You May K.I.S.S. The Bar!

Keep It Super Simple to wet wedding guest whistles

Pinterest and other avenues of social media are a terrific place to find DIY projects and creative visions. They can also be a bride and groom’s worst nightmare if relied on too much. If you can’t budget for a wedding planner, drawing ideas from these sites can be at once both a blessing and a curse – especially when it comes to the bar.

The bar is one area where inspiration boards, well-meaning advice from loved ones, and your budget can quickly spin out of control. Having several choices of liquors, cocktails, wines, and beers can begin to add up. While you want your guests to have a good time, no drink selection is worth putting your bank account in the red. So whether you want beer and wine only or a mixed bar, here are some great ways to pick the bar menu that is right for you.

Stock Simple

  • You don’t need a full bar with every liquor and mixer, but a few staples can take you a long way. Start with whiskey, vodka, and gin, then consider tequila and/or rum depending on your crowd.
  • For easy mixers, you’ll need tonic, club soda, a fruit juice, and a standard selection of soda. Go the citrus route on garnishes and opt for lemons and limes.


Create a Cocktail

  • Work with your bartender to create a custom cocktail to let each of your tastes shine. Or make one together to celebrate your union. Put a twist on a classic and try a blackberry mojito.
  • Ditch the punchbowl and reach for a pitcher. Drinks like sangria, margaritas, ginger shandies can be made en masse, so your bartenders can pour them quickly and keep your guests happy.


Go the Wine Way

  • Wine at a wedding has an easy rule – you’ll want bubbly for a toast, and at least one red and one white.
  • for a light, crisp white wine like Pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc. (Chardonnay, though not usually considered light and refreshing, is also a popular option.) For a red, go with the versatile Pinot noir or a friendly cabernet sauvignon.


Cheers for Beer

  • Like wine, you’ll need at least two types of beer – one light and one strong – or one keg with a medium ABV level. Don’t fret if you can’t afford trendy craft beers. Your standard domestic and/or imported beers will do just fine. If you can budget in a craft beer, go with one with a flavor profile you love.
  • Also keep in mind the season – a heavy, dark beer won’t “pair” very well with a summer outdoor wedding, but might be a welcome comfort in the winter.


Beyond Shirley Temples

  • Whether you are having a “dry” wedding or want to offer your guests a non-alcoholic alternative at the bar, there are ways to keep things feeling festive. If you can slip it into the budget, a special non-alcoholic drink is a great addition to your wedding day.
  • For something fizzy to replace Champagne, there are plenty of sparkling fruit juices to choose. Play off the flavors of the season and go with sparkling lemonade in the spring and sparkling apple cider in the fall. Flavored teas and craft ginger ale are also great options.


Blackberry Mojito


  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 2 ounces club soda
  • ½ ounce lime juice, or 3 lime wedges
  • 6-7 mint leaves
  • 3 blackberries
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup (1 tablespoon of sugar will do)
  • Cup of ice



  1. In a boston cocktail shaker, muddle limes, mint leaves, blackberries, and simple syrup until pulverized. Add rum and ice and shake for 10 seconds.
  2. Pour contents into a glass (no straining) and top with two ounces of club soda. Stir and garnish with mint leaves and blackberry.


Citrus Bourbon Punch


  • 3 cups of bourbon
  • 4 liters of ginger ale
  • 2 liters of orange juice
  • 1 cup of pineapple juice
  • 4 medium oranges, juiced



Pour everything into the punch decanter and stir with a large spoon
Serve over ice with an orange slice garnish

(makes about 28, 8 oz. drinks)


Cosmos by the pitcher


  • 4 cups prepared limeade
  • 2 cups vodka
  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup triple sec
  • 12 lime slices



1. Mix all ingredients in a pitcher. Place in the refrigerator and let chill.
2. Serve in martini glasses and garnish with a lime slice.

(makes about 10, 6 oz. drinks)