A refreshing drink is a perfect way to welcome guests to the reception and to get the party started at a wedding. And while the full-service statement bar is certainly not a tradition that’s going anywhere, more and more couples are opting for creative single-serve drinks to make a statement.
Just as the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic changed weddings in a multitude of ways, service for food and drink has definitely shifted. Avoiding standing in line at the bar while the bartender mixes a custom drink is key, and single-serve sips are the ideal solution. “Single-serve drinks can offer a sense of comfort and a new and clever way to serve guests,” says Aleah and Nick Valley, founders of Valley & Company Events.
Meet the Expert
One of the major benefits of offering single-serve drinks is the multitude of ways these sippers can be customized. Sure, there’s plenty of creativity that goes into coming up with a signature cocktail, but serving it in a simple glass only goes so far. “Couples are looking for fun ways to mix things up, and not just in a cocktail shaker,” says Cynthia West, owner of Creative Flow Co. It’s a way to enhance the entire bar experience, dressing up drinks with a different presentation to perfectly match the rest of your big day’s aesthetic. But don’t worry, those signature cocktails with clever names can still be included in the mix.
Looking for inspiration to incorporate single-serve drinks in your own wedding? Read on for some of our favorite ideas.
Serve Pre-Batched Cocktails
Long gone are the days of batched drinks served up in punch bowls, but that doesn’t mean pre-made cocktails don’t have a place at weddings. Pre-made cocktails can be served up in a variety of gorgeous ways, and by mixing them ahead of time, you’ll alleviate any potential for a line at the bar. Aleah and Nick Valley suggest offering pre-poured petite bottles filled with punch, sangria, or rosé slushies on tableside trays to set the tone. But it’s not just about serving a delicious drink.
“Take the opportunity to create drinks that look just as beautiful as they taste,” says Aleah and Nick Valley. “Spiked blood orange lemonade served in clear jars with frozen blood orange wedges or pink lemonade with flower petal ice cubes would make for lovely eye candy!” Set up drink stations throughout your venue with coordinating signage, or offer pre-batched drinks on a passed tray for elevated service.
Utilize Custom Bottles
Want to take your pre-made cocktails to the next level? Opt for custom bottles. “Similar to water pre-poured in your glass at a sit-down dinner, fun pre-chilled beverages in customized bottles can be placed at each place setting. It prevents guests from having to congregate at the bar for a refill,” says West.
Plus, the options for dressing up mini bottles are truly endless. “You can dress up bottles or jars with velvet ribbon and calligraphy-script tags either with guest names or the name of your drink, or add posies of flowers or herbs sinched around the necks of the bottles,” says Aleah and Nick Valley. West suggests looking to beautiful glass bottles with custom etching for another refined option.
Don’t Skip the Wine
Think you can’t include wine because of the bottle size? Think again. The vessels and ways in which wine is being packaged have definitely shifted in recent years. Long gone are the days of the standard 750-milliliter bottle being the only option. Canned wine and split bottles are definitely on the rise. “So many labels are now producing petite cans that can be a fun addition to a bar’s offerings,” says Aleah and Nick Valley. It all comes down to the way you present these mini cans or bottles. The Valleys suggest staging big grass baskets filled with ice, loose flowers, and grab-and-go-cans as a refreshing (and beautiful!) way to provide single-serve wines.
Double Drinks as Escort Cards
Want to offer single-serve drinks but make sure they have a dual-purpose? Turn them into escort cards! Serve pre-made cocktails or mocktails in unique vessels, with names and table numbers included. That way, everyone’s drink already has their name on it, and your single-serve drinks will match your wedding aesthetic in a variety of ways.
Make Mini Mocktails
“Non-alcohol beverages are a must at a wedding or party,” says Aleah and Nick Valley. “Sparkling lemonade garnished with herbs or fresh citrus wedges, cooling cucumber spa water with shaved cucumber, or sparkling water presented with floral-heavy ice cubes are all wonderful welcome beverages.”
Consider serving flavorful alcohol-free drinks such as garden shrubs topped with sparkling water in decorative bottles or jars. Each sipper can be prepped ahead of time by a bartender, without any need to form a line to grab a refreshing drink.
Wrap Canned Beverages
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your single-serve beer and wine cans. That traditional flashy label doesn’t have to show, and this option proves that serving beer at your wedding can still be pretty. The Valleys suggest presenting cans or bottles in a cheeky or comfy fashion with patterned recycled paper wraps or clear stickers imprinted with the couple’s name. “Paper wraps can be so chic!” they say. “Think beautiful botanical prints or personalized paper bags for a kitschy vibe.”
Plus, if you opt to do a paper wrap, it can serve multiple functions, offering information such as your wedding program or fun facts about you as a couple.
Celebrate With Mini Bottles of Champagne
Of course, it’s not a celebration without a bit of bubbly. But what’s the best way to serve up Champagne if it’s not a classic pour from a bottle? Check with your caterer to see if they can offer mini bottles of bubbles or even split bottles. That way, fewer people are passing the bottle around the table, and everyone has their own personal sipper. We love the idea of adding a paper straw!
Planning to serve up canned bubbly? Aleah and Nick Valley suggest handing out an embroidered napkin with a fun saying or a couple’s crest along with it for a special touch.
Don’t Forget to Hydrate
Of course, you’ll want a water source during your reception, but it doesn’t have to be a simple large dispenser with a spigot. “Mini bottles of San Pellegrino or boxed waters are great grab-and-go options during your reception,” says West. Small, customized bottles with paper wraps are a great choice as well. Set up a simple station to fit your theme to be sure guests stay hydrated throughout the day’s festivities.