Although decisions about what to serve can come later, you need to at least be aware of issues surrounding a bar when you begin to talk to wedding venues.
Many venues will require you to purchase extra insurance if you're serving alcohol. Some will include a bar package in your rental price. You will also need to discuss the bar, and who is responsible for serving with your caterer.
Even if your wedding reception site and your caterer allow you to handle the bar any way you wish, you'll want to hire a bartender. A bartender will save you money by pouring appropriate size drinks, and save you headaches by not serving underage or already drunk guests.
An afternoon or Sunday evening wedding will have less drinking.
A signature cocktail, especially one that's heavy on the fruit juice can save you money.
Only serve wine during dinner, and make sure the waiters pour the wine as opposed to leaving it on the table.
Close the bar too early and you'll lose guests, but leaving it open until the reception is over not only can cost you money, but it can be unsafe for your driving guests.
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