Work with your caterer or bartender to dream up something that's special to you and your partner.
wedding cocktails
Credit: Johnny Miller

An inspired drink will give guests a festive first impression of your reception and get them mingling. Ask your caterer to create something highlighting a local ingredient—or a cocktail you and your fiancé always order. Consider the season and your venue, too: A beer-based bev is fitting for fall (or a wedding in Wisconsin); margaritas scream, "Summer!"; and Champagne cocktails or aperitifs always feel celebratory.

Honey-Ginger Champagne

First make gingered-honey syrup: Heat ¾ cup honey and 1½ cups water in a saucepan, stirring until simmering. Remove from heat, then add 3 ounces sliced fresh ginger. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour. Strain. To serve, divide 1½ cups gingered-honey syrup and 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger among 12 glasses. Top each off with chilled Champagne (from two 750-milliliter bottles).

Orange-Wheat Shandy

Combine 48 ounces wheat beer, 1 cup fresh orange juice (from 3 to 4 oranges), and 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract in a pitcher. Stir and serve.

Pineapple-Rum Cocktail

In a large pitcher, stir together 1 can (46 ounces) pineapple juice, 2 cups spiced rum (such as Kraken Black), and 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from 6 to 8 limes). Refrigerate until chilled, then serve over ice.

Chile-Citrus Margarita

Place 2 halved jalapeños, 1 strip lime zest, and 750 milliliters silver tequila (1 bottle) in a jar. Refrigerate for 2 days, shaking daily. Strain; discard solids. For each drink, rub a lime wedge around the rim of a glass; dip into a dish of coarse salt to coat. Add 3 ounces chile-lime tequila, 1 ounce triple sec, 2 teaspoons agave syrup, and 2 ounces each fresh lime and orange juices to a cocktail shaker full of ice. Shake well; pour into glass.


Whet guests' appetite for a delicious meal with a chilled (or on-the-rocks) lower-alcohol wine, like Lillet served with an orange-peel twist. Post-dinner, a Sauternesor late-harvest wine, with its gorgeous golden hue, is a special way to cap a meal at a vineyard event. It's easy, too—simply uncork and pour.


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