The 5 Ways to Serve Alcohol at Your Wedding

Hint: There are other options besides an open bar

Whiskey Bar

Photo by Lauren Fair Photography

One of the things guests are most excited for at any wedding they go to is an open bar. Where else can you go on a Saturday night where you don't have to reach for your wallet to pay for drink after drink? But when you're the ones paying for it, you will see it costs a pretty penny to have unlimited alcoholic drinks available for guests all night long.

While open bars might seem like the only option for you and your wedding, there are other ways you can serve alcohol that might save you cash—and still impress your guests. Here are five ways to serve alcohol at your wedding.

1. Specialty

If you or your partner are big fans of a certain type of spirit or liquor, you can do one or two types of bars that offer just that kind of alcohol. Whether it's a whiskey-only bar or a red-wine-only bar, the choice is ultimately up to you—and your guests will drink whatever you put in front of them.

2. Consumption

Unlike an open bar (where the couple plays a flat price for unlimited choices all night long), this kind of bar lets the couple pay per drink that is consumed by guests. If you and your guests are not heavy drinkers, this option might make the most sense for your wedding budget.

3. Soft

Keep your open bar simple with a soft bar. This option offers only beer, wine, and champagne. While your guests may wonder where the hard alcohol is, they will surely enjoy the offerings—and most likely you will have everyone imbibing at a more refined pace.

4. Signature

Pick three or four signature cocktails for your wedding and serve just those for the night. While you're at it, make them complement the theme of your wedding, adding to your wedding branding. Regardless of which type of cocktail concoctions you choose, your guests will enjoy drinking delicious personalized cocktails to celebrate your special day.


Some venues allow you to bring your own alcohol in or—better yet—have your guests bring their BYOB drink of choice. Serve your own alcohol favorites and offer wedding guests the option to bring a bottle of their favorite thing to drink as well.


Jen Glantz is a "professional bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaids' dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.

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