Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Save On The Bar With Signature Wedding Cocktails

A Bride On A Budget received the three small bottles of Couvoisier for this post. 

If you love these recipes, be sure to Yum them here: Yum

When you're making your wedding budget, the bulk of your money will go towards your reception. Food and drinks for your guests is expensive, but you can't expect your guests to show up on a full stomach. If you want to save money on the venue, make smart decisions about the bar.

You have a couple options. You can have a cash bar (so your guests pay for their own drinks, although I'm not a fan of that at all); you can have a set tab (and when your guests drink through your set budget it turns into a cash bar); you can close the bar during dinner hour (so your five hour reception only costs you four hours of an open bar); or you can serve beer and wine without liquor. If you choose the latter, consider tweaking it just a bit and serve signature cocktails. That way, if your guests do want mixed drinks, you can still provide them, but at a much cheaper cost. See, by offering signature wedding cocktails, you only have to stock the bar with a couple types of liquor instead of a full bar of them. Less liquor equals less cost.

Cocktails are hot right now and craft cocktail bars popping up all over. In fact, we went to two last summer for Pete's birthday that had very cool and different -- and extensive -- menus. Neither of them had taps, and I actually don't think you could get bottled beer either. There was a lot on the menus that I had never heard of (although, I don't drink alcohol, so it's not exactly difficult to find drinks that are new to me).

If your guests are the kind of people who order the usual every time they're at the bar, you might want to introduce them to something new. You can either create a signature cocktail for your wedding (if you're into craft cocktails, this is the way to go) or you can just suggest drinks they might not choose otherwise. But you're not going to be tending bar so you can offer options. Instead, create a cocktail menu for the bar, then hand a recipe menu to the bartenders.

Save on your wedding bar tab with signature wedding cocktails.Get an idea of what to serve at
Photo credit, MilkBananaStudio on Etsy
I found the above menu made by MilkBananaStudio on Etsy. You can base your wedding bar menu off those signature wedding cocktails or you can use our suggestions.


Courvoisier Sidecar
2 parts Couvoisier VSOP cognac (50 mL bottle)
1/2 part lemon juice (2.5 tsp.)
1/5 part sugar syrup (1 tsp.)
1/2 part orange liqueur (2.5 tsp.)

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake. Strain into a glass.


Bloody Mary
3 parts tomato juice
1 1/2 parts vodka
1/2 part lemon juice
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
To taste:
Ground pepper
Hot pepper sauce
Celery stalk

3 parts champagne
1 part orange juice
(Check out my DIY Mimosa Bar from our wedding)


1.5 ounces gin
1.5 ounces dry vermouth
0.25 teaspoon maraschino liqueur
0.25 teaspoon anise liqueur
2 dashes bitters
Maraschino cherry for garnish

Wedding Cake Vodka Tonics
1 part wedding cake vodka
2 parts tonic water

If you like signature cocktails, be sure to check out our wedding signature cocktails by season:

BRIDAL BABBLE: What signature wedding cocktails would you add to your menu?


  1. Very nice post. Open bars aren't really a thing here, variations on culture. Though I love the thought of signature cocktails for your guests.

  2. I've never had Courvoisier, but this sounds like a good recipe to try it. Thanks!

  3. This is such a great idea! The wedding cake vodka is very tasty, especially mixed with a diet cherry soda (Like Zevia). That's our go to drink when we are camping.

  4. Love all the great info & ideas - esp love the signage - think that's a fab idea!!

  5. I like the idea of beer and wine with one signature cocktail. The cocktail really opens up to introducing something new to your guests as you mentioned, and can also be tied into your theme as well with the signage and colors of the drink

  6. I like this idea! Will have to try Wedding Cake vodka!

  7. I love going to wedding receptions with a signature drink. It's always fun to see what they come up with. I like the recipe you have :)

  8. Like the theme signature cocktails idea. I drink anything, so I don't know what special drinks I would pick. Different flavors of margaritas maybe.

    Aria H.

  9. Nice ideas and variations for those on a budget.

  10. This is a great idea for staying within budget at the bar. I also love that sign and idea at the top.

  11. What a great way to stay on budget when serving alcohol at a wedding. I think that the drinks sound delicious and it is a good idea to just have signature drinks. It saves a lot of money!!

  12. I like the idea of creating a cocktail menu for the bar and creating a signature drink. It's easier to stay simple.

  13. These recipes look very tasty. Thanks for sharing!

  14. I'm the beverage manager for a catering company, and here's the thing...the only way you will save money doing signature cocktails is if you purchase a finite amount, for example 200 servings. Otherwise it doesn't matter if you serve 1 liquor or 10 on your open bar, the cost is the same, because the total number of bottles consumed will still be the same.