Curating the Perfect Libations for Your Wedding Day

Make an impressive impact with memorable refreshments.

From the look to the beverages themselves, the bar can make or break your event. When curating your designs, be sure to keep these helpful tips in mind!

Photo: John Cain Photography

Though the real purpose of the wedding is celebrating your commitment to the love of your life, there are always going to be guests who joke that their main reason for attending is the open bar. As jokes often have a hint of truth to them, it doesn’t hurt to make the bar a priority when planning your reception. From the look to the beverages themselves, the bar can make or break your event. While planning, be sure to keep these helpful tips from Acqualina Resort & Spa in mind:

Style It
A large, attractive bar looks impressive, but also consider that the more comfortable or eye-catching the bar is, the fewer people you will find on the dance floor or mingling with the other guests. If you have a smaller, intimate bar area, that is pretty without being the pièce de résistance, you’ll find attendees will get their drinks and quickly mix together within the celebration. 

Signature drink menu with cute drawings and calligraphy

Photo by Jennefer Wilson Photography

Glassware Matters
Specialty glassware can really elevate your event and the experience of guests. Big, heavy stemware just doesn’t feel as luxurious as the light, thin options available. Note: the wine will taste better in higher-quality stemware. For beer and cocktails, lavish crystal pieces and glassware do come in an array of shapes, sizes, and colors so you are still able to have fun with the styles without feeling stuffy. 

Although not a necessity, personalized napkins add a nice touch, and guests even take them home as a keepsake. For this detail, you can use the same color scheme incorporated in your nuptials, print funny sayings or your wedding hashtag on linen or paper varieties. Ask the catering manager at your venue if they have festive drink picks or garnishments available that reinforce your theme and give the cocktail presentation some extra pizzazz.

wedding cocktails signature drinks at wedding cocktail hour

Photo by John Solano Photography; Invitations & Calligraphy by Lehr and Black; Planning & Design by Alyson Fox, Levine Fox Events and Revelry Event Designers

Drink Selections
You will not be able to please every single palate when it comes to your wine and alcohol selections. Within reason, provide an array of popular options that you know most guests will enjoy, such as:

You can choose a few quality wines that are easy to drink and will likely become fan favorites amongst your guests. Two excellent suggestions for white grape varieties are Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay because they work well with a variety of foods. For red grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are superb choices because they are fruit-forward wines that are both pleasant on the nose and palate. Weather and climate also play a big part in your selections. For a beachside wedding, a French Rosé and a light Pinot Noir are absolute musts. A formal ballroom fête will be best served with wines tailored around the meal and should also end with a dessert wine.

Whether you have prosecco or Champagne, ensure it is beautifully presented with a fresh raspberry or blueberries at the bottom of the glass. Another great attribute of bubbly is the ability to be colored to match your décor: add a drop of grapefruit juice for a hint of blush or a drop of crème de cassis for a tint of purple. With sparkling wines, generally all guests will at least have a sip, making them ideal for toasts. Upgrading to a renowned Champagne house will add a touch of class as well.

Signature Cocktails
A welcome cocktail curated for the occasion – especially if it is one that all your friends and relatives enjoy when they’re together or if there is meaning behind it – will provide a moment of delight for your guests. Some pairs choose to craft a signature cocktail for each of them to further personalize the celebration. For instance, we had a bride who loved pineapples and wanted to include it in a welcome cocktail for her guests. We decided to surprise her by adding beautiful pineapple-shaped glasses to the signature Pineapple Mojito.

Another great idea during a cocktail reception is to pair your hors d'oeuvres with petite cocktails. For instance, a Bloody Mary shot with jumbo shrimp, petite margaritas and tacos, or Champagne with caviar. This can also go over well at your after-party. 

Non-Alcoholic Options
For those who either can’t or choose not to imbibe, consider expanding your non-alcoholic offerings. Water and soda may be adequate, but specialty juices and mocktails will add a wow factor and make your guests feel appreciated.

Recipe Ideas:

Paloma Fizz Mocktails

For the Rosemary Simple Syrup:
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water
1 sprig fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1 ¼ cup pink grapefruit juice

2 tablespoons rosemary simple syrup
2/3 cup seltzer water or grapefruit soda
Grapefruit slice for garnish
Crushed ice 

Watermelon-Basil Cooler
1 cup ripe watermelon chunks
3 large basil leaves, torn into pieces, plus additional for garnish
6 oz (1/2 can) natural sparkling water in lime flavor
Lime wedge, for garnish

An aesthetically pleasing bar that satiates everyone’s tastes will ensure your wedding day is looked back on fondly by all who attend. Cheers to that!

ice luge the day luxury wedding ideas monogram ice cocktail pourer

Photo by The Day

For more ideas, see these hors d'oeuvres perfect for summer entertaining and view a destination wedding at the Florida property.