Creative Cocktail Bar Ideas for Every Type of Wedding

Updated 03/26/14

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The first place guests hit after the wedding ceremony? The bar! Since it's such a popular spot at a reception, it's important to make the cocktail area one to remember. Here, we rounded up five creative and unexpected ways real brides and grooms served drinks at their weddings — from a modern beachside bash to an alfresco country-club celebration.

For weddings with a rustic theme, take pointers from the DIY beer bar pictured above. The couple, Mark and Danielle, married at Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu. "Mark made it on his own with old wood we collected from pallets and construction sites," says Danielle. "He didn't have a plan, he just built it! Then he drilled his own holes for the beer taps to come through." To make your own, you can purchase beer-tap supplies from a home-brewing website (like

Meg Smith

Photo: Meg Smith

For country-club affairs, this cocktail bar at a wine-country wedding planned by Northern California-based Laurie Arons Special Events is an elegant option. The grey-and-white bar perfectly complements the outdoor cocktail-hour setting and was rented through the couple's florist Kathleen Deery Design.

This oceanside bar is such a clever idea if you're getting married on the beach. Once the ceremony has concluded, your guests won't have to walk very far to get a cold beverage. You could even open the bar pre-ceremony for sparkling water as guests wait for the processional to begin.

Photo: Aaron Delesie

More glamourous bashes call for something statement making like this chic cocktail area featured at a Chicago wedding planned by Marina Birch of Birch Design Studio. The mirrored bar and geometric pattern accented the couple's white-and-gold color scheme and all-white reception tent.

Lastly, for a ballroom wedding with a tropical theme, this cocktail-bar idea is a way to bring the outdoors inside. The sides are decorated with bamboo and strands of white flowers, with lush palm fronds suspended overhead.

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