It simply isn’t a wedding until Aunt Nancy cuts loose on the dance floor. But what if you don’t know which drinks are best for a crowd? How many, how much and how often should you serve? What can you do to ensure that everyone has a good time while still offering responsible service? Here are just six management tips for setting up the bar at your wedding reception.
1: Drink to Your Theme
Don’t serve heavy wine at a beach wedding where the drinks should be light and floral. On the other hand, margaritas might seem a little out of place after a traditional church ceremony. Look for something that accentuates the theme of your wedding instead of contradicting it. A limited menu will also keep your guests from overindulging.
2: Create a Budget
You’ll be buying drinks by the case for your wedding, so sit down and crunch some numbers to figure out how many guests are attending and how many drinks can be served out of a single case. Generally speaking, a good rule of thumb is to allocate 3-4 drinks for every guest. The groomsmen will probably drink more than that, but they’ll be balanced out by your elderly relatives who won’t drink at all.
3: Hire a Bartender
Open bars are a beautiful thing, but wedding crowds can get a little rowdy with so much good cheer in the air. A skilled bartender will be able to mix, serve and garnish drinks with the fast pace demanded by enthusiastic celebrants. They’ll also provide a sober head and responsible service so everyone can have a nice time without spills, accidents and misunderstandings.
The alcohol itself is only part of the bar. You’ll also need ice, olives and cherries for the glasses, and you’ll want to keep plenty of mixers and tonics on hand for complicated drink orders. Salt is essential for many drinks. Syrups might be needed for cocktails. Make sure to have napkins, sticks and stirrers to serve with everything, too!
5: Prep the Bar
You’ll want everything ready before the hordes descend, which is another reason it’s a good idea to hire a bartender as an outside party. They won’t care about missing your vows, and they can be chilling the drinks and slicing the lemons while your guests move from the ceremony site to the reception. No one wants to wait around for free booze, after all!
6: Consider a Catering Service
If you’re having a large wedding, or if you just want to wash your hands of the bar situation and let the professionals handle it, hire a beverage catering service to do all the work for you. They’ll have their own wait staff for the occasion, and they can wrangle with all the calculations and consumption averages that have been giving you a headache. Some companies might even accept refunds for unused alcohol at the end of the night.
If you’re looking to have a well-stocked, well-maintained bar at your wedding, these are just six management strategies for building it up from the ground floor. Tell Aunt Nancy to bring her dancing shoes!
Guest Blogger: The team at Zealifi who train and monitor bar staff and waiters, making sure they serve responsibly. If you have an event that requires the alcohol to be poured properly, check out their blog for plenty of free tips.