Beer, Wine, and Gatsby-Era Libations

I love the cocktail hour during weddings. It’s such a nice time to catch up with old friends and family members and indulge in a drink (and sometimes a few hors d’oeuvres too) before the rest of the reception, when you are often seated at an assigned table. Mr. Wallaby and I are planning a lot of fun surprises for our outdoor cocktail hour—stay tuned! While we plan out those activities (we may or may not be constructing a set of cornhole boards!), we’ve also been discussing what to serve during the cocktail hour.


Swizzle sticks add some pizzazz to cocktail hour.

Photo by Joseph De Leo / Image from Handmade Weddings via Oh Joy!.

Here’s the kicker: our venue allows us to bring our own alcohol! They provide the bartender(s), and we bring all liquor and bar essentials (stemware, cocktail napkins, mixers, etc.). They don’t even charge a corkage fee. The more brides I talk to, the luckier I feel that we found a venue with such a budget-friendly alcohol policy. With our Costco membership, Mr. W and I can afford to buy much more liquor than we could if we hosted the wedding at a venue that charges a premium for drinks.

Even though we could, in theory, provide a full open bar for our guests, I am a little uneasy about that. First, my mom has mentioned that she thinks wedding should be beer and wine only—she prefers weddings to be modest affairs, not opportunities for everyone to get sideways. My mom doesn’t have too many demands about the wedding, so I feel very compelled to follow her advice when she offers it. Second, like Miss Sword, I have a pretty bad phobia of vomiting. I am generally pretty laid-back, but if any of our guests vomited in front of me at our wedding, I think I would totally lose it. I graduated from college not too long ago, and I know what happens when happy party-goers knock back rounds of shots. I haven’t seen as many episodes that were induced by beer and wine. Third, Mr. W and I aren’t big drinkers, and neither are our families. The two of us have a drink no more than once every couple weeks, usually when we’re splurging on a fancy dinner or if we’re meeting up with friends. We want everyone to have a great time, but it would be nice if things stayed relatively orderly the night of our wedding.


I pray our party people don’t end up like this. Photo via dexknows.

Solution: we will serve beer, wine, and a selection of vintage-inspired cocktails. We are big localvores, so we’re planning on ordering several kegs of beer from local breweries. We will happily leave the wine selection to my mom and grandma, who are far better wine connoisseurs than Mr. W and me. And we will provide our bartender with supplies to mix up some scrumptious Gatsby-era cocktails, to channel the vintage theme. I’m really excited for that detail—it’s always fun to go out for happy hour and order a specialty cocktail off of a unique menu. I’m hoping our guests will appreciate this detail. We know well that many people are picky about drinking liquor, so we will be sure to serve at least one drink with vodka, rum, whiskey, and gin. We’re also tossing around the idea of having a mimosa bar, with champagne, juice, and fresh fruit.


Paying tribute to a local brewery by serving local beer from a keg or on tap.

Photo by Cluney Photo / Image via Style Me Pretty.


Many scrumptious vintage cocktails begin with St. Germain.

Photo by White Loft Studio / Image via Snippet & Ink.


How amazing does that mimosa bar look?

Photo from Hello Love Blog.

Now’s the fun part: dreaming up a menu of the best vintage cocktails! Do you have any ideas of retro or vintage-inspired cocktails that we could serve?


Mrs. Wallaby

Wedding Date:
November 2012
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Jamie, Guest @ 2:16 pm

    Bringing your own booze and doing signature cocktails are totally the way to go! We did it and it saved us tons! Can’t wait to see what you come up with. One word of advice–check the return policies on the alcohol, we WAY overestimated and ended up returning $600 worth of beer, wine and booze!

  2. Member
    ChicagoDreamer 509 posts, Busy bee @ 8:42 pm

    Vintage cocktails is such a sweet touch! Pintrest or Google might be your best friend. Or asking people who are older and asking what they drank when they were younger.

  3. graywolf Bee
    graywolf 725 posts, Busy bee @ 9:22 am

    ooh love this idea! take a look at this – – i weirdly remembered it. i LOVE gin and i think a gin rickey is a good idea. or just a classic martini (although those can be pretty strong).

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