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Ideas & Suggestions for Wedding Drinks at the Reception

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At the reception, wedding drinks will play a large role in setting the scene, accommodating the guests and creating a welcoming atmosphere where everyone feels relaxed and part of the proceedings. This article takes a closer look at wedding drinks and highlights when they should be served and what drinks options are available.




From the moment the ceremony is over, attention turns to the wedding reception. Whether it’s a tranquil relaxed affair or something more vibrant and upbeat, the wedding drinks will have a large role to play in setting the scene and creating the required vibe. From cocktails as the guests arrive to champagne to accompany the wedding speeches, wedding drinks are required in all the right places – let’s now take a look at just where those places are…



Welcome Drinks

It's customary to serve each of the wedding guests a beverage as they arrive at the wedding reception. Whilst couples are free to choose any drink they desire, typically these wedding drinks will reflect both the season, theme and weather more than any other drinks during the day so it is important that the couple get their choice just right. Some of the most popular offerings are oulined below:

  • Champagne (the quintessential wedding drink)
  • Sparkling Wine (a popular, cheaper alternative to champagne)
  • Kir Royale (champagne or sparkling wine with Kirsh, a cherry liquor)
  • Bucks Fizz (champagne or sparkling wine with fresh orange juice)
  • Pimms & Lemonade (ideal for a summer wedding)
  • Fruit Punch (fresh and fruity - a great all-rounder)
  • Mulled Wine (perfect for winter wedding receptions)

Either distributed to waiters and waitresses on platters or simply lined up on large tables close to the entrance, it's imperative that there is more than enough to go around, and that those who are either too young or who choose not to drink to drink alcohol are also catered for. As such, soft drink alternatives (fresh orange/pineapple juice for example) are a potential option, or simply serve non-alcoholic equivalents of your chosen wedding drinks - lemondae in lieu of sparkling wine, an alcohol free fruit punch, cherryade instead of Kir Royale etc.



Table Drinks

When it comes to the issue of the wedding drinks to be consumed by guests during the meal, things can become a little tricky and expensive - unless you give it plenty of careful thought beforehand.


Offer an endless supply of wine, and some guests may sadly take advantage of your kind generosity. Provide no drinks at all, and you could send out the wrong message to those who have been invited or see them trailing backwards and forwards to the bar throughout the wedding breakfast. Many couples will therefore opt for a compromise.


A popular solution to the table wedding drinks issue is to add a limited number of unopened wine bottles of wine to each table, alongside still and/or sparkling water. Leaving the bottles unopened will allow you to arrange for waiters to open then pour the first glasses. Combining this with a small amount of money metaphorically 'behind the bar' will ensure that should a guest decline a glass, they can be asked by the waiter if they would prefer a soft drink from the bar as an alternative. The waiters will then order the drink from the bar and deduct it from the pot. Opting for this solution will not only minimise your expense but also cater for both drinkers and teetotalers alike.


In terms of quantities of wine, you should look to provide each guest with between 2 glasses and ½ a bottle of wine, with many weddings serving up both red and white wine to each table. With this in mind, for an average table of 8 guests, between two and four bottles is the norm.


Toasting Drinks

If speeches and toasts are part of the wedding reception, and at many weddings they indeed will be, then toast drinks are an essential accompaniment. Each of the three main wedding speeches (Father of the Bride speech, Groom speech and Best Man speech) should end with a toast, at which point each wedding guest will be required to lift their toasting glass and take a sip.


As with the other wedding drinks, couples are free to choose whatever toasting drink they desire, but traditionally the toast of choice is champagne - after all, what better way to toast the happy couple than with the most 'luxurious' drink around! For a more cost effective option, sparkling wine makes a great alternative, or if you'd prefer to stick with the exclusive but want something a little different, why not consider pink champagne or instead add wild hibiscus for a unique colouring and dramatic effect.


Historically it's good luck for everyone to participate in the toasts so make sure the venue is able to provide soft drink alternatives for youngsters and non-drinkers on your guest list to get your life together off on a good footing.


One glass per person needs to be catered for and, to help you calculate costs, a bottle of wine or champagne will typically serve around 8.



Related: There are hundreds of wedding articles on the site, each filled with superb ideas, advice and inspiration. Check out the links in the left hand column to read more. Alternatively, to search for a local wedding venue, product or service provider, try our Wedding Directory. With over 13,000 companies already listed, you're sure to find what you're looking for.


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