Today we’re diving into one of the most fun items on your wedding planning to-do list: creating your signature wedding cocktail. While having a bar at your wedding reception isn’t a requirement, a little libation can certainly liven up the party and give your guests the liquid courage to hit the dance floor in just enough time for “Uptown Funk.” And the best part? You can achieve an awesome array of booze without shelling out major cash on an full-liquor open bar. Many Zola couples opt for the more economical route of serving just wine and beer in addition to one or two signature cocktails. A signature wedding cocktail can be a great way for you and your partner to express yourselves as a couple and make the event all the more personal, while craft wine and beer options give your guests a taste of the local flavor.


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Another practical reason for serving signature cocktails is to take a bit of the heat off the bar and wait staff post-ceremony when thirsty guests begin swarming the bar. Why have your friends and family stand in the bar line when you could have them sippin’ and socializing in mere minutes? Cocktails also up the panache of the party. Place an impressive cocktail station as a focal point, or having someone greet guests with pretty beverages served on a cocktail tray—it’s a foolproof way to keep guests happy and talking about your fête for weeks.


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If you’re hoping to include a signature wedding cocktail in your lineup of alcohol offerings, check out our guide for choosing specialty drinks that are as tasty as they are unique.

Represent your personalities.

The wedding is an expression of you and your partner as a couple, so treat your guests to a drink that is representative of—or at least meaningful to—your relationship. It could be a cocktail that relates to a fun story, a favorite date night drink, or a one-of-kind concoction based on your and your spouse-to-be’s hobbies or interests.

An alternative to having a shared signature drink is serving two cocktails: one from you and one from your partner. This option allows you to show off your individual personalities and double up on the drink options.


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Add a pop of color.

Your signature wedding cocktail gives you the chance to add an unexpected pop of color to your reception space. So when you’re exploring ideas for your personalized beverage(s), we recommend going for a vibrant cocktail that compliments your wedding’s color palette and adds to the overall impact of the reception décor.


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Match the theme.

Another tactic when choosing your signature wedding cocktail is to think about the overall theme or feel of your wedding. If you are having a classic soirée, try a champagne cocktail. For a farm wedding, consider spiked lemonade served in mason jars. A celebration by the beach? Opt for something fruity and tropical.


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Show off the locale.

Think about the state, city, or region where you’re saying “I do” and let your signature wedding drink nod to the local culture. For example, a New Orleans wedding begs for a hurricane, a Cape Cod wedding needs a cape codder, and what’s a Southern wedding without mint juleps? Think about what liquors, spirits, and flavors are local to the area and let your booze-infused imagination run wild.


Photo Credit || Sera Petras Photography


Keep it local.

If there are any breweries, wineries, or distilleries in your area, be sure to incorporate their products into your cocktail menu. Out of town guests will love the local touch, and who knows? These local vendors may just give you a discount on their products. We’ll drink to that.


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Test it out.

Once you have decided on the style of drink you want to include at your reception, don’t forget to give it a test run. While good for a belly laugh, nobody wants a #Pinterestfail to happen on their wedding day. Just because something looks divine in a photo on the internet doesn’t mean that it will taste or look as good when crafted in your own kitchen. Before the big day, have some friends over to make and taste your signature drink to ensure the ingredients come together as you expect. We can be there in 10.


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Don’t over-complicate it.

If your desired drink has too many ingredients or requires complicated steps, it’s probably not the best to serve en mass. The bar staff is likely making these in large batches and filling several glasses at a time, so keep it simple for them and for you. Once you and your betrothed decide on a signature wedding drink that’s representative of the two of you, it won’t take much to impress your guests and ensure no one goes home thirsty.


Photo Credit || Allison Jeffers Wedding Photography

Featured Image Credit || Aaron Watson Photography