When it comes to your unique wedding day, food and drinks are a very important part of it, especially if you opt for a destination wedding in Italy – land of genuine food and incredible wines. I already spoke about catering and wines, today I would like to give you some insight about how the wedding bar works in Italy and what advice I usually give to the couples who choose me as their wedding planner and designer. It may sound easy but there are some important things about the wedding bar you should know.
There are usually two formulas for the wedding bar in Italy:
– Based on consumption – you are charged a price per drink consumed. In this case, each drink has a price and you pay for what you and your guests actually drink;
– Open bar – the price is usually per person per hour – you know the cost in advance and every guest can have an unlimited number of drinks.
The bar service depends on the catering but also on the wedding venue. Some locations can have restrictions and only serve drinks based on consumption or by package.
What kind of bar to choose from? My advice is usually for the open bar but always consider how much do your guests like to drink. Normally, people will drink 4-6 cocktails during the night (after dinner), others won’t drink anything that contains alcohol at all. Consider that the legal age when you can start drinking in Italy is 18 years old.
Another difference is between the bar provided by your catering and professional barmen. Those who do it as a profession usually have more drink types and bar counter types. They can often do flair bartending (yeah, those acrobatics your guest will love) and delight everyone with a lot more information about what they are drinking.
Before the wedding reception, we usually propose to the guests an aperitivo outside where they can start admiring the venue, the majestic cypress lines or vineyards, and the famous Tuscan rolling hills in the surroundings.
How does an aperitivo in Italy work during a wedding? Italians start with lighter drinks, like prosecco or prosecco-based cocktails (Hugo, Rossini, Bellini), Rosé, red or white wine, or Aperol Spritz. If you want different cocktails to be served, it can be arranged, but if you want your guests to be in good shape until the cut of the cake, better go with lighter drinks on aperitivo, Prosecco for the speeches, and Italian red or white wine for dinner, so you can leave Margarita and Mojito to the bar after the dinner.
A very important thing to ask the quality of alcohol does the bar use. Saying “tequila” or “rum” is not enough. Before you sign a contract be sure to check the brands the barman uses are good ones. When it comes to drinks, quality matters a lot and your guest will surely appreciate it the next day as well.
How can you make your wedding bar special? By making it resonate with the theme of your wedding or your couple. In the post about rituals I described a “Signature drink” we had to celebrate the bride’s father who couldn’t travel to the wedding. You can name your cocktails differently, personalize them or ask the barman to create something special for you that represents you as a couple or that matches the wedding theme. Be bold and creative! Come up with an original name for your signature drink, you and your guests will remember it forever for sure!
Another piece of advice I always give is to have a menu of drinks your guests can choose from, to give them an idea about what’s available – to make their evening comfortable and ease the communication with the barman. The more information you can give, the better.
Now when you know everything about the wedding bar, if you need a wedding planner and designer to make your reception unique, contact me and I will go above and beyond to help you make your wedding tailored on you and really special.