Stocking the bar for you wedding reception can prove to be quite the challenge for some brides and grooms. Generally I try to steer my couples in the direction of not worrying about what their guests like to drink, however it is harder with liquor. People are more often name brand drinkers when it comes to hard alcohol. Also different generations prefer different drinks. Uncle Ralph and Aunt Debbie might prefer an Old Fashioned, where the Maid of Honor drinks Mojitos. Trying to please everyone can get costly and difficult.
If you should choose to have hard alcohol I would recommend having just a few of the basics: Vodka, I would go with a nice vodka that is not too expensive. If you are only mixing it I would save your money and not buy the high end stuff. Whiskey, picking a whiskey can be a little more challenging. A lot of people are brand loyal more so with whiskey than most other liquors. I would pick one you like or that you know people enjoy. Gin, again I would recommend one that is not too expensive because most people will be mixing it. If you know people will be wanting martinis then perhaps spring for something a little nicer. Rum, again most people are mixing it with cola so something basic is all you will really need. Tequila (only if you trust your friends and family not to get too crazy). There are mixed drinks with tequila however the line between drinks and shots gets blurry fast. Then Provide a variety of mixers. Remember to “Keep it Simple Silly”.
Also keep in mind the time of year your wedding reception will be. If it is during the Summer you may want more vodka, and gin, or tequila drinks. Nothing takes away the heat on a hot summer day than a gin and tonic. If you are celebrating your love with friends and family during the cooler months of the year people might enjoy whiskey to warm them up think hot toddies or hot buttered rum.
Keep in mind also the type of food you are providing. Margaritas probably won’t go as well with pasta as they would with fajitas. Most basic cocktails are pretty unobtrusive when it comes to food, however you don’t want to go too over board.
Depending on your venue some will allow hard alcohol some will not. Others will however only allow mixed drinks, no shots. Be sure to check with your venue and caterer/bartenders before purchasing the liquor.
The decision to have hard alcohol at your wedding reception is ultimately up to you and maybe your venue. I would wait to see where you are at with the overall budget when it is time to purchase the alcohol. Also I would keep in mind if you read my blog about wedding toasts to remember the more the Best-man and Maid of Honor drink the more dirt they are willing to share while the family is still there.