Should you offer a signature drink, beer and wine, a full bar, or no alcohol at all?
Beverages for a wedding need not be overly complicated. Offer a punch or two, spiked or plain, or if you prefer bar service, stick to a selection of wine, beer and sodas. Set up the bar in an area with good traffic flow, not in a corner. Be sure to inquire about local liquor regulations. You might need a permit to serve alcohol.
When planning beverage service consider that people prefer white wine to red, 2-to-1. White wine should be served chilled; red wine at room temperature. Do not worry about proper pairing — which wine with what food. Your local wine merchant will gladly guide you in your selections. Take a copy of your menu with you when you go.
Different beverages may be served at different times, champagne during the toast and wine during dinner for instance, and each must be calculated separately. Since some people don’t care for champagne, consider offering one beverage for toasting and drinking. The average adult will consume 2 drinks during the first hour of the reception and 1 per hour thereafter. Play it safe and figure on two drinks per hour per guest.
Ask your servers to leave half empty glasses and to top off gently only when requested, rather than filling glasses indiscriminately.
To pour champagne, slowly pour until bubbles reach the rim of the glass; after the foam recedes, continue pouring until the glass is 2/3 full.
For a wedding brunch you might offer mimosas, champagne and fruit juice mixed half and half or perhaps topped off with club soda. Champagne punch served in flutes is festive and economical.
Think about a simple fruit juice punch spiked with spirits as an economical alternative to an open bar. Many couples create their own signature drink for the wedding and serve this along with a selection of sodas, local beer, iced tea, and juice. It doesn’t have to any more complicated than this.
Summer Wine Punch
Light and refreshing—one wonderful punch may be all you need to serve.
1 (64-ounce) bottle peach-flavored white grape juice, chilled
2 (750-ml) bottles white wine, chilled
1/3 cup peach Schnapps
2 liters ginger ale, chilled
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries or other fruit
Just before serving, combine liquid ingredients in a punch bowl. Add fruit and ice. Makes about 48 (4-ounce) servings.
For guests who prefer a nonalcoholic beverage you might offer this tea punch.
2 quarts (64 ounces) apricot nectar, chilled
2 (12-ounce) cans frozen lemonade concentrate
2 quarts (64 ounces) cold water
1 cup non-flavored instant iced tea powder
1/4 cup sugar
2 quarts lemon-lime soda, chilled
2 fresh lemons, sliced
In a 2-gallon container, mix the first 5 ingredients, stirring until dissolved. Chill. Just before serving, pour into a punch bowl and add soda. Add ice. Garnish with lemon slices. Makes about 54 (4-ounce) servings.