It’s hot outside, and your guests are going to be thirsty throughout your wedding ceremony and reception. Sure, there will be plenty of glasses of chilled white wine or frosty beers if you are serving alcohol, but it can be fun to create a few signature non-alcoholic drinks as well. Some weddings are also deliberately dry, and it can be fun to find a way to still have distinctive, delicious drinks even if you don’t want any alcohol on the premises. Consider these options for your summer wedding.
Mixing up cucumber water is a breeze: a day ahead of time, slice lengthwise 3 or 4 thin incisions along a cucumber and store it in a big jug of water in a refrigerator. The water will take on a light, cucumber-y flavor. This is great to have in a big dispenser during an outdoor ceremony, in case anyone feels faint, alongside some regular, old H2O.
Lemon Raspberry Water
Another light option, adding a little lemon and a few smashed raspberries to a carafe of water makes for a pretty look and a nice refreshing edge on the water. A good option if you don’t want too much sugar in your stomach when you hit the dance floor, this water alternative is mostly just a hydration option but still adds a little fun.
No matter how you mix it, punch is a party pleaser. In a big bowl, combine loose fruit (sometimes frozen fruit is a good option to chill the punch), juice, a fizzy soda like Sprite, and some kind of sorbet or sherbet. The recipes are endless, and they all make for a sweet, fruity flavor with a hint of sparkle.
A Twist on Lemonade: Add Strawberries and Basil
Lemonade is a party staple, but it can get old after a while. One way to make lemonade exciting again is to add strawberry puree and a few pressed basil leaves to a jug or dispenser of lemonade. It doesn’t fully overpower the lemony sweetness of the drink, but gives just enough of a depth of flavor to add to the experience.
Pineapple Ginger Spritz
Mixing ginger ale and pineapple juice? Sign me up! This is especially delicious when made with a fairly strong Ginger Ale; look for one that says it has a kick or a bite and do some experimenting. Ginger packs a lot of flavor and gives a different edge than the typical fruit-focused drinks of the season.
Mint Iced Tea
A simple staple, iced tea with a little mint can be a great break from the scorching sun. It’s a good idea to offer at least a lightly sweetened version and some unsweetened iced tea; if you are in the South, you may want to make sure you have some that meets the “so sweet your teeth hurt” standard too! It can be mixed up and stored in gallon jugs ahead of time, so this might be a good option for your DIY catering wedding, or if your caterer lets you bring your own drinks.
Watermelon Agua Fresca
This Mexican refresher is a great way to incorporate watermelon at the peak of the season. Blending large amounts of watermelon with some lime juice and a little sugar is all this drink takes. Watermelon is so naturally juicy that it blends up into a fairly thin liquid, and you can add water till it is the right consistency for you.
Unsure? Make a Mix-Your-Own Juice Bar
As you are probably seeing, lots of fruit flavors play well with each other. Why not let your guests pair and share the fruit juices they like? With carafes or dispensers of 4 or 5 juices, your guests can create a guava-blueberry cocktail with none of the alcohol. To keep these less sugary, offer coconut water or sparkling water as a base and the other juices as the “mixers.”
This is a great alternative to an actual bar if you choose a dry wedding, and many people pair this with some local cane-sugar sodas to offer plenty of options and still keep everyone feeling like they are having a special drink. The plus of this, and all non-alcoholic drinks, is that people are less likely to get dehydrated than when they are drinking a beer or a glass of wine. Lastly, this juice bar is a great way for kids to feel like they get to do an activity at a reception that may otherwise offer mostly fun for the adults.
Regardless of which drinks you choose to serve up on your special wedding day, make sure there are plenty of hydrating options even if you choose to serve alcoholic options as well. Staying cool is a part of having a wonderful time, and a light and refreshing beverage can go a long way.