The most common types of wedding alcohol served at weddings are all standard alcohol that you might find at any other event or gathering. Still, the most important thing to remember when serving alcohol at your wedding reception is that your guests' safety comes first. So ensure there are enough designated drivers and taxis available on your wedding day if necessary. Here are the ten most common types of alcohol served at weddings. Their taste helps you decide which ones you want to serve as part of your reception drinks menu.
The 8 Most Common Types of Wedding Alcohol
If you're planning your wedding and want to know what drinks to serve wedding alcohol, here are eight common types of wedding alcohol.
Wine (White, Red, Rose)
Wine is one of the most popular types of wedding alcohol. This beverage comes in various colors and flavors, and guests can choose which kind they like best. Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and other varieties are commonly seen on wedding dinner tables. With an average cost per bottle ranging from $8 to $50, it's no wonder that most brides choose to offer wine as a cocktail option! Brides often place bottles on ice or make them into favors for their guests by wrapping them with ribbon or a bow.
Some even put together personalized labels for each guest based on their first name, last name, or favorite food! Guests are typically given two glasses each at a time. But some wines have higher alcohol content than others. Remember your preferences before deciding how much to give out.
Champagne is dry, sparkling wedding alcohol from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grown in France's Champagne region. The grapes undergo a long fermentation process, and the wine is bottled in the same area. Its name is derived from its region – to be called Champagne, it must be made within France's eponymous region. It is traditionally served as an apéritif or an accompaniment to desserts. It can also be used as an ingredient for other cocktails, such as the Mimosa or bellini. It can also be used for breakfast, along with pastries and eggs. Other than being served at weddings, it can also be served as a toast at any formal event like New Year's Eve celebrations.
One bottle of Champagne usually serves between six to ten people, depending on their preferences. In comparison, most famous champagne brands come from the Champagne region in France. Some quality champagnes come from California and other regions worldwide. A significant factor in determining the flavor of the Champagne is where it was aged. For example, if a cuvée spends all its time aging in oak barrels before release. It will have more oaky notes, but the cuvée will have fresher grapey notes if there's no oak aging.
Beer is another best option for wedding alcohol. There are many different types of beer. Lagers and pilsners are the most common in America, but there is also an endless variety. Amber and dark beers have more flavor and complexity than lighter beers and lagers. More potent brews like stouts, barley wines, and doppelbocks may be served with dessert or paired with robust entrees. Drinking them with delicate foods is not good because they can overpower their flavors. It's always better to light on alcohol when you know you will also have other drinks that day.
That way, you don't risk getting too drunk if you don't want to. You can tell the bartender what you're drinking beforehand, so they have it ready for you. When trying a new type of liquor, mix it with something else with less alcohol content, such as club soda or ginger ale.
Spirits (Gin, Vodka, Rum, Whiskey…)
The spirits like Gin, vodka, rum, and whiskey are among the most popular types of wedding alcohol. Let's take a look at some famous spirits for your wedding alcohol.
1) Gin – distilled from the fermented juniper berries and other herbs. This includes coriander, angelica root, licorice root, lemon peel, and cassia bark. The name gin derives from either genever (Dutch), jenever (Belgian), or génépy (French).
2) Vodka – the world's leading spirit category by volume sold.
3) Rum – made from sugarcane byproducts such as molasses and cane syrup.
4) Whiskey made using malted barley, yeast, water, and rye grain.
Cocktails (Margarita, Mimosa…)
Cocktails like Margarita and Mimosa are also suitable for wedding alcohol. A Margarita is a classic cocktail that is often served at weddings. It can be made with tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. All you need to do is add ice, shake the ingredients, and pour them into your favorite glass. Add salt to the rim if desired. You can also use different flavored liqueurs or sugars to make the drink sweeter or spicier for those who don't like it, as it is sour and robust.
The Mimosa is an old-fashioned brunch drink that usually consists of orange juice and Champagne. The two are combined in a tall glass filled with ice. Suppose you're looking for something without alcohol. Substitute sparkling water or ginger ale. For those unfamiliar with how much alcohol they consume, a chart roughly estimates how many calories come from one drink.
Non-Alcoholic Drinks (Fresh Fruit Juices …)
The popularity of traditional non-alcoholic drinks has increased in recent years. They've become commonplace on wedding catering menus. So if you don't drink alcohol, provide a non-alcoholic option for someone else at your wedding. Then you should include more refreshing options than just soda water or club soda. Fresh fruit juices such as mango, peach, and grapefruit make delicious non-alcoholic drinks with a tropical twist. It will add some variety to your menu. Or try an agua fresca like horchata, made from rice milk, cinnamon sticks, ground vanilla beans, brown sugar, and fresh water.
These are all easy recipes to make ahead of time, so your caterer can blend them up when it's time to serve them. They'll also stay cold thanks to their natural ingredients. And they'll be ready to go even if your guests start drinking before the cocktail hour ends! But whether you opt for non-alcoholic beverages or not, be sure to have plenty of snacks available. It is because there's nothing worse than being hungry while waiting in line to order a drink. For example, mini burritos (you can buy pre-made ones) and jalapeno poppers are big hits among many different crowds.
Soda & Water
The most common type of wedding alcohol is typically non-alcoholic beverages such as soda and water. This choice could be due to various reasons, but the most common explanation is a concern for safety among party guests. Non-alcoholic drinks are also seen as more economical than alcoholic ones. Their prices range from $1-$5 per drink, depending on location. Another reason that non-alcoholic drinks may dominate your wedding is because everyone in attendance can enjoy them. At the same time, alcoholic beverages may only be appropriate for adults over the age of 21.
If you want to serve something more substantial asap wedding alcohol, consider offering both types of drinks so that all your guests have an option. One way to do this is by setting up a self-serve bar where guests can pour drinks. Remember, it's not just about what's being served but how much it costs. Consider the per-person cost of serving alcohol vs. other options when deciding what to offer. For example, an average bottle of wine might cost $10-$12, while two bottles of red or white wine might cost between $15-$18. For the sake of Champagne, expect to spend around $30 for a full 750 ml bottle.
Coffee & Tea
Coffee and tea are often served at weddings, with a selection of herbal or iced teas. They make an excellent alternative to fruit juices, or even alcohols, which may be more expensive and contain too much sugar. Remember that if you're serving coffee and tea, you'll need enough space on the table for all cups. A great way to present these drinks is in a display carafe with nearby glasses so guests can serve themselves as they wish. Tea service should include black, green, white, and herbal teas.
Hot water urns are helpful but only provide one type of tea at a time. If you want your guests to have their choice of brews, opt for individual hot water kettles. In this case, you will need one kettle per guest. For example, 12 people would require 12 kettles (12 glasses x 3 types). Guests will pour their tea from the pots into a personal cup. Keep plenty of napkins nearby to wipe up spills.
Alternatively, use china cups and saucers instead of disposable paper cups. The guests will appreciate being served traditionally. To offer variety, consider placing two varieties of tea bags in each pot, such as Earl Grey and English Breakfast. Make sure there's enough room for milk, cream, or lemon. Sweeteners can also be added to taste.
10 Tips for Staying Budget-Friendly With Wedding Alcohol
Weddings are by their very nature expensive occasions, and even more so when alcohol is involved. As the host of your wedding or as the guest at another's, you want to ensure that you stay in control of your budget while providing your guests with all the drinks they could want (or need!). Staying within your means doesn't mean having an uneventful party. It just means being aware of pitfalls that may prevent you from staying on budget and knowing how to avoid them. Here are ten tips to help you stay budget-friendly with wedding alcohol.
Opting for a punch instead of individual drinks will be your best bet if you're looking to save money. However, there are two downsides to this solution. The first is that people like options, and you may face competition if more than one vendor offers this option. The second downside is that it's harder to do the proportions when you have multiple bowls needing the same alcohol. It's easier to measure each drink individually. To compensate for these issues, purchase all of the liquor needed beforehand. Make your batches in advance so they can cool off before guests arrive.
You'll also want to add extra sugar to the mix to combat bitterness. Now is also the time to consider how many guests you anticipate having and whether or not you want them served at tables. You can also simply put them on trays as they go around. For instance, if you've got 200 people attending, using individual cups would take a lot of effort on behalf of your bartender. Conversely, 400 cups could take too long to pour. As such, it's often better to use trays for large groups.
Choose Low-Cost Wine and Beer in Bulk
When buying wedding alcohol for your ceremony, don't forget about wine and beer. These are the most popular drinks at a wedding and are typically less expensive than cocktails or Champagne. For example, Trader Joe's sells red wine for around $5. And many stores like Costco sell cases of beer in bulk that would be perfect for weddings. You can also look online for deals on these types of products. Ensure you're paying attention to what you're purchasing to stay within your budget.
To do this, you may want to purchase just one type of wine or one type of beer from each store. The same rule applies when shopping for different sizes, too - choose one size from each store so you're not overspending in any category. Consider how much wedding alcohol will be consumed per person when figuring out how much you need. People drink more if they're not drinking water between drinks!
Skip the Open Bar
An open bar can save you money, but it can add up to more than the entire wedding cost. So if your budget is a little tight, consider skipping it and having a cash bar instead. If you don't think your guests will drink enough to make this option worth it, try serving specialty drinks at higher prices, like cocktails. You'll want to balance these out by ensuring plenty of beer, wine, and mixed drinks. And just because you're not doing an open bar doesn't mean there should be no alcohol available. Ensure the ratio of specialty alcohol matches what's in other bars at your event. The same rule applies to people who might need non-alcoholic beverages: make sure they're also stocked.
Invite Guests Who Drink Moderately
It's a great idea to invite guests who drink moderately so they can bring some wine, beer, or other options. Guests who don't drink wedding alcohol at all should also be invited. They may not drink anything during the reception, but they can still partake in the other parts of your wedding. And, they'll appreciate you thinking of them when you were planning. If someone is going to be sober, let them know ahead of time, and they can come up with their plan for that day and evening. Remember: You want everyone to have fun! So it's vital to ask friends and family if they plan to drink responsibly before finalizing the guest list. Once you do finalize it, consider what type of food and desserts are being served.
Have Stations Instead of an Open Bar
Another option to reduce cost and open up space is to set up stations at the event rather than having an open bar. This allows guests to come and go when they please, getting drinks as needed while freeing up more space on the dance floor. When hosting a dinner, it's a good idea to set up stations near the dinner entrance as guests enter. They can order their drinks upon arrival. We recommend offering both varieties in separate bars if you want to offer two different types of beverages.
It also helps if staff monitor both bars or answer questions about the beverages available. Again, this reduces bartenders' time explaining options to their guests. Station options could include:
- A vodka station.
- Whiskey station.
- Wine tasting table.
- Available mixers such as soda water and tonic water.
Remember that you don't have to offer all types of alcohol: choose one type per station.
Sell Unused Liquor at a Discount After the Party
If you end up with a lot of new liquor at the end of your wedding, you may want to consider selling it at a discount to recoup some of your expenses. If that's not an option, recycle or donate the liquor before disposing of it. Another good idea is to look into services that offer special pricing on alcohol when it's delivered or in bulk quantities. This way, you won't have so many unopened bottles taking up valuable space in your cupboards! Be sure to discuss this option with your venue and caterer as well, though.
Not all venues are comfortable with people bringing their alcohol onto their property. You also don't want to bother your caterer if they're responsible for providing everything from setup to cleanup! They will handle these items, so you'll only need to focus on what goes inside the cups. Some great options include sparkling cider, seltzers, and juices (freshly squeezed or store-bought). It's also nice to provide guests with various mixers like orange juice, cranberry juice cocktails, and fruit juices.
Hire Bartenders Instead of a Bartender
Another way to save on wedding alcohol is to hire bartenders instead of a bartender. Hiring people who know how to mix drinks reduces the amount of alcohol you need. But it also means you won't have to buy wine glasses or many drink options. And if you need even more reason as to why hiring bartenders is beneficial, this also allows your guest to get up and mingle or dance! Also another pro tip is to consider buying kegs versus bottles so that you don't waste any leftover alcohol at the end of the night.
You can typically purchase these from beer distributors in large quantities so you can be sure to have enough for all of your guests. If you're looking for some other ideas on where to find affordable wine, ask around with your local restaurant managers. Often they might be able to point you in the right direction to an excellent deal nearby.
Serve Sparkling Water During Cocktail Hour
Serving sparkling water during cocktail hour is a great way to offer guests something different and refreshing. Be sure to include lots of ice in the glassware! Serve it on its own or mix it with another non-alcoholic beverage such as lemonade or fruit juice. You can also serve sparkling wine without alcohol to those who don't drink alcohol. This may be more expensive than other options, but if you're serving it at your wedding, it's worth the splurge! A fun option is making a toast with champagne glasses filled with sparkling cider instead of Champagne. If you have an apple orchard nearby, ask them about harvesting apples for your event!
Ask friends and family members to bring some bottles from their cellar. You could also work out an arrangement where they give you money now. Then get the bottles back after the event - just make sure everyone agrees before signing anything. It's always good to have backup wines, so order extra. White wines are typically served chilled, while red wines are served warmer, so keep that in mind when ordering wine.
Go Easy on the Booze (It Lowers Costs and Improves Safety)
If you and your guests don't typically go through a lot of wedding alcohol at celebrations, it's a good idea to keep that in mind. The bigger your wedding is, the higher the per capita cost of drinks at your reception, and the more expensive your wedding will be. Consider buying wine or beer only if you are worried about running out of booze on your big day. If you have an open bar, try adding an alcohol-free bar with soda and iced tea so people can mix their drinks.
You can also save money by hiring bartenders who work on commission instead of paying them hourly wages (make sure they're legally allowed to serve alcohol).
And finally, think about skipping the champagne toast as another way to save some dough. Champagne is usually the most expensive drink, but a traditional toast doesn't have to involve it. Champagne can be swapped out for prosecco, sparkling cider, or even juice--whatever you feel like celebrating with!
Shop Around for Deals
Be on the lookout for deals on wedding alcohol. Typically, these deals are found in the dead of winter during the holiday season. It's also a good idea to browse flyers from other liquor stores to see if there is a better deal somewhere else before making your purchase. If you find one, it doesn't hurt to ask the store where you're purchasing your drinks about their price match policy. They may be willing to go lower and make the sale at that point. The best way to save money on alcohol is by buying what's available and planning. Shop around for deals and consider if you need an open bar or have bartenders.
Weigh the pros and cons of both options to figure out which one will work best for your wedding. There are many more ways to stay budget friendly with alcohol, but this list covers some of the most popular tips! Make sure to explore all your options.
8 Wedding Alcohols That Will Make Your Big Day Even Better
Weddings are known to be one of the most fun celebrations! All your friends and family come together to show their love and support for you on your special day. Only decorating items like wedding centerpieces can't make our day special. Wedding alcohols also have a good potential to make your wedding memorable. It's also an opportunity to have lots of fun; one way to do that is with alcohol! So if you're hosting a wedding, you might consider picking out some alcohol to make your party memorable. Here are eight wedding alcohols that would be perfect for any celebration!
There's nothing quite like drinking red wine with someone you love. It's earthy and full-bodied, and it complements most foods very well. The experts recommend sticking to a dry red wine (look for cabs, merlots, and zinfandels) so the flavor doesn't overpower your meal. Whites are also great because they can go with just about anything! For the bride who wants something extra special on her big day, this wedding alcohol is perfect. The bubbles make it feel extra celebratory!
Favored by those under strict orders not to imbibe any other spirit, Gin is distilled from a mash of corn or grain. The process begins by cooking and heating the mash until it ferments, then distilling the fermented mash. Finally, the clear liquid is cut with water or alcohol to reduce its strength and be bottled. A good-quality gin should be perfectly balanced with a nose that's both spicy and citrusy.
Since sparkling wine is one of the most popular types of wedding alcohol, it's worth discussing in more detail. So what makes sparkling wine so unique? It is said that Champagne was created as a celebration of France's victory against Emperor Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. What makes bubbly so perfect for weddings is its ability to toast just about anything and break down any language barrier. For example, if you're serving guests from all over the world, they'll all understand toast in English when they see it on their glasses. And even if you don't speak each other's languages, everybody will be able to clink glasses together! Another remarkable quality of bubbly is how great it tastes- all of those bubbles mean there are tons of tiny flavor nuances in every sip!
Prosecco is one of the most popular wedding alcohol options for ceremonies. It can be served in its sparkling form or poured over ice to keep things cool. Prosecco is a pretty low-key drink. That is why it's perfect for wedding receptions where the guests might already be on their third or fourth cocktail. You'll want to ensure that your bubbly doesn't go flat by only opening bottles as needed. If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container with lots of sugar cubes until your next gathering! An excellent alternative to Champagne is Cava. It has less intense bubbles and sweeter flavors than traditional Champagne. Other great choices are Moscato (not too sweet) and Lambrusco (not too dry).
Cava is a sparkling wedding alcohol typically produced in Spain. It is often much less expensive than other wines and can be a friendly alternative to Champagne. It's also an excellent option for anyone who may not be able to drink alcohol because of an allergy or intolerance.
For cava that tastes just as good as Champagne but at a more affordable price point, Penedes is one of the best regions to buy from. Laherte Frères is known for its exceptional champagnes and cava blends, so you know you're getting a quality product with this company. If you want something that will last a long time, Vina Balcony is a reliable choice, with their Cuvee Prestige being one of their most popular lines.
Sake is a beverage made from rice and water that can be served cold or warm. This wedding alcohol is often sweetened with sugar but can also be served at room temperature to appreciate the natural flavor. Sake was considered for royalty because it took so much time and effort to make it, so it became symbolic of respect. Nowadays, sake is more commonly enjoyed by everyone. Try pairing it with a peer if you're thinking about including sake in your wedding day cocktail hour. For an even sweeter spin, add some lychee liqueur.
This brandy originated in France, and it is the oldest French liquor. Cognac is a form of distilled wine that ranges from transparent to an amber color. It has aged for at least two years in oak barrels before bottling. The longer it is aged, the more expensive it becomes. You can buy this alcohol by bottle or glass, making it an excellent drink for your guests during your reception.
While many people think of a Mojito as the drink to order when vacationing in Cuba. Its refreshing flavor makes it an excellent choice for any wedding. The recipe for this cocktail is simple: combine white rum, sugar, lime juice, and ice in a tall glass with crushed ice. Add some sparkling water or club soda if you like going the non-alcoholic route. And don't forget to top it off with fresh mint! After all, this delicious beverage was created by Ernest Hemingway at his La Florida home on Varadero Beach in 1933. A chilled glass will look fabulous on your bar cart and provide guests an excellent way to cool down after a long day of festivities.
They are also perfect for serving soft drinks during those hot summer months! If you're looking for something more traditional and less sweet than a mojito, try ordering Champagne. It's classic enough that everyone will be familiar with it but engaging enough that you'll have something new to offer at your event.
The Wedding Alcohols: FAQs
What's the difference between sparkling wine and champagne?
Champagne is made exclusively from Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes in the Champagne region of France. This sparkling wine can be made with various grapes. This is because when these same grape varieties are fermented, they do not produce bubbles. Instead, producers must add a sweetener to create carbonation. Then bottle the wine to allow it to become still while maintaining the bubbles.
Do I need to serve prosecco at my wedding?
You might be wondering if you need to serve Prosecco at your wedding. This sparkling wine has quickly risen in popularity and is often used for weddings. It's delicious, goes well with various foods, and can be served chilled or on the rocks. This is perfect if you're looking for an affordable yet elegant option!
What should we consider when using wedding alcohol?
All the different ways alcohol will be served at your wedding. People enjoy drinking different amounts of alcohol, so you should remember when choosing the spirits to serve. There are also many dietary restrictions that you'll need to adhere to cater to your guests. You must plan and drink responsibly, so everyone has a great time at your wedding!