If you’ve ever envisioned your wedding as one big cocktail hour, here's how—and where—to do it in New Jersey.Read More
This one is for your at-home wedding, engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party, welcome cocktail party for out-of-town guests, rehearsal dinner, or any other wedding celebration you host at your place.
Add some flair to that drinks table!
Dessert or candy bar tables aren’t your only opportunity to display offerings with lots of color and personalized accents. You’ve seen these lovely candy buffet tables, with selections displayed in tiers and with your monogram worked into the design, colors coordinated and guests happy to choose their own sweets. The same display creativity can be used for your wine bottles, liquors, mixes, ice and glasses.
When you set up a pretty drinks table, you make a great focal point in the room, and guests are happy to step up and pour their own from the display you put so much thought into creating. You won’t be stuck working your bar all night, not when there are cute signs inviting guests to help themselves. Plus, it’s fun to have a station to design and decorate.
1. Start with a great tablecloth. We’re talking a fabric tablecloth with a colored, fabric runner, maybe tassels at the ends of the runner, to make your drinks table stand out. Fabrics, colors and textures show off your design skills in a much more elegant way than just throwing some party store plastic tablecloth over your drink table…or not doing anything to create a color scheme at this station. Tip: If you’re worried about spills and water damage to a wood table surface, you can pick up an inexpensive waterproof table pad at Bed Bath & Beyond or another home supply store. You just cut it to fit your table size, place it right on top of your table surface, then cover with the tablecloth layer and your runner. You won’t have to worry about drink spillage, or discover a finish-wrecking water stain after the party.
2. Group your drink types. Wine bottles on one side, and liquor bottles and mixers on the other, with your glasses in the middle, and a plate of garnishes by the mixers.
3. Provide drink ID signs for your pitchers of sangria, so that guests know which flavors are in each of your three different sangrias, and choose pitchers with a really good ‘lip’ at the pour spot to catch fruit slices rather than have them slide out and splash outfits. Tongs and a fruit slice plate let guests add pieces to their drinks.
4. Don’t cover drink labels. This is a big tip, saving you from this #1 mistake, since guests want to know what the vintage of wine or the type of beer is. If you went crazy with your DIY personalized bottle labels, guests will be more annoyed than delighted. They’ll stand there peeling off labels to see if that’s a Sauvignon or a Pinot. If color-coordination is on your mind, shop your discount liquor store to find an array of bottles with similar label hues. The store manager can help you pick all terrific wines with autumn-themed label colors, and make sure you choose the best-rated, best-tasting drinks possible. Fruit juices for mixers can be displayed in matching glass pitchers or carafes, with signs saying what they are.
5. Display creative DIY framed signs. A larger sign invites guests to help themselves to your drinks bar, with a cute saying like, “Cheers to you! Help yourself to the bar!” A separate, framed, 4×6 sign can list the types of wines on your bar list, and another framed sign on the liquors side can share easy-fix cocktail recipes. Chalkboards are also so hip and in style right now, and make the perfect menu board for your drink menu.
6. Make one of those recipes your signature drink! Create a signature drink for your own party, and make it an easy creation that doesn’t require six steps of measuring to make the drink you’ve named after yourselves. It could be a simple cranberry martini that you’ve crowned with your own name.
7. Top each wine bottle with a creative stopper. Open three or four bottles to start with, and pop in a cute, personalized wine bottle stopper such as ones with your monogram letter, or a silver heart, or any other fun, theme-matching design. Every now and then, visit your drinks bar to open another bottle or two, saving guests the effort, and pop in those stoppers.
8. Make it easy to get ice. Some tongs are just impossible and messy, so get a silver ice scoop that matches the ice bucket, and guests will have no trouble icing up their drinks.
9. Get creative with garnishes. Set out a plate with sliced half-circles of oranges, ruby grapefruit, lemons, and limes. Alternate pineapples and cherries on little drink spears. Set out little glasses filled with maraschino cherries, olives and other pop-ins, with those tiny tongs handy for picking them up.
10. Light it up. Candles on a drink table spell danger, so avoid open flames. Instead, pop a few LED light cubes in tall glass vases for a heat-free lighting effect, or place some LED cubes on the table itself to make it glow in your party atmosphere.
What are your most creative ideas for the drinks table? Share them with us here….