Ask Bijou...

24 Aug 2016

Bijou Wedding Venues tackle another bride-to-be's burning question - this month, what is the 'done thing' when it comes to wedding drinks?

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Welcome to the August edition of Ask Bijou! We’re in the midst of wedding season, and even though the Bijou team are busy working with couples to add their final touches to their perfect wedding celebration, they’re also helping eager brides and grooms plan last minute weddings for winter and helping to give advice to couples planning their weddings a year from now. With over 15 years worth of experience when it comes to throwing fabulous house parties at their four exclusive use wedding venues, the Bijou team are experts when it comes to answering any of your wedding venue related questions. 

Got a question for the Bijou team? Email to see the answer featured in a future edition of Ask Bijou…

August Question:

We can’t afford to offer an open bar to our guests, but we feel cheeky charging people for drinks at ‘our’ wedding. Should we feel bad? What is the norm these days?

Katie L, West London


Bijou’s Advice:

When it comes to weddings there is no ‘norm’, so to speak. Every couple is different and every wedding that we help plan across our four country house wedding venues is completely unique; from the décor to the hand-picked wedding breakfast menu, to the way they choose to serve drinks on the day. 

However, if we were to pick a ‘norm’ when it comes to discussing the bar, we find that most couples prefer to pay for the drinks until the end of the meal. These particular drinks could include wine, beer, bubbly and possibly a cocktail or two during the wedding reception, but from that point on, it’s entirely fair (and almost expected) for guests to pay for their own drinks – depending on the budget of the couple.


When it comes to the evening bar, the choice is yours – so here are three options that we recommend for after your wedding banquet has come to an end….

Add a float

Some couples choose to add a float to the bar at their wedding; a small sum of money that can be used towards the first however many rounds of drinks. But once the float comes to an end, the guests would then have to pay their own way. The value of your float an be whatever you can afford – and we’ve seen anything from £200 to £2000 and more. You could always specify the drinks that your float can be put towards, such as beer, wine and soft drinks only. If guests choose an alternative tipple, then they would need to pay themselves.

Subsidise the bar

A subsidised bar means that your guests will have to pay for their own drinks, but with the help of your float. For example, if someone orders a bottle of beer, £1 or £2 could be subsidised from the float and the guest pays for the rest. This option will stretch your bar float further and your guests won’t need to pay as much in the long run.

There is also the option to limit the time on your subsidised float - say, the first two hours of your wedding reception?

Cash only bar

You can opt for the cash bar only option, but if you are inviting evening guests, it might be nice to offer them a glass of bubbly on arrival in order to get the ball rolling and to make them feel welcome to your evening reception.


Five ways to have fun with the drinks served at your wedding:

  1. Hire a Pimms’ Tricycle
  2. Serve a signature cocktail during your post-wedding drinks reception
  3. Offer a variety of different wines to compliment each dish during your wedding banquet
  4. A champagne fountain could be a great focal point
  5. Create a ‘Pimp your Prosecco’ stand


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