After organising weddings for ten years now, this question always arises “what time should the bar open?” There are different answers to this question, so here’s our guide to working out which option will suit you and your guests the best.


The questions you need to ask are:

What drinks are we serving as the guests arrive? Are we buying these or paying the bar to provide them? Are we allowed to provide them? (At a marquee wedding you have free ruin to do as you please, where at a hotel you possibly would be able to provide your own but may have to pay corkage, which could work our more expensive)

It you are providing your own drinks, as caterers we always suggest you cover three core areas: firstly, prosecco, champagne, Pimm’s or a fun cocktail; then bottled beers or a cider predominately for the boys (and obviously there will be some ladies who like a cool beer too); and finally a soft drink option for the children and drivers. By choosing one from each section you have pretty much covered all your guests’ tastes. If you know that you have guests who do not like any of the drinks you are supplying then maybe you should have the bar open from when you first arrive at the venue.

Do not have lots of choice, as this turns into a bar and makes it extremely hard to offer a professional service and keep your guests topped up.

Do you want to supply bottles of wine on the wedding breakfast tables for your guests to enjoy along with their meal?

If you are serving wines you may not want to have the bar open during the meal. By placing jugs of water on the table and a bottle of cordial, if you are worried that you have lots of non drinkers, having some beers available, again you have your guests covered for drinks so the bar can remain closed.

If you want your guests to enjoy free drinks during the day, open the bar from 6/6.30pm or when the formal part of the day is finished. The guests can then stretch their legs and wander to the bar.


If you are on a budget and just want to give your guests one drink on arrival and one glass of wine with the meal then we would advise that the bar is open from the start so your guests can buy their own drinks if they would like some more.

So in answer to the original question, the bar can open from when the first guests are due to arrive, as the guests sit down for the meal (if you are limiting the drinks that you serve through the meal) or just for the evening reception if you are planning on supplying drinks through the day.

Finally, would you like a cocktail bar or a gin bar? If so, why not have this open for the evening as it will be a bit of fun and different to the main bar. We have even seen a vintage caravan styled as a cocktail bar serving three premium drinks for the guests to enjoy.

When it comes to the right answer for you, think about your guests’ tastes and what they like to drink, your budget for the drinks and what exactly you would like to supply for your available funds.

Once again we hope that this helps but if you have any further questions don’t hesitate to let us know via our contact form, or by calling us on 01837 55841. Dates are filling fast for 2022 now, so please contact us to avoid disappointment.