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It's wedding season! June is one of the three most popular months for weddings, along with September and October. The best weather conditions exist. The temperature is just right—not too hot, not too cold. There's minimal rain. Well . . . for the most part. It's the perfect time. So, send out the invitations, round up the crew, tell the pastor, the priest, the rabbi, the imam, the pandit, the minister, the officiant, "I do."

Stocking The Bar

For this to be one of the most joyous celebrations in a person's life, planning a wedding can be an overwhelming and stressful experience. After settling on a color scheme—after making the final cut of family and friends who were lucky enough to make onto the guest list—and, after the heated disagreement why cousin Bertha couldn't be included in the count—you begin to question your commitment. As your resident bartender/mixologist, I'm here to alleviate some of that stress. It's my job, after you've made it down the aisle, to help you dance the night away.

First . . . a few questions. How many people are you expecting to attend the reception (including or excluding cousin Bertha)? How long will the reception last?

" . . . the rule of thumb is to anticipate that each guest will drink one drink per hour." 

Okay, here's the deal when it comes to stocking the bar. For a four-hour reception (which is usually the norm), the rule of thumb is to anticipate that each guest will drink one drink per hour. So, if your guest list includes 100 guests, plan to serve 400 drinks (100 X 4). Calm down, some people may not drink at all, or they may drink less. Sure, some may drink more, but keep in mind you'll also be serving other beverages such as soft drinks, water, maybe iced tea, or lemonade, too. And, keep in mind that all 100 of your guests may not attend the reception. Either way, don't worry, Mixin' Mimi has you covered. Question three . . .

Will your venue allow you to provide your own alcohol? Good. You can save a whole lot of money this way. Purchasing your own alcohol is the most cost-effective approach, especially if you're working within a tight budget. One note of caution, though, make sure that your bartender has liability insurance. You could be held liable for any alcohol-related injuries should something happen to any of your guests on the drive home. Relax. Mixin' Mimi has general liability insurance that covers you, your guests, and your venue (should any damages occur). If you don't want the extra-added task of going out and purchasing your own alcohol, Mixin' Mimi offers a variety of full and limited-service packages that provide everything needed for the bar.

  "Guests love an open bar."

What type of bar service will you be offering?  

Now that you've figured out the logistics involving the alcohol, here's my fourth and final question . . . "What type of bar service do you intend to offer?" Here are your choices—open, cash, full or limited bar service. Guests love an open bar. It allows them to drink for the duration of the wedding reception without having to spend a dime. It makes your guests feel special. It shows that you are generous enough to treat them on your special day. Translation—you've covered the entire cost of the bar. Mind you, this is the most expensive option.

"Nobody wants to pay club prices at the wedding reception."

An alternative to an open bar is the cash bar. With this option, your guests will have to pay for their drinks (usually at reduced rates) at the reception. Cheapskate! Fine. Money is tight. I do understand. At least, pay something toward the bar costs, so that your guests can purchase their drinks at a reduced rate. Nobody wants to pay club prices at the wedding reception.

Although, an open bar is the most costly option, you can still save money based on your offerings at the bar. You can choose between a full or limited-service bar. A full-service open bar is just like it sounds. It's a fully stocked bar with everything, or whatever liquors and mixers your bartender offers with their full service packages. Mixin' Mimi offers several variations of full-service bar packages. Beer, wine, alcohol, and mixers (e.g., juices and soft drinks) come with a full bar. This usually includes one or two types of beers, two types of white wine, two types of red wine, vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and whiskey. Expect to pay more for Champagne.

A limited-service bar, limits what is offered at your bar. This can be accomplished in many ways. A good example would be a beer and wine service only, which is quite popular nowadays. Limiting your bar offerings to a few, select types of alcohol (e.g., vodka, gin, and whiskey only), instead of a full array of spirits, is another way of limiting your bar service and reducing your costs. Other ways of limiting your bar service may include limiting your bar offerings to the ingredients of your signature/specialty cocktails, limiting the consumption of alcohol to a cocktail hour, or offering a BYOB (build your own bar). A more detailed description of these options will be discussed in a later post. Stay tuned. Just keep in mind, open and cash bars determine who is going to pay for the drinks at the reception—you or your guests—and limited and full-service bar options determine what will be offered at the bar, despite who is paying.

Next week, I'll give you some tips on planning your bar budget. Until next time . . . serving the art you can taste.

I asked...I said YES!

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