A guide to choosing the drinks to serve at your wedding, from Champagne to winter warmer ideas.

When you book a wedding venue, one of the decisions you’ll have to make is what to serve and how you’ll serve the drinks throughout your reception. Get some advice from the team at your chosen wedding venue and always ensure that you’ve allocated enough drink for all of your guests, regardless of their age.

Getting the timings right

It can be good to encourage guests to pace themselves during the early stages of your wedding reception, especially if you know some are big drinkers.

However, bear in mind that the first drink tends to go very quickly, and thereafter the rate reduces. Guests may have had a long day already by the time it comes to your celebratory drinks reception, so choosing a time, a place, and a great selection of drinks to serve at this point in the day is essential.

One thing that can cause disappointment for your guests is the dry receiving line. Make sure that the venue understands that you want trays of drinks delivered to any queuing guests and you will avoid this. Perhaps have a member of staff walking up and down the receiving line, topping up drinks where necessary.

During the wedding breakfast, typically as part of the drinks package offered by your wedding venue or caterer, your guests will be served white and red wine as well as still and sparkling water as they eat. You can decide whether you wish to have glasses topped up or if you prefer guests to serve themselves (with waiters removing empty bottles replacing them with full ones). If you wish your guests to also have access to the bar to widen the choice of meal drinks, make sure that your venue is aware because this will slow service (or clearing at the end of each course) and your timetable will need adjustment. Make sure that you have given the venue instructions on what you want to happen when the drinks allowance is exhausted.

Provide options for all your guests

When planning the food and drink for your wedding, think about the different types of wedding guests that you may be inviting. If you think that a lot of the male guests would enjoy a cold beer as opposed to a glass of fizz directly after your wedding ceremony, consider having poly pins of beer or a selection of beers at the ready for them to easily pick up. Older guests may enjoy something more traditional, such as a glass of Champagne or Prosecco.

Don’t forget to think about guests who may be pregnant, driving, or those who don’t drink alcohol and will therefore require a non-alcoholic drink. And, when it comes to the kids, a choice of soft drinks would be ideal.

Our expert advice

With over 25 years of experience in planning and hosting weddings at our three beautiful venues, we’ve come up with the perfect drinks package to keep your guests happy throughout your big day.

To kick things off, we start with the reception drinks. The guests will receive 2 and a half glasses of the drink options chosen by the couple. At our venues, we can open the bar at most points during the day to cater to those whose tipple isn’t served as a drink choice.

The wedding breakfast shortly follows where each guest’s glass will be topped up with the equivalent of half a bottle of wine. The classic choice is to provide a red and white wine for the tables (with still and sparkling water served throughout), but custom choices are also available.

Finally, we have a glass of bubbly for the speeches, with an average of three toasts, a glass of fizz for cheers-ing is essential. From here we head into the evening celebrations where money can be put behind the bar and the drinks are selected in advance, or simply have a paying bar serving the full menu from fruity cocktails to cold beers.