These days, personalizing what your guests are sipping right before the wedding ceremony or during cocktail hour (whether served from silver platters or ice-filled troughs) is a must. It's just one more thoughtful clue that tells the story of how you and your S.O. met, who you are as a couple, what kind of celebration you're about to host. The signature cocktail (for the beginner: One or two specialty drinks, usually accompanied by super-cute signage explaining their provenance or ingredients) will also save you money—as long as you restrict your open bar to wine and beer.
No matter what you're planning, choose a crowd-pleasing booze like vodka for your base instead of, say, gin. Look to the season, the venue, and your wedding's color scheme for inspiration. Or ask yourselves, "What did we drink on our first date? What's our happy-hour usual? Is there a drink that reflects our mixed heritage?" Work with your caterer on the recipe, and call on a creative stationer to help with the paper flourishes that will go with it: Paper straws with die-cut flags, kraft-paper sleeves (for cups of spiked hot cocoa, of course!), letterpress coasters, custom stirrers, specialty cocktail napkins, or monogrammed koozies. (Hey, a bottle of craft beer counts as a signature cocktail at some weddings. We don't judge.)
Click through for nine inspired bevvies designed to ingratiate your thirsty friends and drunk uncles. Remember, you are what you drink, especially at your wedding, so tailor the spirits to reflect your spirit.Photo: Todd Huffman