Tags: Suffolk

Bottoms up! Your guide to reception drinks

02 Jun 2011

Bottoms up! Your guide to reception drinks

PROVIDING drinks for guests at weddings is usually an afterthought. But with a little insight and planning you could save money and please your guests at the same time.

The amount and types of drinks you serve on your wedding day will be determined by the number of guests attending and the ratio of drinkers to non-drinkers.

Begin by writing a list of all of your guests, tallying up how many children are attending and how many adults are likely to be designated drivers.

This will give you a good starting point when trying to calculate how much alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink needs to be provided.

If you are having a traditional sit-down meal or buffet reception then this is usually preceded by a drinks reception to congratulate the happy couple and to allow time for stragglers to make it to the venue.

The traditional drink offered here is champagne, but this is dwindling in popularity due to its expense and is being wisely replaced with a good Cava (Spain’s answer to champagne) or Bucks Fizz.

Other excellent aperitifs to offer to arriving guests include sherry, proper Pimms, a kir royale or personalised cocktails.

Don’t forget to plan here for non-alcoholic reception drinks too such as juices and sparkling soft drinks such as traditional homemade lemonade or ginger beer.

If you are having a winter wedding then a warming cup of mulled wine would work well, and there are non-alcoholic versions available too.

During the meal it is usually expected for there to be red and white wine as well as still and sparkling water on the tables.

And a glass of something bubbly is usual at the end of a meal for the toasts.

The average consumption per head for an afternoon reception is ¼ bottle of champagne, ¼ bottle of white wine, ¼ bottle of red wine, 70cl of mineral water and 1/2 lt of juice.

Add evening drinks to this and you could be looking at a small fortune from your wedding budget spent on alcohol.

Don’t feel like you have to provide an open bar in the evening as some guests really will abuse your hospitality.

If you don’t want your bar bill to amount to a large mortgage payment then it is quite acceptable to only provide the reception, meal and toasting drinks, having a pay bar available to guests for the rest of the night. Or have an open bar for half an hour to an hour as a gesture of good will.

Another option is to buy a keg of beer and boxes of wine to be served for free in the evening, with guests having to pay for liqueurs themselves.

To hire or not to hire

Whether you choose to provide your own bar service or hire one in is entirely a matter of preference and there are pros and cons to both options.

You may find that your caterer can provide a bar service for you, which works out well in most cases.

Beware, as some caterers will charge corkage if you choose not to use their bar service.

If you do choose for them to bring in the booze for you then check that they will also be providing essentials such as glasses, ice buckets and ice.

Stocking and running your own bar at your wedding will save you money.

You will need to arrange for a friend or family member to set up and man the bar, and will also need to hire glasses, ice buckets and utensils, as well as buying ice and the drink itself.

To save money with this method don’t choose household branded liqueurs, instead opting for supermarket own brands and doing the same with your wine choices.

Supermarkets offer some fantastic wines, and you can get great deals on mixed boxes for functions from the major shops if you ask in store or check out their websites.

What to Choose

If your caterer is providing a bar service for you don’t be led by their wine recommendations, as some may simply lead you to the most expensive bottles.

Instead go for grape varieties that you know you enjoy and wines and spirits that are priced within your budget. You could even ask for a tasting or try some of the wines out at home before making your final decision.

And don’t feel you have to serve champagne throughout the day. This effervescent wine is a real treat but can run in at a horrendous cost when you are catering for lots of guests, so go for a good sparkling wine or house champagne – no one will really notice.

You also shouldn’t feel the pressure to buy expensive French wines to serve during your reception meal. Only connoisseurs will be able to tell the difference, so this extravagance would go largely unnoticed.

Instead talk to wine merchants and specialists and choose some of the fabulous New World wines that are available.

While considering your choice of wine think about the food you are serving as you don’t want your guests to be overwhelmed by anything too powerful.

South African, South American and Californian reds will offer juicy red fruit flavours through to oaky tones to complement the heartiest of dishes.

While a buttery chardonnay from Australia or New Zealand will refresh the palates of your diners with their zesty notes and act as the perfect partner to poultry dishes and salads.

You could ], of course, scrap the wine altogether and serve beer and cider with your wedding meal. The micro-brewery industry has grown tremendously over the last few years as drinkers become more and more interested in local, speciality beers, ciders and perries.

And the idea of matching beer and cider to food has grown too, so you should be able to find a variety to match your meal.

Alcohol-free options

Non alcohol drinkers can often become sidelined at weddings, being left with the dregs of warm orange juice and water as an afternoon reception heads into the evening.

If you want your booze-free guests to be catered for to the same level as drinkers then consider them while out shopping for your wine.

Producing soft drinks for adults is one of the fastest growing markets in food and drink production in the UK and there are hundreds of different varieties of non-alcoholic drink on sale.

At your wedding you could choose to serve pink lemonade, hot apple cider, fresh southern style iced tea, imaginative non-alcoholic cocktails and cordials mixed with sparkling water.

Some ideal drinks to buy for your non-drinkers include:

nBottlegreen presses – many flavours such as cranberry and orange and ginger and lemongrass

nBottlegreen cordials – available in flavours such as plum and apple, aromatic sweet lime and others

nDuchy Originals – mint and strawberry cordial, elderflower cordial and lemon refresher

nThe Feel Good Drinks Co – sugar free and totally natural sparkling cranberry and lime

nBelvoir Fruit Farm – cordials in flavours such as elderflower, ginger, passion fruit and mango, gooseberry and mint, raspberry and rose, blueberry and blood orange and mandarin

nBelvoir Fruit Farm presses – flavours such as apple and blueberry, apple and elderflower, cranberry, elderflower and pomegranate and rhubarb and ginger

nShloer – various sparkling grape and fruit juices mixed with spring water

supplier finder

Get a quote

Looking for that perfect local supplier?
Let us know what you need and we’ll start looking for you.

supplier finder

Find a supplier

Search over 200,000 Suppliers in the UK.

or

Leave a comment

Comments

There are no comments to display, be the first!

bride

Everything for your wedding

A pre-loved, rustic bridal shoot in Lincolnshire

Photographer Janey Kay tells us about the inspiration behind this pre-loved bridal shoot ...

A spring-inspired wedding shoot in Wiltshire

Celebrate the joys of spring with this seasonal shoot which contrasts a springtime w...

Wedding Photo of the Week: Twig's Branch Photography

Each week we’re inviting all wedding photographers to submit their images to be Bri...

Curvissa unveils debut capsule Bridal Collection

Plus-size women's fashion retailer Curvissa has released its first bridal collection, off...

Celebrities who held their wedding in the Maldives

Is the Maldives your dream wedding destination? Follow the lead of these three celebrity ...

Looking for that perfect local supplier?
Let us know what you need and we’ll start looking for you.

the wedding show

Sat 02
Bedford Lodge Hotel Open Day, Suffolk find out more »
Sun 03
Haughley Park Wedding Showcase 2019, Suffolk find out more »
Sun 03
Gay Wedding Show at The Mercure Hotel, Maidstone find out more »
Sun 03
The Village Hotel Wedding Show, Swindon find out more »
Sun 03
The Elvetham Wedding Showcase, Hook find out more »
Sun 03
De Vere Wokefield Estate Wedding Fair, Reading find out more »
Sun 03
Portsmouth Guildhall Wedding Fayre, Hampshire find out more »
Sun 03
Westerham Golf Club Wedding Fayre 2019 find out more »
Sun 03
Howfield Manor Wedding Fair, Kent find out more »
Sun 03
Weddings on the Dock, Titanic Hotel find out more »
Sun 03
Kenwood Hall Wedding Fayre find out more »
Sun 03
Chelsea's Enchanted Wedding Fair, London find out more »
Sun 03
Hampton Court Palace Wedding Showcase, Surrey find out more »
Thu 07
The Duke of Cornwall, Mini Wedding Collection find out more »
Thu 07
Hatton Court Wedding Open Evening, March 2019 find out more »
Sat -Sat 09
Eccleston Yards Wedding Weekend, London find out more »
Sun 10
Pendley Manor Wedding Show find out more »
Sun 10
The Hereford Wedding Show, Spring 2019 find out more »
Sun 10
Waveney House Hotel Wedding Fair, Suffolk find out more »
Sun 10
St Augustine's Priory Wedding Show, Bilsington find out more »
Sun 10
The Grand Pier Weddings & Events Showcase, Weston-super-Mare find out more »
Sun 10
Balmer Lawn May Wedding Showcase find out more »
Sun 10
Glenham Hall, Seasons Wedding Open Day, Suffolk find out more »
Sun 10
Seasons Wedding Open Day at Glemham Hall, Woodbridge find out more »
Sun 10
Merrydale Manor Open Day, Cheshire find out more »
Sun 10
Colshaw Hall Open Day, Cheshire find out more »
Sun 10
Doxford Hall Spring Wedding Fair, Northumberland find out more »
Sun 10
Festoon Events Wedding Fayre, Gloucester find out more »
Sun 10
The Hallmark Carlton Wedding Show, Bournemouth find out more »
Sun 17
Elms Hotel Diva Wedding Fayre, Worcestershire find out more »
Sun 17
The Mercure Hotel Wedding Show, Tunbridge Wells find out more »
Sun 17
Marwell Hotel Wedding Fair, Winchester find out more »
Sun 17
Bride: The Wedding Fair at The Mere Golf Resort & Spa, Cheshire find out more »
Sun 17
Hilton Dartford Bridge Wedding Fayre find out more »
Sun 17
FC United Manchester Wedding Show find out more »
Sun 17
Alpheton Hall Barns Open Day, Suffolk find out more »
Sun -Sat 24
Bride: The Wedding Show at Westpoint Exeter find out more »
Sun 24
Stoke by Nayland Wedding Fayre, Essex find out more »
Sun 24
The Wiltshire Wedding Expo at Alexandra House, Swindon find out more »
Sun 24
Fontwell Park Wedding Fayre, Sussex 2019 find out more »
Sun -Sun 24
Winchester Cathedral Secret Garden Wedding Fayre, 2019 find out more »
Sun 24
East Kent's Biggest Wedding Fair, March 2019 find out more »
Sun 24
The Crown Hotel Wedding Fayre, Dorset find out more »
Sun 24
Amex Stadium Wedding Show, Sussex find out more »
Sun 24
Bride: The Wedding Show, Hintlesham Hall, Suffolk find out more »
Thu 28
Wrenbury Hall Open Evening, Cheshire find out more »
Fri 29
Folkestone Wedding Fair, Kent find out more »
Sat -Sun 30
Lance James Wedding Ring Show, Essex find out more »
Sat -Sun 30
Meadowhall Wedding Weekend, Sheffield find out more »