Catering: drinks, open bar

After many years in the wedding industry I started to know the taste of my clients (my couples, as I like to name them).

Venues can be divided into two: the one with a restaurant inside the venue or the venues without one so an external catering is necessary. Usually venues with an inner restaurant do all, from the cocktail to the open bar but some of them prefer to give this service until a certain number of guests, generally until 30-35, upon that number they request to have a catering. This is very wise, I think. They know their limit and they are open to give their kitchen to an external professional who is used to work with bigger numbers.  

As I said in the previous line not only I started to know couple’s taste but during all these long years I also noted the differences in having a wedding in UK/Ireland or in the US or in Brazil.

Here below I just want to give you some tips about how it is structured a destination wedding in Italy (with differences between Tuscany and southern Italy).

If you have a ceremony on site (civil binding or symbolic no matter) and your wedding is in the hottest hours of summer – I don’t advise this but there are some couples who want to do so- generally the catering prepare a table with a lemonade or water for the guests. This is a sort of refreshments.

After the ceremony and while the couple take their photos (follow this blog for more posts about destination wedding photographer), guests enjoy their aperitif. Guests love this wedding part because they can finally enjoy each other’s, they mingle together, they chat, taking pictures, they drink.

Drinking is a big part of this post, so read on, please!

Cocktails usually are made of canapés with waiters passing on guests and a drinking station made with prosecco, orange juice, water and the iconic spritz.

Spritz time

Some couples might decide to tell the catering they just want canapés and we hire a prosecco cart and a beer cart– they are so in fashion!  

Consider that beer is never included in the catering price. The caterings I work with they are quite flexible and they can arrange the food and drink part as you like.

Wine (red and white) is for the dinner only and you can choose among different labels. Usually all caterings include one label in the price, if you want a different one, the price might change.  Also if you want to add any other drinks is apart.  Dinner usually can include two first course and one main, plus dessert, in the last weddings the couple opted more for one warm antipasto, one first course and one main, plus dessert. Wedding cake is 80% of the times included in the price but at least in my weddings couples never paid too much attention at this moment, preferring more a dessert or late night snacks like pizza, mini burger etc.

Tiramisù dessert

Open bar: the big issue of the open bar which is generally 3 hours. A lot of couples in the past have asked me to start the open bar during the dinner. This is possible but as you can imagine the price can go up. This is because they need to hire two more waiters. I never suggest this because you lose the Italian experience but it has happened.

Nowadays caterings have the best labels of vodka, whisky, gin but if you want particular ones, this is extra.

So let’s do a recap. A wedding in Tuscany include all the drinks but the open bar has a price aside.

Southern Italy is different: they have a price for the aperitif, dinner, open bar and wine most of the time, is not included.

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