The Ultimate Guide to Your Wedding Reception Bar

Featured image for post: The Ultimate Guide to Your Wedding Reception Bar

Photo by: Lauren Baker Photography | Venue: FIVE Event Center

Your wedding is a big day, and when it comes time for the reception, everyone is ready to celebrate! This is the time to eat, drink, and be merry, and you will want to provide a wedding reception bar that will satisfy your guests’ thirst. At Sterling Catering, we know how much a well-organized reception bar adds to the celebration. To ensure your bar is everything you want it to be– while still staying within your budget–here are a few tips to help you plan.

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Venue: Green Acres Event Center

Choosing the Right Bar Setup Style

You’ll have to make some choices to keep your budget on track while serving drinks. Here are some approaches people choose to balance their budget with their guests’ needs.

Hosted Bar

This is a popular arrangement where you, as the host, pay for your guests’ drinks. This is a great gesture to show guests your appreciation for partaking in and celebrating you on your wedding day. Guests will be able to enjoy an array of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages without having to reach for their wallets.

If you have the budget to do it, your guests will love the experience this provides and may stay longer into the night! This helps extend the party a bit to ensure you’re dancing the evening away with all of your favorite people.


Cash Bar

A cash bar is a budget-saver for couples because it puts the expense of the drinks on the guests. Each person pays for their own drinks as they order. This can also be a good choice for weddings that have guests invited who are not big on alcoholic drinks. This option will help you save money while giving the option for guests to indulge in whatever they’d like!

One downside to a cash bar is that guests may perceive it as tacky. Some friends and family may feel that it’s hospitable and the right thing to do to host food and beverages for your guests. Consider a hosted bar or a la carte bar to offer beverages without blowing your budget.


A La Carte Bar

An a la carte or limited bar is another form of a hosted bar but offers just a selection of items that the couple has chosen that will be hosted for guests. For this bar style, couples may opt to host beer, wine, soft drinks, signature cocktails, or any cocktail for a duration of time, or until a certain tab has been hit. This style of bar is another great way to ensure you’re sticking to a specific budget for your wedding bar while also providing some complimentary beverages to your guests.


Signature Cocktails

Signature cocktails are rising in popularity for good reason. Offering signature drinks that are personalized to your style or love story will surely impress your guests! They’ll love learning something about you or feeling like they’re a part of your day even more by indulging in one or two.

Add custom signage to your bar top displaying your bar menu and signature cocktails. Consider making it extra memorable by giving the cocktails names that have a special meaning to you.


Dry Wedding

Due to personal, cultural, or religious reasons, some people don’t drink alcohol. You also may have sober guests invited to your wedding. If you aren’t much of a drinker and your guests aren’t either, you could opt for a dry wedding where there is no alcohol served at all. This doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun with the beverages though! Offer a variety of craft sodas, sparkling water stations, or mocktails to personalize the beverage station to you and your style.

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Venue: FIVE Event Center

Create a Personalized Menu to Enhance the Experience

Like every other detail in your wedding, your reception bar should reflect your personality and style. One way to do that is with a carefully chosen selection of cocktails. This can simply be drinks you enjoy, or you can lean into the fun by creating craft cocktails to reflect the details of your love story. You can even give your personalized craft cocktails special names that refer to you as a couple or events in your life. A talented mixologist can help you come up with your signature cocktail menu.

To keep all your guests happy, be sure to provide a variety of drinks, including non-alcoholic options. You can simply have a range of sodas to drink, but it’s a gracious touch to provide a mocktail to let non-drinkers join in the celebratory feel.


How to Work with Your Caterer to Craft the Perfect Bar Experience

Whether you’re crafting a signature cocktail, estimating how many drinks you will need to provide, or navigating local ordinances, there are many details to consider when planning your wedding reception bar. It is possible to DIY your bar, but many couples appreciate how a professional beverage caterer can make the experience extra special for you and your guests.

At Sterling Catering, we love to help couples round out their reception with bar service that keeps the celebration going. We have the expertise to help you plan a reception bar that will delight guests without breaking the bank, from calculating how much alcohol you will need to help you design your signature cocktails. In addition to providing great beverage services, we can cater our delicious menu for your reception dinner and even hors d’oeuvres for your cocktail hour and late-night snacks that your guests will love!


Cheers to Creating a Memorable Bar Experience with Sterling Catering

Sterling Catering strives to make your wedding reception special, from the first appetizer to the final round of drinks. We work hard to take care of every detail so you can relax and simply enjoy the party. We would love to show you what we can do for you and how we can work with your budget. For more information, contact us today!