The modern wedding reception goes way beyond your standard fare of dinner and dancing. Couples are constantly finding new and innovative ways to show their guests a good time, from Instagram-worthy photo ops to food trucks offering late-night eats. And of all these reception “goodies,” one of the most popular is the cigar bar.
A cigar bar is a great way to add a touch of old-school class to your wedding reception and treat your guests to an experience they might not have tried before. But how exactly do you set up a cigar bar? Here are a few simple tips to get you started.
Talk to Your Venue
First things first: if you want to have a cigar bar at your wedding, you need to make sure your venue is cool with it. Some wedding venues don’t allow smoking anywhere on their premises, and this can stop your cigar bar dreams dead in their tracks. But, of course, you never know until you ask!
Talk to your venue and find out about their smoking policy. Ask tons of questions to make sure you understand where your guests can smoke, how to dispose of butts and ashes, and every other detail to make sure you’re following the rules.
Once you’ve got the green light from your vendor, there’s still one more thing to do: GET IT ALL IN WRITING. If your vendor contract clearly states what you can and cannot do with your cigar bar, you’ll be protected from any fees the venue may try to sneak into your bill.
Find the Perfect Spot
Even if your venue is totally on board with the cigar bar, it’s likely that some of your guests won’t love the idea. It’s nothing personal—some people are sensitive to smoke, or they simply aren’t into cigars. If you want to make sure all your guests enjoy your reception, you’ll need to find the ideal location for your cigar bar.
Your cigar bar should be located in a semi-secluded area, away from venue doors and any kid-friendly areas. If your venue has a covered patio near your space, consider booking it for the evening; this can be a great spot for people to relax, smoke, and chat away from the music and dancing, and it won’t irritate any guests who aren’t interested in smoking.
Fully Stock Your Bar
When you stock a bar for a large party, you need to make sure you have something for everyone. A cigar bar is no exception! Try to outfit your bar with cigars in a variety of blends, flavors, and sizes, so all your guests can find something they’ll like.
Make sure your bar has all the necessary accouterment (ashtrays, cigar cutters, lighters), at least three different blends (mild, medium, and robust) and at least two cigar sizes (standard and cigarillo). It’s also important that you don’t make the cigars too big, as some guests may not be willing to commit to a long smoke time. A cigar that’s below six inches in length with a ring gauge between 46 and 52 seems to be the sweet spot.
Cigars are certainly the main attraction of your cigar bar (it’s right in the name), but they aren’t the only thing you should have ready for your guests. Consider pairing your cigars with a signature cocktail, like an old-fashioned or a Manhattan. This will turn your cigar bar into a classy, smokehouse experience.
Educate Your Guests
Cigars, like wine, are a hobby that benefits from a little education. You may be a cigar connoisseur with knowledge of all the best blends, but your guests might be completely in the dark. This can lead to a lot of unhappy guests—and a lot of unfinished stogies!
How can you help your guests make the most informed decision at the cigar bar? Put up signs explaining the options in front of them. Explain what’s in each blend and the flavor profile they can expect. You may even want to include signage to explain how to use tools like a cigar cutter! This extra knowledge will enhance your guests’ overall experience, so even the most novice smoker can feel like an old pro.
Add Some Activities
Some of your guests will be perfectly content to hang out on the patio, drink in one hand and cigar in the other, enjoying the experience and chatting with one another. However, others may get restless while they’re having a smoke—so why not give them something to do?
If you have enough room by the bar, set up a few lawn games for your guests. Giant Jenga or cornhole is a great way to pass the time while you enjoy a cigar and some whiskey! Even if your space is limited, you can still keep your guests entertained with cards or board games. Not only are these activities lots of fun, but they can also be a great way for guests to keep the party going when they need a break from dancing.
With these simple steps, you can set up an amazing cigar bar. Whether your guests are into cigars, drinks, or old-school games, this little perk will easily become a highlight of your reception!