Spicing up a dry bar

I’ve talked before about the problems with open bars – or wet bars at all, for that matter. Money being the main one. An open bar can cost obscene amounts of money. Even just serving wine and beer can get pricey, even with bargains on cases or cheaper brands. The idea of a dry bar might sound boring (the word “dry” doesn’t really help), but there are plenty of ways to make it great!

A dry bar is a good idea for a number of reasons, not just money. The biggest pro is safety. If you have a lot of guests who are apt to take advantage of free alcohol and drink a little too much, it’s not being paranoid to be concerned about their well-being after you have left the reception. Serving a dry bar eliminates that altogether.

But how to have a dry bar that isn’t “dry”? Here are a few ideas I can think of that would be a lot of fun!


Having a winter wedding? Consider investing in some of those big hot drink dispensers and filling them with gourmet hot chocolates and ciders. Have things like marshmallows, whipped cream, and sprinkles for guests to add to their mugs. It would be really cute, economically smart, and (best of all) delicious!


If you’re a coffee addict like me, this is a really appealing choice. Serve flavored blends, cappuccinos, espressos, or other coffee drinks that you enjoy. Or consider serving plain coffee (some of the no-name brands are as good or better than the expensive Starbucks grounds, I have found) and offering a selection of flavored creamers and syrups.


Lemonade is perfect for a daytime, outdoor wedding – it looks pretty in the glass and tastes incredibly refreshing. Serve fresh-squeezed classic lemonade, limeade, and a few variations on the two: minted lemonade, raspberry limeade, strawberry lemonade…you get the idea. Pretty much any fruit and lemon/limeade tastes delicious!


If you’re more of a tea-drinker, serve a selection of hot teas to your guests. Tea is a wonderfully elegant drink, and it is appropriate for all seasons. If you’re a Southern belle, feel free to use the same concept with iced tea.


Punch is easy, tasty, looks great, and can be incredibly inexpensive to make. You can have a rainbow of colors and flavors to choose from!


This is a fun one if you’re serving breakfast, brunch, or breakfast for dinner. Apple, orange, cranberry, grapefruit, even pomegranate juice is all delicious and a smart option if you’re short on cash. Make it look fancy by serving it in wine decanters!

I’m sure there are tons of other options out there to make a dry bar into something really amazing…I would love to hear them!


3 responses to “Spicing up a dry bar

  1. I have never ever minded paying for a drink at a wedding when there was a pay bar. Most people don’t, especially these days. Everyone understands that in this economy that’s the way it goes.

    I think if you’re serving breakfast at your wedding, then you’ll want to avoid most of these options, tbh. Pick a fun, breakfast-y type of drink that you can serve along with water and a couple of other options, and of course coffee and tea! Just my thoughts, though.

  2. Yeah, we had talked about serving something like mimosas along with dinner if we do the breakfast-for-dinner thing. Delish!

  3. That makes it simple! Great idea. 🙂

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