There are a lot of different decisions to be made throughout the planning process, and choosing what wedding drinks to provide, when, and in what quantity is a key decision which deserves careful consideration!
Your venue will help guide you, and Heritage Venues’ long experience of running weddings at both Lillibrooke Manor and Stanlake Park holds them in good stead to provide best advice. Their recommendations will meet their license obligations for responsible drinking, while at the same time ensuring everyone has a great time. Non-alcoholic options are not overlooked, so that people will enjoy themselves without feeling left out of the party!
Exclusive hire venues providing you and your guests sole access during the day will not have a public bar, unlike a hotel. They will instead offer a pre-ceremony drinks area to cater for your guests as they arrive, some of whom will probably have travelled quite a way. What’s served before the ceremony should be fairly low in alcohol content, with hot and soft drinks selections on offer too. Service will stop 30 minutes before the ceremony so guests can be guided to the ceremony room.
The pre-ceremony offering can include:
• Bottled beers and ciders
• Tea, coffee, hot chocolate
• A wide selection of soft drinks
Post-ceremony Reception Drinks
Moving on to your Reception Drinks (after the ceremony has finished), a great idea is to agree a tailor made drinks package suitable for all guests, and which will complement your canapes if you’ve included them. Frequent choices are:
• Pimm’s and lemonade with fresh fruit – great for a hot summer’s day
• Prosecco – one or two glasses per person depending on your timing. A ‘Pimp my Prosecco’ station is a fun ice-breaker and talking point amongst guests
• Bottled beers and ciders – serving them from beer /cider baths filled with ice, inside or outside, is an attractive presentation
• Soft drinks – including interesting options such as a sparkling elderflower cocktail with a hint of ginger, served in a flute
Different drinks packages are offered to accompany the couple’s first meal of their married life (hence ‘breakfast’, whatever time of day it’s served!). Your venue team will help you with your choices, to complement the food you choose and take your personal preferences into account. Although ‘packages’ are offered, different wines can be selected from each to ‘mix and match’ to your requirements, including choice of toast drink.
The usual quantity of wine provided for the meal is equivalent to half a bottle per person including whites, reds and rosés. An average split would normally be fifty-fifty red-to-white or sixty-forty red-to-rosé-to-white.
Your tasting event will provide the opportunity to try a good selection of wines to help you choose.
A ‘glassware package’ offers you the option to bring in your own drinks, with a per head charge. Recommended quantities will be in line with the venue’s offering, and ordering more will only mean wastage for you to take back the following morning! You will need to be responsible for ensuring delivery and collection of your own drinks to the venue’s schedule, recycling bottles (or paying for venue recycling), so it’s worth weighing up this option in terms of extra ‘hassle factor’ and budget.
Your choice of drink for the toast to the happy couple can vary from prosecco to top end champagne – again, a recommendation is included in each of the drinks packages, but can be swapped or changed to your specific choice.
Welcome Drinks for Evening Guests
There’s no better way to make your evening guests feel welcome by offering them a chilled glass of Prosecco and bottled beer upon their arrival.
Whichever venue you choose, make sure they have a fully stocked bar with draught local ales, bottled beers, spirits, wines, cocktails and soft drinks. The couple can either provide a pre-paid ‘tab’ themselves to a certain limit, or guests will more often than not pay for their own bar drinks. Either way, it’s important that costs are reasonable, and it’s worth checking bar prices as part of your initial venue selection. Nobody wants their guests’ lasting memory of your wedding to be the eye-wateringly expensive bar drinks!
For Lillibrooke Manor and Stanlake Park, transparent prices are given in the ‘Everything You Need to Know’ document. As your plans progress and you’re ready to choose your food and drink, multiple quotes can be produced for you, and adjustments made with advice from the Heritage Venues team to meet your budget.
Stanlake Park is a renowned vineyard, as well as a beautiful wedding venue with exclusive hire of the wedding areas. It’s quite a special moment to drink wines at your wedding that come from the vines which form the stunning backdrop to your day!
By Rory Hamilton