Signature drinks are always a fun touch at wedding festivities; they are all over Pinterest and wedding magazines and add a personalized touch to the day. The thing the magazines don’t tell you is that they are pricey. You may think you have open bar so it will all be included, right?

Unfortunately, that isn’t usually the case and it surprises a lot of our couples. Typically a signature drink costs extra. You can usually pay per drink that guests order or have a bunch made and ready to go, but you will pay for unused drinks that way. Either way it can add up to an extra chunk of change you didn’t plan for, so we have some tips to have your signature drink and sip it too.

First, if you are doing a wine and beer bar and not offering liquor, a signature drink can be a great way to give your guests a hard alcohol option. You can do a his and her favorite drink or a drink that has special meaning to you. This will give guests insight into your story as a couple and give them something tasty to sip on during cocktail hour.

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Make sure to explain your pick in a sign or on cocktail napkins. You can say something like “Sip on a Moscow Mule, the drink Tom introduced Anna to on their first date!”

Second, to make sure you aren’t paying double for an open bar and a signature drink you could pick a drink that isn’t included in your bar package. We always think it is a good idea to have a table with drinks or passed libations at the beginning of the cocktail hour. This is when your bar will be the busiest, it is when most of your guests want a drink and they usually don’t want to wait. If you have an option to free up the bar, believe me, your guests will thank you. It also adds another level of sophistication to the event.

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One of my favorite go to’s is a glass of champagne with a fresh raspberry for garnish. It looks pretty and who doesn’t love a little bubbly? It is also something that isn’t included in most wedding bar packages so you aren’t paying twice.

TIP: If your package includes a dinner toast you can usually use it for something like this, it will depend on your venue though.

Third, another option is to save the signature drinks for the rehearsal dinner or brunch if you are having one. Those events are smaller and sometimes those locations will offer a signature drink within your package. One of our couples did an Old Fashioned menu for their guests at the rehearsal dinner. They had a bunch of out of town guests and they wanted to showcase a true Milwaukee drink. The menu included a classic old fashioned, a honey old fashioned and a cinnamon old fashioned. Friends and family loved the offerings and it didn’t break the budget either.

The day after wedding brunch is another great time to offer a signature drink. Since you won’t have a full bar a mimosa bar or bloody mary bar can be a nice added touch to send guests off on a high note. After all the best cure for too much fun on the wedding night is more fun the next morning.

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So before you get too pumped about your unique signature drinks with adorable personalized straws consider your options and what might work best for your wedding.

-Amanda