How-to: open bar and alcohol for your wedding
In this article, we briefly outline the general ideas, but if you want a visual chart and a list of what to get, just go... More
When you prepare for the wedding, there is never "too much" of anything. Over the time we've been running this wedding site, WeddingVenture.com has heard a ton of things people tend to forget to bring enough of for the wedding. And we're not talking about some special items or about people who just plan conservatively - we're talking about major things that even most detail-oriented couples can't seem to get enough of.
From over a hundred items, we distilled our "TOP 15" list of things that most, if not all, run out of on that special day most often.
If you have a great tip, share it with us using the comments section below!
Yes, lipstick. Surprised? You shouldn't be. After all, you will be kissing all throughout the day - at the ceremony, for the photos, and pretty much continuously during the reception (it's guests' favorite torture for the newlyweds - keep making the couple kiss after the first dance, after each toast and at the end of each section of the reception). Even the best lipstick will get smudged quickly - and you will need to reapply actively.
Two scenarios here. Scenario one: your guests will not be at all familiar with each other (for example, if your college friends are flying over, your family is coming from across the country, and your future spouse's family is coming over from a totally different part of the country). In this case, they will likely spend a lot of time sitting behind the tables waiting for more and more icebreakers. Reception games and entertainment that's silly and embarrassing will work well here.
Alternatively, everybody will know each other or simply will get to know each other very quickly. In that case, everyone will get drunk too quickly, leaving a big void for quality entertainment. Keep in mind that the program will be aimed mostly at entertaining you, the couple, so the guests will need to be kept well engaged throughout the night.
Nothing feels better to a bride than realizing the next morning how many flowers she got. It feels special to be showered with flowers on the day of your wedding. And all of these flowers are for you! Well, in most cases, the guests will either not bring any flowers at all (and all you have to deal with is the bleak decorating flowers that you will see the next morning), or they will bring too many flowers and there will not be enough vases to put the flowers in. Thus, you will have flowers in sinks, serving bowls, and even empty alcohol bottles by the end of the night.
To ensure you're not going to end up without any flowers on your special day (guests are not as mindful as you'd think), here is a tip: ask the groom to kindly give your guests a hint to bring some flowers for you. While this might sound too "planned," isn't this entire process you're going through right now?
It may seem that by the time the cake is cut, guests should be completely full to eat a lot of it. Yet by the next morning, the cake always magically disappears. You get up to realize there is no cake really left, but you do want something sweet to remember the previous day by. So do yourself a favor - order your cake artist to create a separate piece of the cake - perhaps not as beautifully decorated - ahead of time, delivered at the same time as the main cake but hidden in the fridge until the next morning, for you and your husband to enjoy.
Let's face it - nobody wants to be a D.D. at the wedding. Sure, you have that friend that does not drink, and maybe even two, but hey - one or two designated drivers is just not enough to get everyone home or to the hotels from the wedding. And at the weddings, people tend to drink. So plan a transportation for your guests as a separate line item in your plan!
"Give them enough water after the reception, and they'll definitely remember your wedding fondly"
No, not just water (catering can usually provide jars of drinking water) - water bottles. One golden rule of serving alcohol at a wedding that every state-licensed bartender lives by is: "Give them enough water after the reception, and they'll definitely remember your wedding fondly."
It's too common of a scenario: drunken crowds leave the reception, head for the cabs and then straight into beds. At this point, your guests will be so dehydrated that the next morning won't be kind to them. As a result, they won't remember your wedding without remembering the pain of a hangover and the headache the next morning. If you want to leave your guests feeling great, have everyone grab a water bottle or two on their way out, and you'll be greeted with smiles the next morning, not grimaces of pain.
Too many couples plan too many things for the day. You too, despite thinking of yourself as a great planner will most likely plan much more than you can fit in the day.
Let's take Josh and Amanda as an example. Josh and Amanda recently had a ceremony that was to start around noon (that's what the guests were told; the actual time of the reception was scheduled for 1:15 PM to allow all the latecomers to arrive since guests and friends were coming from all over the country), then as guests enjoyed the cocktails and entertainment at the cocktail hour, the couple was to spend two hours doing a photo session in the local town with a photographer. After that, they wanted to spend 15 minutes on a memorable traditional activity and head to the reception.
That plan, of course, did not work out as planned. It was clear the event won't start at 1 PM since the hair and make-up for the bride took a bit too long earlier in the morning, and after the ceremony, the crowd wanted to take pictures with the newlyweds, delaying the planned "bride and groom only" photo session. In the end, the traditional family activity was skipped for the sake of finally getting to the reception site and starting the celebration. To avoid rushing your own day, plan to add extra 30 minutes of transitions between any two activity line items on your schedule.
Believe it or not, the only people who would have prepared a toast will be the parents of the bride and groom. Even then, ensure they tell the MC ahead of time what kind of toast they'll be making and how long it will take. The MC will schedule them in at the appropriate timeslot - either separately or as a couple.
After that, you'll run out of people willing to go for a toast. People will feel like they'd be competing with prepared toasts, the fear of public speaking will kick in, etc. So you need to assign toasts ahead of time - again, have the MC practice the toasts with the guests ahead of time so that the toasts are concise, interesting and coherent (who doesn't have an older aunt who can take 10 minutes to convey a thought?). Ensure MC's schedule contains any and all "key" toasts, and then you can leave space for 2-3 toasts that are "unplanned." By giving people time to prepare good toasts before the wedding, you will get to be surprised by witty and interesting toasts on your special day.
This is simple - even if you end up hiring a professional MC, have something available for them to reward the crowd for participation in the entertainment program during the reception. It does not need to be big or expensive - packs of Skittles or something else small and colorful will serve as tokens that are sufficient to drive the participation and create a competitive spirit, but is not expensive enough to create upset participants who will dispute the judging because they really wanted a certain prize.
There could always be more. Rose petals create a great sense of celebration and luxury but could be pricey and hard to maintain freshness. For that reason, get what you need, have that delivered the morning of the wedding (not the night before), and get more than you think you need. The more petals you have, the more luxurious the entire wedding will seem on the photographs.
You go to 5 different weddings, and you will hear 5 sets of the same wedding tracks. If you get the band, they'll be sure to play the same wedding songs that they played at a wedding the day before and will play the day after. If you're not the first of your friends to get married, count on boring everyone with exactly the same repertoire as all the brides that came before you. Instead, opt for something original and not too cheesy. WeddingVenture.com has a bunch of articles on how to select original music for your wedding - check out those articles separately.
We've written before on why your wedding photos could - or even should - be your #1 investment in the wedding planning, but even then, your main photographer will most likely be focusing on only the central set of activities at your wedding. You could hire - or even find for free - a secondary, backup photographer, but that photographer will also likely only track the "main characters" (i.e. you) at the wedding. What you won't have enough of is the photos of behind-the-scenes and of your guests. Most guests will take a dozen photos at most throughout the day, and if they are really having fun, they will most likely not even remember that they brought a camera with them even if they did.
We at WeddingVenture.com have seen a ton of great examples on how to get the most photos from your wedding. At one wedding, each table had 2-3 disposable cameras for the guests to use (you can get a bunch of cheap Kodak or Fuji Quick Snap Waterproof Disposable Cameras for your wedding - look for something with a good flash since it'll likely be dark).
Any major store with a photoshop in it will usually take a disposable film camera in for processing and can produce digital shots on a CD. You can give these cameras to your caterer, cake artist, band, etc ahead of time to get unique "behind the scenes" perspective - ask them to take photos when they cook, decorate the cake, wait before the event starts on the day of the wedding, etc. Some vendors will agree, others might choose not to participate, but you'll surely get more behind-the-scenes candid photos that you would otherwise.
This is applicable to you only if you're making a self-serve bar and will not be hosting a professional crew of bartenders. What cocktails should you serve? Vodka and rum are easy to predict - but what to mix them with? When we were getting married recently, this task was easy. Daniel happens to be a state-licensed bartender. He was trained using this book, but it's now a bit old and out of print - you can get a The Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Master Bartender or at a local library, for example. Create a list of 7 cocktails - that the two of you, the engaged couple, like the most - those will make your "signature" cocktails - HIS and HERS. Another 5 should be the five most common cocktails (see the most popular wedding cocktails) - just provide your guests with instructions, and let them have a good choice of what to drink.
Relax and go with it. It's your day after all!
Anyone who's gone through the wedding themselves will tell you this: things will go wrong (see our article called "17 things that go wrong most often during the wedding"). People will be late. Electronics won't cooperate. You'll run out of time.
However, don't let that make you forget the main purpose of your day. One of the biggest surprises that our readers report is how quickly the wedding day goes for them - all they remember is waking up and then the day is already over! So spend this day on yourself, and ignore everything that does not go according to the plan.
Relax and go with it. It's your day after all!
Yes, this is the top #1 item that wedding couples report running out of. We were going to put "Patience" (#2 above) as #1 since it causes the most stress, but champagne is literally what most couples run out of the fastest.
Your guests will be drinking champagne as they wait first for the ceremony to begin and then during the cocktail hour as they wait for the reception to start. You and your guests will be drinking champagne as you toast throughout the evening. By the time the cake is served, you will realize you're completely out of champagne. So plan for about three times the amount of champagne that you're initially planning to have (it's ok not to make every bottle Veuve Clicquot and opt for Costco-sold champagne). That way you definitely won't run out.
Happy planning your wedding!
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