Wedding Bar Basics, Trends & Signature Drinks

Ok ladies, don’t leave the bar planning to the boys. Planning the perfect drink menu is one of those little details that often gets left till the end and rarely gets the attention it deserves. What’s to drink is just as important as all the other wedding day details like the flowers, invitations and decor. It’s the perfect place to infuse a personal touch into your wedding and create a memorable experience for your guests.

Bar Basics  First things first, find out what is included in your catering package. There is typically a basic bar with optional upgrades. If you are getting married at an off premise venue where the food and alcohol vendors are separate, there is a whole different set of rules. While your caterer may assist you in placing your order, you are responsible for coordinating with the liquor vendor and handling the payments. Either way, here is what you need to know.

  1. Will wine be served during dinner? This eliminates the need for guests to get up and head to the bar in the middle of their meal and is typically the choice for more formal affairs. It also requires more glassware and the need for more wait staff an often results in increased wine consumption.
  2. While Wine and Beer are a given, what other options to you have? Terms like “top shelf” or “includes a basic bar” don’t help me when it comes to ordering a drink! A drink menu is a must. Make it easy for you guests by listing out popular drink options or a signature drink rather then have them staring at the bottles and trying to figure out what to order.  If your on a budget, beer, wine and a signature drink should keep everyone happy!
  3. Make sure you provide your venue or caterer with a complete list of the drinks you want to serve along with the recipes, mixers and garnishes and any other necessities like blenders, pitchers, decanters and utensils. This detail is often overlooked and  a Mojito without the mint just won’t do. Also review  whether or not you want your feature drinks served all night or cocktail hour only. By only serving them during cocktails, you can cut costS.  If they will be available all night long, make sure enough product is ordered to last for the entire event. For off premise events, any unopened wine, beer or alcohol may be returned.
  4. Glassware is another detail you will want to inquire about. Your feature drinks may require specialty glassware and straws. You will also want to review the number of glasses your venue or caterer is providing. I have seen many a martini served in a rocks glass. If you are on a budget, opt for a universal glass like a mason jar to cut costs and eliminate the need for various types of glassware.  Also consider if you want to do a champagne toast or just have guest toast with whatever they are currently drinking.
  5. Last but no least, your bar should be a reflection of your personal taste and style! Forget trying to please everyone and do what works best for you. Your cocktail selections should tie into your theme, decor, venue and season. Stylish drink menus, coasters, straws and cocktail napkins add to the vibe and overall experience of your wedding. A featured drink display upon arrival or self serve refreshment bar at the ceremony are a great way to create a wow moment.

What To Serve

Planning the perfect bar menu can be overwhelming. For a formal wedding, a bevy of liquors and an assortment of wines takes precedence over a varied beer selection. For a less formal affair, a red, a white and 2 or 3 beer options will do. A signature drink is always a good idea, because if you’re like me, I always opt for the fun mixed drink. You can have one signature drink or a few! Schedule a luncheon with your bridesmaids to do a taste test the wines, beers and feature drinks!

Here’s What I’m Loving This Season~ 

  • Pre Ceremony Refreshments Station ~ Whether it’s an infused water station upon guest arrival or a butler passed champagne cocktail to greet guests, a welcome drink is always appreciated by guests. Refreshment stations also add to your decor and create a vignette for  you to display other important details like the ceremony program.
  • Self Serve Drink Station ~ As soon as those doors open for cocktail hour there is a mad rush to the bar! Alleviate some of that pressure and those lines by staging a featured drink station display or Beer Garden. Guests can grab a drink and go!  A stunningly styled drink display also adds to the decor and wow factor of your event. A Non – alcoholic beverage station is also a great idea. Guests who want a water or some pop can skip the lines.
  • Themed Drink Stations ~ Just like the cocktail hour food stations, create drink stations or multiple mini bars! Each station can represent a feature drink from a place you visited or that represents a story or meaningful event in your relationship. This is a great place to display photos of your travels and adventures with printed stories for guests to enjoy! You can also feature popular drinks from your parents weddings or era.
  • Butler Passed Drinks ~ Forget the shots! Wow your guests with wait staff serving up swanky mini cocktail shooters throughout the evening! This idea is even sweeter for dessert, caramel apple martini shooter, yes please!!!
  • Dinner Flights ~ Impress your guests by offering wine and beer flights at dinner. Allow them to sample a bevy of local beers and taste test a variety of wines with their dinner. This is a first class experience your guests are sure to remember!

Now for the important stuff, how to name your feature drink!

  1. Blending your names is a simple way to create a couple’s signature drink like the “Bennifer,” “Brangelina,” or the “Tomkat.”
  2. You can also use your name to create drink names such as “ Billy’s Brew” or “Charlotte’s Strawberry Champagne.”
  3. Keep it simple and opt for recommended cocktails from the bride and groom like,  “Sara’s Cocktail of Choice” and “Ryan Recommends.”
  4. Adding  TINI or ITA to your name is always a winning combo! The Kris-tini or the Tom-ita sound good to me!
  5. If your stuck you can always use one the classics! These signature drink standards can be applied to champagne cocktails, mojitos, martinis, margaritas, pretty much anything!
  • Blushing Bride
  • Something Blue
  • Bloody Marry
  • Mint To Be
  • The Knottie
  • Royal Wedding Punch
  • Drunk In Love
  • Just A Little Crush
  • About Thyme
  • Salty Kisses
  • Love Potion
  • Starry Night
  • White Wedding
  • Dancin Juice
  • I Do Brew

Check out some of my all time favorite wedding cocktail recipes.


Cheesecake Martini 

~ Courtesy of

•2 parts Pinnacle® Vanilla Vodka

•1 part DeKuyper® Buttershots® Butterscotch Schnapps Liqueur

•2 parts Half & Half

•1 tbsp Caramel Sauce

•1 tsp Honey

•Graham crackers

Rim a martini glass with honey and roll the edge of the glass in finely crushed graham crackers. Drizzle caramel sauce in the martini glass along the edges. In an ice-filled shaker, combine the Vodka, Butterscotch Schnapps Liqueur and Cream. Garnish with caramel candies (optional)


White Wine Watermelon Spritzer

Courtesy of:

4-5 oz. chilled Mirassou Sauvignon Blanc

2-3 oz. chilled club soda (or tonic if you want a little more sweetness)

3-4 frozen melon cubes

1 big sprig of fresh basil


Stella Artois Cidre Arnold Palmer

Courtesy of:

In a large wine glass, combine 4 oz. lemonade with 4 oz. iced tea. Add a splash (approx. one teaspoon) of rosemary simple syrup and top with 8 oz. Stella Artois Cidre. Garnish with a lemon wheel and sprig of rosemary.


Pink-Grapefruit Salty Dog

Courtesy of:

Coarse salt, for rim of glass

Grapefruit slice, for garnish

1/3 cup freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice

2 tablespoons vodka

1 tablespoon Campari liqueur, or grenadine

1 to 1/2 cups ice cubes

Place salt in a saucer. Moisten the rim of a glass with a grapefruit slice. Dip rim in salt. Combine juice and vodka with Campari or grenadine in the jar of a blender; blend. With the motor running, add ice until fully incorporated and slushy. Pour into prepared glass.


Bourbon Peach Sweet Tea

~ Courtesy of

2 ounces bourbon

2 ounces peach preserves

1 ounce fresh lemon juice

Dash of Aperol

Sweet tea, to top

Sprig of thyme, to garnish

Lemon round, to garnish

Mix the bourbon, peach preserves, Aperol, and lemon juice over ice and shake then top with a generous amount of sweet tea and garnish with fresh thyme and a lemon round.


Pinapple Mojito

~ Courtesy of

4 bunches fresh mint leaves

8 limes, each cut into 8 wedges

2 cups sugar

6 cups pineapple juice

4 cup light rum

4 cup club soda

Remove mint leaf stems, tearing mint leaves into small pieces.  Crush together mint leaves, lime wedges {squeeze to get the juice out}, and sugar.  Stir in pineapple juice, rum, and club soda.  Serve over ice.  Feel free to add more or less rum to taste!


Vanilla Rum Cola

~ Courtesy of

Small ice cubes

3 cups cola

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

6 orange wedges or 4 sliced kumquats

For each drink, fill a glass 3/4 full with ice. Add 1/2 cup cola, 3 tablespoons rum and 1/8 teaspoon vanilla. Squeeze orange or kumquats into drink, and stir.



Styling ~

Photography ~




Model: Ashlyn Raven  ~


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Details of I do is a brides go to source for fresh, fun and inspiring wedding day details! Details of I do was created by Kristin Rockhill. She is passionate about all the little things that make weddings special from the flowers to decor and everything in between. Her love of vintage charm, rustic details, modern lines and lush blooms are what inspires her daily posts. Check in daily for your dose of inspiring wedding day details.

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