Can We Serve Alcohol at a Morning Wedding?

Hair of the dog, anyone?

Updated 09/19/17

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What’s not to love about a morning wedding? The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and you’ve still got a whole day to celebrate once you’ve tied the knot! Of course, saying “I do” before noon can bring up a few questions you don’t have to worry about if you’re having an evening wedding. One such concern: Can you serve alcohol at a morning or daytime wedding? We’ve turned to the experts to find out whether those hours before noon are too early to pop the bubbly.

While a wedding will definitely still be a wedding without booze, no matter what time it takes place, don’t let an early start time prevent you from serving a cocktail to your guests. Remember, morning weddings share a start time with something we hold very dear: brunch! So if you and your friends can sip mimosas before noon just because it’s the weekend, celebrating something momentous (you know, a wedding!) is an even better reason to let those drinks flow.

Of course, what you serve and how you serve it is key. Unlike a cocktail reception, where you can get away with heavy hors d’oeuvres and mixed drinks, you’ll want to serve a full meal at a morning wedding so there’s something to soak up the alcohol and keep your guests full as they continue with their day.

If your ceremony is at 10 a.m. (which means the reception will begin before 11), consider a full brunch menu. Think eggs, pancakes or waffles, fresh fruit, and your favorite pastries. Mimosas, Bellinis, or other fruit-and-champagne concoctions are the perfect accompaniment, as are Bloody Marys and spiked coffee drinks. Consider a bar complete with booze, bases, and your favorite mix-ins so guests can customize their drinks, whether they prefer strawberries in their champagne or jalapeños with their Clamato.

Getting married a little later in the morning? Treat guests to a wedding luncheon instead. A multicourse meal, with a salad, lighter lunch fare, and dessert, is an elegant and indulgent choice. Here, you could opt for more traditional wine pairings instead of brunch cocktails. Just look for wines that are lighter in both style and alcohol content (like a Gamay or Pinot Grigio), and save those heavy Cabernets for dinner.

What about mixed drinks? These are usually saved until later in the day, and chances are your guests won’t mind the lack of an open bar if they are drinking before 5 p.m. If you really want to offer something other than the above cocktails or glasses of wine, keep the choices light and limited. Choose a signature cocktail that is on the low-alcohol spectrum—choose Aperols, sparkling rosés, and light dabs of gin as your go-to bases. There’s no need to put bourbon on the bar this early in the day!

And of course, make sure you have choices for guests who don’t drink, too. This is the perfect time to offer fresh fruit juices, flavored waters, or a variety of iced teas or coffee drinks.

Here are six low-alcohol cocktails from our Spotlight on Signature Cocktails series that are perfect for serving up at a daytime or morning wedding.

THE 305 DAIQUIRI cocktail the liquor cabinet

Sam Ortiz

"Guatemalan rum plays nicely with the Italian apéritif Aperol for a slightly less boozy, slightly more fruity, and definitely more bitter sipper, ideal for serving poolside the day after the wedding." —Patrick, the Liquor Cabinet

HOWL AT THE JUN cocktail the liquor cabinet

Sam Ortiz

"This rosy riff on a French 75 incorporates 'jun'—a Tibetan style of kombucha fermented from wild honey—along with gin, grapefruit, and sparkling rosé. Light with just the right amount of effervescence." —Patrick, the Liquor Cabinet

Death & Co

"Classic fall flavors of apples, dried fruits, nuts, and loads of earthiness make this a perfect a low-alcohol option." —Tyson, Death & Co

Union Fare Spritzcurious cocktail

Front of House NYC

"This cocktail is our go-to low-alcohol apertif option. Served in a wine glass, we use Cocchi Rosa (made from two red grapes, herbs, fruits, and spices), banana liqueur, sparkling wine, and Fino Sherry. This cocktail is off-dry, with just a touch of banana." —Cody, Union Fare

bob peters connect four cocktail

Justin Driscoll Photo

"Edible flowers that complement the flavors of the cocktail are so pretty and so purposeful." —Bob Peters, the Punchroom

beautiful booze sunset mimosa cocktail

Courtesy of Beautiful Booze

"If you're having a brunch party to celebrate your special occasion, these Sunset Mimosas are the perfect libation to take you and your guests from morning 'til evening. The Mimosa is a classic cocktail—it's delicious, boozy, and because of the low alcohol content, you can sip all day." —Natalie, Beautiful Booze

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