I’ll drink to that! Planning your reception is a big part of the wedding planning process, and while it can be a lot of fun picking out co-ordinating table linens and centre pieces and seating charts, it can also be overwhelming to make so many decisions. Below are a few “do’s” and “don’ts” to hosting an elegant cocktail hour, and planning your bar to ensure a lively reception that’s sure to delight your guests.
Exciting yet Elegant Cocktail Hour
The cocktail hour is a chance for people to mingle after the ceremony and begin to celebrate. A classy, yet cool cocktail hour will set the tone for the rest of the reception. Whether you are serving alcohol or not at your wedding, you will still need to serve your non-imbibing or underage guests something to drink other than pop and sparkling water; non-alcoholic versions of some of your favourite cocktails, or “mocktails” are a fun and fancy touch to make all the guests feel special.
DO: make sure the cocktail hour space is open enough so it won’t feel crowded and people won’t get stuck waiting at the bar for a celebratory glass of wine.
DO: have wait staff ready with butlered hors d'oeuvres and beverages, with a stationary bar available. This is really important for large weddings and ease of service.
DO: create a “drink menu” with a list to match the wedding theme or some of the couple’s favourite drinks. Personalize it with whimsical garnishes, straws and napkins
DO: create a signature cocktail, and a virgin version of it as well. Consider “his and hers” cocktails or a favourite drink. If your family has Caribbean roots, why not serve rum punch with a funky twist on the name?
Simple Steps to Planning your Bar
Planning your bar is a bit of a numbers game; you’ll want to consider how many guests are attending, the time of day and length of the reception, a full open bar or a limited bar, and of course, your budget for the party. BRIDES has a great up-to-date list of the different types of bars to offer at weddings. A simple rule to keep in mind when planning, is generally 2-3 cocktails per person during cocktail hour, then 1 drink per person, per hour.
DO: have enough variety for your guests, although you don’t need to offer every type of red wine available, selecting one red and one white wine, standard spirits, and beer is sufficient. Select a few favourites or go with the crowd-pleaser, sangria.
DON’T: charge your guests for their drinks; you wouldn’t invite someone to your home for a party and ask them to pay for their drinks.
Spectacular Summer Sangria Recipe
Perfect for your next BBQ or patio party! Sangria is a fabulous summer drink, and with so many different varieties to make, the possibilities are endless! Traditional Spanish sangria is made with red wine and orange juice, but white wine and green grapes and apples provide a refreshing twist. Below is our ever so popular house sangria recipe. Stir up a batch the Hacienda's sangria recipe and serve over ice in a pitcher or jug!
Hacienda Sarria Red Sangria
3L Red Wine
3L Red Wine
3L Orange Juice
4 each: Lemon, Lime, Orange
250ML Triple Sec
2L Sparkling Lemonade
Hacienda Sarria White Sangria
3L White Wine
3L PC White Grape/Peach Juice
250ML Peach Schnapps
2 Cans Peaches in Syrup
1 Pkg Mint Leaves