Having a DIY always seems like a great idea. Everyone loves a wedding with free alcohol and it's always appreciated by the guests. It seems like a great idea because you also can spend the money on alcohol rather than bar hire.
However there are some basic things you must remember and plan for as if you don't it could all end up being a bit of a mess.
1. Glass hire. If you hire glasses don't forget that you can get them for free from Sainsbury's and Waitrose - remember you have to clean all of them before you return them. Also allow time to clean them before you put them out as we find many of them are dirty when you pick them up.
2. Bar staff. Have dedicated people running the bar in all evening - even if it is your nephew or cousins friends. Get them to restock the bar, clear the glasses and tidy up the mess as you go along to prevent a nightmare clear up the next day.
3. Plastic cups. Have 300 backup plastic cups. These are always needed as it's very difficult without bar staff to keep on top of the washing up of glasses. We would advise that wash up the glasses as you clear them away, don't reuse them and get people to reuse plastic so it's less clearing up the next day.
4. Water. Make sure water and glasses/plastic cups are available between the ceremony and meal as people will get very thirsty and you don't want them taking glasses off the tables. Some past customers have put Hessian in a basket and filled it with cold water and put water inside so guests can just help themselves. You never know hot it's going to be and you don't want guests getting dehydrated.
5. Corks. If you buy wine for the tables try to get screw tops. If you have corks make sure you have several corkscrews. Make sure whoever is opening them is aware and given a good amount of time to get them all opened before they are put on the tables.
Also although random glass bottles may look beautiful instead of jugs for the water they only serve enough water for 3 people maximum and they must be thoroughly cleaned before use.
Robert McHugh, a professional chef with over 12 years of experience working in a range of high end restaurants.