I recently came across the website floridianweddings.com. They are a great resource for venues and vendors in Florida, but also have plenty of real weddings and inspiration on their site for any bride or groom planning a wedding! I loved this “Lucky In Love” cocktail that Co-Editor Laura McGlynn featured complete with the recipe. She also creatively made a downloadable/ printable sign to display (that you see below) if you choose to have this signature drink at your own wedding. How nice is that? Having a signature drink at your wedding not only personalizes your wedding but it can also shave some costs off your bar bill. Your caterer can have these ready for guests as they arrive at the cocktail venue and it could save from offering a complete open bar. You might want to discuss with your caterer what additional alcoholic beverages would be available to your guests that would be appropriate within your budget. For instance, if you know all the groomsmen will want to drink beer at cocktail hour, you might want to make sure their favorite label will be available. Consider champagne too if you would like it only served during toasts or throughout the entire wedding. But most guests will love trying a new cocktail and getting in the spirit of your celebration. For my own wedding we offered an open bar for about an hour and a half, but then we switched to tea and coffee once we cut the cake, while still offering champagne, for the last 2 hours of the wedding to wind things down. Our wedding celebration was an afternoon cocktail reception though, so for me this seemed appropriate. I also had arranged with my caterer to have about 8 waiters standing at the entrance of the reception with trays of champagne. I had this romantic idea of walking into a room with waiters at the ready offering my guests champagne at the door. Having a signature drink ready and on trays could have the same type of visual impact and it alleviates long lines at the bar. I think it’s very important to speak with your caterer and venue about your expectations. I personally expect everything ready, waiters on the floor with drinks and food and the music already playing when guests enter a party. I think there’s nothing that kills a celebratory mood more than guests walking in to an empty, silent room with waitstaff still tweaking the tables or worse, completely out of site or congregated in the corner talking. But, I’m getting off track a bit- back to the bar- keep the time of day, location, style and your budget all in mind when deciding upon the alcoholic beverages that will be served. There are no set rules. Do what’s best for your celebration and what you and your family feel comfortable with. – Lynn Butler Beling
P.S. For great custom napkins to personalize your cocktail hour, try foryourparty.com.