Full Bar vs. Wine and Beer


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: Part 5 : To Booze or not to Booze:

Providing a bar for your wedding is arguably one of the most important elements to the whole reception. It can be the key to making your event a success by lubricating social interaction and helping people relax and have a good time. The big decision here is what you want to serve. A full bar is great, but it can be pricey to set up. Many people decide to save money by serving only beer and wine. It’s less expensive and you may not even need to hire a bar tender.

My recommendation is to spend the money and serve a selection of cocktails as well as beer and wine. I know I like to preach about doing things on the cheap, but this is one corner I personally believe is worth spending on. The ironic truth is, your wedding really isn’t about you; it’s about celebrating with your community.

The more you think about and prioritize the wants and needs of your guests, the better your wedding will be. Having an open bar which serves a range of cocktails as well as beer and wine creates a welcoming environment where guests feel they can get whatever they want. 2-3 large bottles of each various kinds of liquor will only run you a few hundred dollars and will be well worth the investment in the happiness of your guests.

I would give the same advice to non-drinkers debating if they should even include beer and wine in their event. Although you may have a personal aversion to alcohol, your guests may not feel the same way. Providing alcohol despite personal preference will show all your guests that you have placed their happiness above your own, and will be greatly appreciated. When all is said and done, it is your event and it should be what you want, however, I believe it is shortsighted to eliminate alcohol because of a few persons’ dislike or problems with it.

An easy and cheap way of dealing with the alcohol issue is to only serve a few select cocktails. For our wedding, we chose to serve vodka, rum, gin and a selection of whiskeys including scotch, bourbon and Canadian. By providing mixers like tonic, seltzer, coke, and a selection of juices, the booze could easily be made into a handful of different cocktails. If you really want to keep it simple, you can supply one clear and one dark liquor like gin and whiskey. Gin and tonics and martinis always seem to be the two most popular drinks. A good sipping whiskey or rum can be served on the rocks or with coke.

You will definitely need to hire a bartender if you decide to serve cocktails and this will also be an added cost. However, as I said above, I personally believe this is one of the most important elements to the success of your event and one which should not be skimped on.

Since you’re putting so much time and money into this event, you want it to be a wild success. You want your guests to comment that your event was one of the best weddings they’ve ever been to, and a sure fire way to get this reaction is to have a bar with many options to ensure your guests will get exactly what they want.

In short, if you want your wedding to be awesome and not awkward: DON’T SKIP THE BOOZE!

Continued Reading in the Cater Your Own Wedding Series:

6 Month Checklist
2 Month Checklist
Final Month Checklist
Final Week Checklist

Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions about my plan or about how to plan your own event.

Related posts:

  1. Catering Your Own Wedding: A Disclaimer
  2. Catering Your Own Wedding: 2 Months Ahead Checklist
  3. Cater Your Own Wedding: An Introduction
  4. Catering Your Own Wedding: The Basics
  5. Catering Your Own Wedding: 6 Month Check List