Drinks. Alcohol. Soft drinks. Water. Wine. Tea. Coffee. Gin. Cocktails. Mocktails. Booze. Bubbly. Glass. Bottle. Keg. How do you know what you need and what are you meant to have at your wedding?!
Everyone loves a good drink and a lot of the time when talking with couples, the most exciting conversation is when we start discussing the drink at their wedding.
With so many different options and endless choices, where do you start? What do you make sure you have?
My first tip is to make sure you have what you like, if you prefer prosecco to champagne, have prosecco. If you like rosé then include a few bottles for the meal, if you really want a keg of your favourite local beer – get one!
Take into consideration where your ceremony is, the time of day and the weather. It is a lovely idea to want to have drinks before your ceremony for your guests but just make sure it is practical. Does your venue have a bar it could open or perhaps the church can open the adjoining hall and set up a small soft drinks section? Be careful to remember that alcohol is not allowed in a legal ceremony and just think about where guests may want to leave their glasses before going into the ceremony, there is nothing worse than a gorgeous photo of the two of you walking out of the ceremony and seeing a sea of empty champagne flutes!
After your ceremony, guests are usually offered a drink. My best advice is to do the confetti throw first, then go into one big group photo before you lose people and then offer drinks. This allows you to have beautiful photos without drinks in photos or the chance of spillages!
But what do you have at your drink’s reception? Anything you want! From the traditional champagne to your favourite cocktails, beer barrels to drinks stations where you make your own, there is no limit to the creativity here and you can make it as simple or as extravagant as you like.
If you are looking at a winter wedding, why not consider a mulled wine or cider and what is better in summer than a good G & T? You could create a Gin Bar with a variety of brands and tonics so guests can make their favourite G & T!
Don’t forget to consider the drivers, the guests that don’t drink alcohol and the children. You could create a fabulous mocktail for them to enjoy and it is always nice to have the drinks in similar glasses to the alcohol option.
Ok, so I love my wine. I would have wine at every meal if I could! Wine is the traditional choice for drinks during the wedding breakfast and a favourite planning job is wine tasting. Get a date night in with your fiancé, or parents, or get the bridesmaids and groomsmen over and get tasting!
It is always great to complement your wine with your food and a great caterer and wine connoisseur can help here, however I will remind you again, choose what you would like to drink. The best ratio is half a bottle of wine per person but think about your guests and who is coming. Will they drink more? If you include the non-drinkers and drivers in this ratio it should work out, but consider how many courses there are and how long they will be sat down drinking and increase if you need to. It is always better to have too much than not enough, and you can always take home unopened bottles to enjoy after the big day.
“I don’t like to drink wine?” I hear this a lot. Don’t worry! Who says you have to have wine for your wedding breakfast? Have jugs of cocktails, see if the bar can do table service, have beers, soft drinks, coffee…
Another tradition is to offer a glass of champagne for the speeches. Sometimes couples really don’t like the idea of champagne and I often arrange alternatives including shots of favourite spirits, prosecco or skip the toast drink altogether and make sure everyone’s glasses are topped are from the meal! Think about what would work for the style of speech, sometimes the fathers really want their toast with a glass of bubbly and sometimes the grooms like to enjoy a shot of J.D. Make it fun, make it you and make it something that you like.
You’re married, you’ve had your photos, you’ve eaten, now it’s time to party! This is a great time to introduce some fun drinks including cocktail stations with both your favourite cocktails, a coffee bar – because who doesn’t need a quick pick me up after a gorgeous meal, why not have a build your own hot chocolate bar if you are getting married in winter.
Think about where your bar is in relation to the evening entertainment, do you need to arrange a pop-up bar in the main room or perhaps you want an open bar but don’t want to offer bottles of wine or shots, or maybe you want a help yourself barrel of bottles. Remember it is your day, drink it your way!