From the time cocktail hour starts to the last song of the night, you'll find that many of your wedding guests will choose to enjoy a cocktail (or two) during the reception. That's why stocking you bar with the right options is so important. But picking the perfect types of booze—ones that work with the season, menu, and budget—can be a difficult task for any bride and groom. Whether you're working with a caterer, mixologist, or doing it all on your own, having at least a cursory knowledge of the types of wine, liquor, beer that suit the season will make planning your fall wedding's bar that much easier. Here, we break it all down.
If you're having a full open bar, you'll likely have several different types of liquor on hand, but if you're thinking about having a limited bar, you'll have to pick and choose exactly what will be available in advance. Given the crisp autumnal air, guests will probably prefer warming liquors that invoke a sense of comfort. These include "dark" varieties like bourbon, scotch, whiskey, and cognac. In addition, you'll want to choose booze that pairs well with your mixers, especially if you're having seasonal choices. Apple cider mixes well with whiskey and spiced rum, while warm options like spiked coffee and hot chocolate are delicious when paired with Bailey's or Irish cream.
According to Amanda Neville, owner of Tipsy wine shop in Brooklyn, New York, seasonality has a large impact on wine selection for your wedding. "We definitely see couples shift to light reds and medium-bodied whites in the early fall, and more robust varietals as the temperature drops," she says. Neville recommends serving two types of red wines at a fall wedding, like a pinot noir and a comparatively fuller-bodied merlot. The white wine options at fall weddings are usually medium- or full-bodied. Neville suggests serving chardonnay (a rich white) and contrasting with a lighter unoaked option like sauvignon blanc or albariño.
From pale ale to pilsner, refreshing brews take center stage in the summer months. But during the fall, people start crave heartier options; think dark lagers and hoppy IPAs. Brides and grooms can also channel the season by offering German Oktoberfest beers, which are generally full-bodied and malty, as well as pumpkin-flavored ales. It's also a smart idea to have at least one lighter brew on hand for guests who prefer it.
Don't Forget the Bubbly
Chance are, a majority of guests will desire at least one glass of bubbly during the course of the evening. Sparkling wines like cremant, cava, and prosecco are suitable options year-round, so they're perfectly acceptable for a fall wedding.