be strategic about where you have your bar set up. Make sure that the bartender doesn't have too far to go to restock glasses, ice, or spirits. You don't want your guests standing around for a drink.

8. If you would like a self-serve area of the bar, opt for a covered beverage dispenser instead of open pitchers or punch bowls.

9. Think about including a non-alcoholic option other than soda or water, like a sparkling juice or a mocktail. 

10. If you are leaving wine bottles on the tables for people to self serve, uncork them ahead of time to avoid any accidents or injuries.

11. Hire a professional bartender. Don't leave it up to Uncle Joey to wing it behind the bar. Free help doesn't necessarily mean better help.

12. Check with the catering company to find out if they will be staffing your bar with trained bartenders or waiters acting as bartenders, or actors acting as bartenders.

13. Decide ahead of time what kind of glassware you will need. If you have your heart set on a certain style of wine or cocktail glass, you won't be able to make that happen at the last minute.

14. Be vocal about what you do and don't want on your bar's counter. Is a tip jar acceptable? Cocktail straws? The bartender's business card? Don't wait to find out about what was solicited when you get your wedding photos.

15. Demand that a pitcher of water is ready to serve your guests at all times, especially as the night wares on. Dancing the night away requires some serious hydration, and vodka just ain't the same as water.

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