How To Create A DIY Wedding Bar For Your Reception

Mar 01, 2023

A DIY bar at a wedding reception is a fantastic addition. They are a great way to inject some fun by letting the guests create their drinks. Also, if you are on a budget, then a DIY bar is your answer. They are cheap to create but with so much more character than the traditional bars. And what’s even better is you can customize them to suit your overall theme! With all these added benefits, there is no reason for you to not have a DIY bar at your wedding event. So, here we are with an A-Z guide on how to get your DIY bar up and running! 

Source: Jana Williams Photography

Material Required

1. Bar Cart: To display the beverages and barware. 

2. Bar Table: A table to serve drinks and snacks.

3. Tablecloth: A tablecloth to cover the table.

4. Drink Dispensers: For dispensing beverages, such as punch or lemonade.

5. Ice Bucket: To keep ice for drinks.

6. Ice Scoop: To scoop ice for drinks.

7. Beverage Tubs: To hold bottled or canned drinks.

8. Wine Buckets: To keep wine bottles chilled.

9. Corkscrew: For opening wine bottles.

10. Bottle Opener: For opening beer bottles.

11. Glasses: Different types of glasses for different drinks.

12. Straws: To serve drinks with straws.

13. Cocktail Shaker: To mix cocktails.

14. Cocktail Stirrers: To stir drinks.

15. Napkins: To keep the bar area clean.

16. Garnishes: Lemons, limes, olives, cherries, etc.

17. Cutting Board and Knife: To cut garnishes.

18. Trash Can: To dispose of used napkins and other waste.

19. Signage: To label the different drinks.

20. Lighting: To light up the bar area.

21. Decorations: To match the wedding theme.

The above list of materials required to set up your DIY bar can be easily found in numerous stores across the country. We have listed a few options for you below, to get you started!




Hobby Lobby

Party City

Crate and Barrel





Second-hand stores

How to create a DIY Wedding Bar for your Reception

A DIY bar is also a great way to get the guests interacting with each other creating a warm atmosphere. Moreover, a DIY bar is an excellent way to add some personalized touches to your wedding, making it memorable and leaving an everlasting impression on the guests

1. Preparation

Source: Greenhouse Picker Sisters

Preparing a Diy bar for your wedding reception involves following certain steps. Begin with cleaning the bar cart. It is important to clean the cart thoroughly and remove any dust or debris. Use a soft or a duster to wipe down the surfaces with a mild cleaning liquid to ensure the surfaces are clean and hygienic. The next step is to make a list of all the alcohol, mixers, and other beverages you want to offer to your guests. Some examples include gin, juices, soda, whiskey, tonic water, etc. Now that you have the drinks list ready it’s time to get some glassware and of course the bar tools.

Source: Taryn Grey Photography

Make sure to have an adequate number of glasses according to the number of guests you are expecting and include different types of glassware such as highballs, rocks, wine glasses, etc. And do not forget the essential bar tools. You can refer to the list below for reference. Add your decorations to make the space visually appealing and welcoming, followed by arranging the alcohol, mixers, bar tools, garnishes, etc. in a way to make them easily accessible for the guests. Lastly, do not forget to label the alcohol and mixers. This will make it easier for guests to find what they need. 

2. Drink Options

When it comes to drinks for the wedding, the options are endless. You have beer, wine, cocktails, mocktails, juices, soft drinks, champagne, etc. However, it is important to keep the preferences of the couple and their guests in consideration. Cocktails and mocktails are one of the most versatile drink options which can be easily customized to suit your guest's preferences. So we decided to recommend a few signature cocktails and mocktails to give you the kickstart!

Signature Cocktails

1. Raspberry Lemonade Margarita

Source: peach plum pear photo


  • 1 1/2 oz silver tequila
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz raspberry syrup
  • 3 oz fresh lemonade
  • Salt, for rimming
  • Fresh raspberries, for garnish


  • Rim a glass with salt.
  • In a cocktail shaker, add the tequila, lime juice, raspberry syrup, and ice. Shake until well combined.
  • Strain the mixture into the prepared glass.
  • Top with fresh lemonade and garnish with fresh raspberries.

2. Lavender French 75


  • 1 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz lavender syrup
  • 2 oz Champagne or sparkling wine
  • Lemon twist, for garnish


  • In a cocktail shaker, combine gin, lemon juice, and lavender syrup with ice. Shake until well combined.
  • Strain into a champagne flute or coupe.
  • Top with Champagne or sparkling wine.
  • Garnish with a lemon twist.

3. Pineapple Coconut Mojito


  • 1 1/2 oz white rum
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz coconut cream
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • Club soda
  • Pineapple wedge, for garnish


  • In a cocktail shaker, combine rum, lime juice, coconut cream, and pineapple juice with ice. Shake until well combined.
  • Strain the mixture into a glass filled with ice.
  • Top with club soda.
  • Garnish with a pineapple wedge and fresh mint leaves.

Having mocktails on the drinks menu is a great way to offer delicious and one-of-a-kind non-alcoholic drinks to your teetotaller guests instead of the usual boring sodas. So here we are with a few signature mocktail recipes to get the party going!

4. Strawberry Lemonade Spritzer


  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Sparkling water
  • Ice cubes


  • Puree the strawberries in a blender.
  • Add the lemon juice and honey and blend until smooth.
  • Fill a glass with ice cubes and pour the strawberry lemonade over the ice.
  • Top with sparkling water and stir gently.
  • Garnish with a lemon slice and a fresh strawberry.

5. Cucumber Mint Cooler


  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Club soda
  • Ice cubes


  • Puree the cucumber and mint in a blender.
  • Add the lime juice and honey and blend until smooth.
  • Fill a glass with ice cubes and pour the cucumber mixture over the ice.
  • Top with club soda and stir gently.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of mint.

6. Pineapple Coconut Fizz


  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Club soda
  • Ice cubes


  • Puree the pineapple in a blender.
  • Add the coconut milk and lime juice and blend until smooth.
  • Fill a glass with ice cubes and pour the pineapple mixture over the ice.
  • Top with club soda and stir gently.
  • Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a sprig of fresh mint.

These signature cocktail and mocktail recipes are refreshing, flavorful, easy to make, and perfect for a wedding celebration. And like we said you can even personalize them by adding a custom garnish or modifying the recipe slightly to better suit your and your guest's preferences.

Also Read: Top 13 Signature Drinks For A Wedding Made From Tequila

3. Serving

Source: Trent Bailey Photography

Serving drinks is a form of art that requires the perfect amalgamation of skills and knowledge, and of course the right tools. Using the right tools and techniques can make the process a whole lot easier and more fun. There are a few essential tools that are a must-have, and setting up a DIY bar without them is next to impossible. 

1. Cocktail Shaker

A cocktail shaker is used to mix the ingredients and chill them simultaneously. It is vital to use the right type of shaker for the different types of cocktails. There are two common types of shakers, the Boston shaker, and the Cobbler shaker. Both the shakers are made of metal or glass bottom, and metal or plastic top. The difference is that the Boston shaker requires a separate strainer while the cobbler shaker has an in-built strainer. Whilst using the shaker it is imperative to have a firm grip and shake the ingredients with a lot of energy and vigor. This ensures the right blending of the ingredients and also achieves the right texture. 

2. Strainer

Strainer is another important tool required for serving drinks. The purpose of the strainer is to segregate solid ingredients or ice from the cocktail to make it easy to pour it into a glass. Strainers are also available in numerous variants such as the Hawthorne strainer, the julep strainer, and the fine-mesh strainer. It is important to know which kind of strainer fits best with which kind of shaker. For example, the Hawthorne strainer is used with a Boston shaker and fits snugly over the top, while the julep strainer is used with a mixing glass and sits directly over the rim.

3. Measuring Cups

Accuracy is important to create a consistent and well-balanced drink with the right amount of flavors. It is also vital to follow the recipe closely to ensure the achieving the right flavors. A measuring cup or jigger is used to measure the ingredients accurately to create that perfect drink. 

Source: Greenhouse Picker Sisters

Creating a self-serve bar and allowing the guests to create their drinks at your wedding reception is a great way to inject a fun element whilst creating an interactive atmosphere. To create a self-serve bar it is important that all the material required by the guests to create their drinks is easily accessible and more importantly labeled. It is also a great idea to place some recipes or instructions for the guests to help them create their drinks or explore new options. Make sure all the ingredients required to create a drink along with materials such as straws and napkins are topped up from time to time. And, although it is a self-serve bar, appointing a bartender to help the guests if required is a smart move. 

If you are planning to station someone at the bar to serve drinks, you must choose someone reliable and responsible and who has a good knowledge of how to serve drinks responsibly. It is also a good idea to set clear guidelines with them regarding serving the drinks. For the person to be able to carry out their job efficiently, make sure to offer full support and provide them with all the material required to serve the drinks. It is advisable to hire a professional bartender to serve the drinks to ensure smooth running. 

4. Decoration

Source: Marigold Design House

Decorating the bar is an excellent way to tie in the overall theme and create a cohesive atmosphere. Begin with the color scheme, and choose colors that match the overall theme. For example, if you are opting for rustic as the overall theme for your wedding, then you can use burlaps and natural wood accents. Similarly, if you are going in for a modern theme, then your ideal choice of colors should be bright and bold. Decorate the bar with flowers to add a pop of color and greenery to add texture. The flowers and greenery can be incorporated in numerous ways such as, in vases, potted plants, hangings, etc.

Add lighting! Lights can transform any space and create a warm and inviting atmosphere. If you are looking to create a warm and romantic atmosphere, consider using fairy lights or candles. LED lighting can also be added to highlight the bar. Another great way of highlighting the bar is to get customized neon signage, maybe with the hashtag of your wedding. You can also use signage to direct the guests to the bar, display the drinks menu, or just simply add your personal touch.

Source: Anna Delores Photography

And obviously, the signage can also be customized to match the overall theme, for example, you can opt for wooden signage if you have a rustic theme. Having a backdrop for the bar is also a great way to add decor to the bar area whilst highlighting it. You can use drapery, flowers, buntings, lights, etc. to create a stunning eye-catching backdrop. 

Decorating the bar is a fun and cheap way to create a beautiful and cohesive bar area. Don’t be afraid to be creative and let your creative juices flow. Combining your creativity with a little attention to detail is sure to create a stunning bar space that is sure to impress your guests.  

Also Read: 20 Best DIY Wedding Decor Ideas to Wow Your Guests


Source: Greenhouse Picker Sisters

A DIY bar is an excellent idea for a wedding reception as it adds a fun and interactive element is cost-effective, allows for personalization, and accommodates guests with varying drink preferences. Just use our simple guide to set up your bar, and voila! you are ready to party.

Edited & Photo Sourced: Neha Garg Ahuja

About Author


Sachi is a fashion enthusiast and a home decor hoarder. You will mostly find her cozied up on her couch hunting for new trends. When not on the couch, she spends her time baking cookies and cakes to satisfy her never-ending craving for sweets!

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