One of the first decisions a Bride and Groom often consider before anything else is whether or not they will be having a bar or a dry wedding. If alcohol is your desired choice, there are several things to consider.
1. Open bar or cash bar? If you’re planning on having a bar make sure you work it out with your venue/caterer accordingly. Make sure your venue and/or caterer has the right insurance/license. If you plan on having a cash bar be warned that there is licensing required (unlike an open bar) and the added cost of using a venue or bringing in a provider with a liquor license may completely off-set the money you were trying to save. Understand that an open bar means your guests probably be a little more liberal with their drinking, meaning you will most likely go through a bit more alcohol. If you’d rather run out than pull Aunt Sue off the dance floor for her drunken antics then plan for whatever is within your desired beverage budget. However, if want the party raging all night but concerned and unsure of what is a responsible amount per guest I suggest you speak with your caterer. They should be very knowledge about the alcohol-to-guest ratio and may have suggestions to keep the drinks flowing with out flooding the budget.
2. Where will it go? The bar is generally the center of your wedding event and will have heavy traffic as guests go back and forth throughout the night. It is important to consider the layout of the venue, table set-up and number of guests. You should work with your caterer to determine if one bar or multiple will be the best for flow and service. The next consideration should be placement of the bar (or bars). The bar should be positioned so that it is easy for your guests to access while not hindering the movement of other guests and more importantly wait staff. Working out these details will help to avoid long lines and longer waits. Remember, grandma is old if she’s going be on her feet it better be on the dance floor not waiting for a gin and tonic.
3. Will you be serving specialty drinks? Right now themed drinks are very trendy but will add additional cost to the budget. Take that into careful consideration when planning the bar. There are ways to add customization and still stay on budget but it will require early planning and should not be put off to the last minute. If budget is not a concern then consider carefully what you would like served and make SURE you have all the ingredients, garnishes, decorations, cups, etc that you need. I suggest putting this in the hands of your caterer and not relying on friends, family or the bridal party. All it takes is one person rushing out the door with out the skittles to ruin your love rainbow.
4. Be clear with your guests about tipping. Whether you’re planning on having an open bar or cash bar be sure you’re clear on whether not your guests should or should not be tipping their tender. Typically bar tenders hired for open bars at weddings are paid hourly by the caterer and this cost has
already been rolled into your catering bill. If you do not want your guest providing tips be clear with the bar tenders that they are not to put out tip jars nor are they to accept tips if offered. If you are not sure how the bar tenders are being paid or you plan on providing tip directly speak to your caterer before the event so everyone is clear.
5. TRASH! No matter what type of it is bars will result in trash build up. Your wait staff should take care of the trash around the venue but make sure there is garbage receptacle located by each bar. This will help bar tenders keep the area clean and tidy without leaving their stations. It is important to make sure you are clear with the venue and the caterer about how many bars you would like prior to the big day. Venues often have a time limit as to how long you may have the room and this should be outlined in your contract. You could face additional charges if you cannot get the room cleaned and empty in the allotted time. Providing your wait staff with easily accessible trash receptacles will help them keep on top of bar trash throughout the night which will ensure that your guests and not the venue are the only thing “trashed” when you leave.
6. Glassware! If you are trying to keep the budget down by ordering limited glassware be advised you should speak with your venue to ensure that there is an area to wash and sanitize glasses for reuse. I’ve seen to many couples make the mistake of believing their guests will “reuse” their glassware. Although this would be ideal most guests do not stick to the same drink throughout the night, If they deiced to change up their order chances are they’ll want a fresh glass. Additionally, you can’t sharpie your name on the side of crystal….I mean you can but I don’t think the rental company will be too happy…. Guests are likely to put their drinks down and forget which glass is theirs and return to the bar empty handed. Remember to keep your options open, you can always start with glassware and switch to disposable. Now-a-days there are some really lovely disposable choices and your caterer may have some creative ideas available you have not considered yet.
7. Last, but not least transportation. Though transportation is not necessarily the Bride and Groom’s responsibility, if you’re planning on having a bar you should consider the fact your guests will need to get home…or you’re going to have one crowded Bridal Suite! Consider calling a local taxi services and discussing guests discounts with them. You may be surprised the positive feedback you receive from the local cab providers and your grateful guests. Going the extra little bit will let your guests know how much you appreciate them sharing your big day.
For more wedding tips and tricks give me a call at (845) 518-6533.and when you think perfect food for your perfect day think of The Chocolate Mousse Catering