Open bars have become a staple at wedding receptions, but they can often be a stress-inducing part of wedding planning, especially if you don't know much about the protocol and cost of serving liquor to a large group.
We reached out to bartenders, who are experts in everything from saving money to proper alcohol etiquette, to dole out advice to couples who plan on offering an open bar at their wedding.
What should every couple know about offering an open bar?
“Their bar service should be TIPS certified (Training for Intervention Procedures) to be sure to monitor sobriety and to insure legal aged service only, “ says John Hines of Bartenders Express in Branford, Connecticut.
“A reputable company will help guide you on counts, trends and even cost-saving tips. Alcohol calculators are not always accurate,” says Jennifer Smith of Bartenders4you in Selma, Texas.
“Having an adequately staffed bar ensures the quality of the drinks and speeds up the line, making the guests happier," says Nicholas Callanta of Martini Black Bartending and Event Services in Chicago, Illinois.
“Keep it simple. Try to appease a general audience. Just because your aunt or uncle likes a particular vodka, wine, or beer, doesn’t mean you should support the whole reception with it,” says David Love of Just Bartending in Enola, Pennsylvania.
What does a typical open bar include?
“Your typical open bar should include the basics, 2 or 3 beer choices, 2 or 3 wine choices and your basic liquors such as whiskey, bourbon, vodka, rum, gin, scotch and tequila. Along with your basic mixers such as juices, tonic, club soda, assorted sodas, sweet and sour, and garnishes. With these basic ingredients a mixologist can make hundreds of cocktails, ”says Smith of Bartenders4you.
“An open bar can be as simple as beer and wine and be as complicated as specialty crafted cocktails. The decision is ultimately up to the client but generally, a fair selection of beer, wine, and liquor to accommodate all taste buds and drinking preferences,” says Love of Just Bartending.