What type of bar should you have at your wedding? Picture: @wanderingwagonbars on Instagram.
What type of bar should you have at your wedding? Picture: @wanderingwagonbars on Instagram.

Every type of bar to consider for your wedding

By Sacha van Niekerk Time of article published Nov 12, 2020

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From the flowers to the feast, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to getting wedding-day ready. If you’re in the midst of planning the reception, you’ve probably already been pondering on whether or not you’d like to include an open or cash bar.

You may not have realised this, but you are not limited to just one or the other - there are actually a number of bar options to choose from depending factors like venue, budget and the mood you’d like to create at the after party.

Here are the seven different kinds of wedding bars:

Open bar

When it comes to wedding etiquette, it is customary that those attending don't have to pay for a thing. If your budget allows for it, having an open bar is both a wonderful way to thank your guests for showing their support on your special day as well as kicking off the celebrations.

Whether you opt to have servers delivering drinks to tables all night long or a bar stationed at your reception stocked with an endless supply of booze, pick an option that will best suit the number of guests you have - at bigger weddings bars can get congested very quickly so having servers to bring beverage orders to guests will help things run more smoothly.

Limited bar

Signature cocktails are a popular wedding trend at the moment. Picture: Instagram.

Drinks can easily become the most expensive part of your wedding budget, but if you’re strategic about it, it can also be where you save the most. From the wine you drank on your first anniversary dinner to signature cocktails and champagne served during toasts, a limited bar offers guests a selection of drinks hand-picked by - beer, wine, and a signature cocktail, for example - and set specific consumption times, such as the cocktail hour, the toasts and during dancing.

Consider hiring waiters to pass drinks on trays rather than letting guests go up to the bar.

Cash bar

If you’re looking to trim down on your wedding expenses, having a cash only bar. Alcohol purchases can very quickly escalate as the evening goes on and before you know it, you’re left with a massive bill to foot. You can decide to have guests pay for the alcoholic beverages that they order whilst having soft drinks be free for all.

Combination bar

A cash bar has an endless supply of drinks available to guests. Picture: Instagram.

This bar falls somewhere between an open and cash bar, depending on how you’d like to structure it. The bride and groom can pre-decide on a limited menu of drinks they’d like to be complementary to their guests. It could be a short list of cocktails, wines and champagne by the glass.

However, other items outside of that list will need to be paid for by those who’d like something outside of that selection. You could also opt to have all your complementary served at designated times like during speeches and toasts or during the dancing.

Dry bar

As a couple, you may decide not to serve alcohol for various reasons ranging from religious to financial. Spirits like whisky, brandy and gin as well as bottles of wine and champagne can very quickly rack up to a lot of money.

Instead of serving alcohol, opt only to have soft drinks, non alcoholic bubbly and mocktails to make the day festive and fun. You can still

Coffee bar

Every wedding reception reaches a slump in the evening when the dance floor dies down and little kids fall asleep on chairs under a pile of coats. Bring life back into the party with a Coffee Bar boasting a range of coffee flavours, milk, teas, sweeteners (honey, stevia, brown and white sugar, etc.), shortbread cookies, hot chocolate and marshmallows for the young ones.

DIY drink stations

Toppings to garnish cocktails with at a DIY bar. Picture: Instagram.

Super casual and fun, having a DIY drinks station allows your guests to get creative by by laying out out a range of spirits, mixers, bitters, cordials, glasses and garnishes to spruce up the drinks - edible flowers, rosemary, grapefruit slices, pomegranate rubies, berries and mint will do the trick.

If you’d like to do shots, leave out the glasses, salt and wedges of lemon or pineapple on a wooden board. This sort of a bar works best for a casual, carefree affair with an inmate number of guests.

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