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Drink This: Creative Beverage Solutions for Your Reception


“Dear Exclusive, a family friend mentioned something she did for her daughter’s wedding that sounds like an awesome idea; I just don’t know where to find it. Instead of having your typical alcoholic bar [for the reception], they had a coffee bar. They hired a coffee shop and had someone work the wedding making lattes, mochas, frappachino, etc. as if they were in a café. I am a coffee addict, and if I could find something like this for my wedding, it would be very fitting for those who know me well. I am wondering if Lynchburg has [a service] like this that I could [hire for my event]. I had never heard of this until a few weeks ago, so I don’t really know where to look.” – Lucy


Who says that choosing to forego alcohol means you can’t have a fun and exciting reception, with pretty stemware and unique, signature drinks? An event where your guests stay late and dance the night away because they are having too much fun to leave? While a fine wine and a mixed drink may taste and look beautiful, having a successful event is not dependant upon whether or not you choose to serve alcohol.

In comparison to the cookie-cutter punch station of the past, today’s bride has near limitless possibility when it comes to showing off her individual style and taste. Whether you choose to incorporate alcohol or not, a little creativity and the right planning can satisfy your taste buds and allow you to wow your guests with a reception full of delicious and eye-catching beverage surprises. Your wedding planner can work with you to choose a caterer or beverage vendor who can design a specialty drink bar or create signature drinks that incorporate the colors, scents, and textures embodied in your wedding theme along with your own personalized tastes.

Specialty coffees have become a mainstay for just about everyone, and are especially perfect for the cooler months. You can fashion your own self-serve coffee bar complete with special flavored syrups, toppings, and gourmet cookies to delight your guests and add the warm and cozy vibe of a chic café. Another option is to hire your favorite coffee shop to set up and run a serviced coffee bar to woo your guests with a variety of specialty drinks like cappuccinos, lattes, or frappachinos. With its growing popularity, many local and chain coffee shops now offer this service – including right here in Lynchburg! Love your skinny pumpkin soy latte? Why not make that your signature drink for the evening?

In addition to thinking “outside the box,” when it comes to reception style, it’s also important to think outside the glass! The use of assorted specialty glasses of all shapes and sizes add sparkle to your table, and can be used for everything from sugar-coated lemonades, mock mimosas, and sparkling ciders, to iced-coffee and delicate cordials.

Have fun with garnish! Fresh fruit, edible flowers (like pansies and nasturtiums), herbs, or branches can enhance your drink and add that extra pop while tying in with your wedding theme.

A fun and whimsical non-alcoholic beverage option is to have an Italian soda bar stocked with a variety of flavored syrups for your guests to choose from. Want to make it vintage? Serve your drinks in old-fashioned soda glasses, and use straws colored to match the theme of your wedding.

Want to go fresh? Have a bartender serve freshly squeezed lemon or limeade in martini glasses (upscale) or old-fashioned mason jars (timeless and relaxed). Looking for something more unique? Made-to-order smoothies, Italian ice, and homemade milkshakes are fun and crowd-pleasing spring and summertime drinks. For those a little more daring, have non-alcoholic shooters served in stylish glasses passed around the room.

You can even create an entire bar devoted to your drink of choice. One of the most popular, specialized bars found at weddings this season is the “bubble bar,” which features an assortment of sparkling wines or fruit spritzers.

Consider having a variety of specialized beverage stations or wet bars set up around the reception room as it is a great way to keep your guests occupied and mingling, moving from one place to another as they sample your special drinks.

A little creativity and artistic presentation can go a long way to giving you the look and feel you want while leaving your guests in awe for years to come. Working with a local wedding planner, you can come up with a fabulous plan for an exciting evening with the most delicious and exquisite beverages.

Your guests will have a wonderful experience and they might even forget that their drinks are non-alcoholic.

  • Crystal - Great article and good ideas. It’s making me hungry to look at the yummy pics. (=

  • Linda Hall - Love Is In The Air - Wedding & Event Decor, Cakes & Catering - Great Job! Have given this a lot of thought myself and it really can be a lot of fun with so many options available. There are also some pretty good non-alcoholic wines available.

  • Katie Lester - Great ideas ladies!!

    So often we are in need of non-acoholic options, and you want to offer a bride something more exciting than just juice. These are great!! The Muse in Lynchburg has a great coffee bar package specially designed for weddings 😉 I think I might go get some now…

  • Lemon - How pretty! Thanks for the great suggestions. Totally love the coffee bar idea!

  • Mauresa - Great informative article, ladies! Makes me wish I was a bride again. Is it too early to start planning a vow renewal? :):)

  • Kristi - This is fantastic! Love this idea for a wedding. Thanks for all the information! Great post.


  • Rachel (RS Exclusive) - Thanks for all the great feedback and lovely comments. We had so much fun pulling together content for this topic.

    Mauresa – I’ve only been married a year, and I’ve ALREADY started to plan our future vow renewal party! It’s SUCH a great way to get to incorporate all kinds of fun ideas for a second go-around. 🙂

  • Jeremiah - Wonderful post. Way to hit it out of the park again.

  • Schuyler - So fun and creative – lots of great ideas for alternative options to alcohol!! Love it – great job RS! 🙂

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