The Memorial Service Bar options include (but not limited to): BYOB (Bring you own booze), Having an Open Bar, A Financial cap of drinks served, Creating a limited Bar Menu, Drinking or bar Time Limit, Bar and Bar Staff, Cash Bar (or not), Mobile Bars, Cocktails and Mixologists, D.I.Y Drinks options and finally Costs involved. All discussed below.
Memorial Service Bar
BYOB (Bring Your Own Booze)
Memorial Service Bar is all about providing all your guests with a drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic). You may wish to have the Memorial service at home, in the countryside, on a beach or places where it may be difficult to organize all the logistics. Asking attendees to bring their own drink may be an option - not only for financial reasons but for them to bring a drink they love and would want to Celebrate the life of your loved one by something they love' a Celebratory drink.
Opening alcoholic drinks should be planned for after the service and not before or during. Most people will respect this.
For venue orientated services, you may wish to have a party ‘after’ the service. An idea is to ask guests to bring a bottle. With a lot of guests invited, this idea will certainly help with the budget.
Some venues will not permit guests to bring alcohol into their venue. It is a good idea to check their terms and conditions before asking people to bring their own drink.
For a Memorial Service Bar, it is not uncommon for there to be an open bar at The Wake or after a Memorial Service 'Life Party' – where guests can order drinks over the bar (free-of-charge). The organizer will settle-up the costs with the bar the next day.
A Financial Cap
Putting a financial cap on the total fee (the final cost for guest drinks) is a good idea. The majority of guests will not abuse this offer of a free bar. However, there are always ‘some’ that do. Placing limits on the types of drinks guests/attendees can have is also a good idea. It could be, for example, Beer, wine and a few mixed spirt drinks (Gin and Tonic, Rum and Coke and so forth). I can help with this.
Every other drink not listed on an agreed Drinks Menu, must be paid for by the guest/attendee themselves. A clear sign or signs placed on the bar as to what guest are able to have (free-of-charge) is a good idea and thus should avoid any problems or confusion. Memorial Service Bar Menus could be a good idea to adopt
Another option to stop potential Memorial Service Bar abuse, is putting a time limit the Bar will serve drinks (Free-of-charge). This may be for one hour after the service or any time limit you think suitable and applicable.
A time limit will:
• Allow guests to have a drink ‘on you’ – a way for you saying; ‘Thank You for coming’.
• Not burden you with an astronomical bar fee for drinks guests have consumed (if they were allowed to drink all evening – free-of-charge).
• Prevent tipsy or possibly inebriated guests leaving the venue in a not-too-good state.
• Those that must drive, will not have been given the opportunity to have ‘too much’ drink and be a danger to themselves and others.
Bar and Bar Staff
If the venue has a bar on the premises and you agree to use their bar, the staff should be included in the overall price quoted to you. It should include: the wages, a set time for opening and the drinks you have agreed to serve guests/attendees (if this is applicable).
If you have signed a contract for the room/venue hire, the bar and bar staff should be stipulated in the contract to avoid any unnecessary or surprise invoices after the service.
If you know that your guests/attendees are ‘drinkers’ and could cost an arm-and-a-leg if a free bar was provided, it might be prudent to simply have a cash bar where guests pay for the drinks they consume.
Not all venues like a cash bar when the guest/attendee numbers are small. The Memorial Service Bar cost of staff, overheads, cleaning and so forth., catering for just a few guests/attendees could be unprofitable for the venue. They may say no. A contract with the venue will identify their terms and conditions. You may wish, after the service to go to another place for drinks (a pub, bar, nightclub, restaurant or wherever applicable).
Depending on the venue or the location, hiring a mobile bar – be it an actual catering / bar wagon may be an option. The restrictions may be less than at a venue.
If the person that has passed away loved Cocktails, hiring-in a professional Mixologist to serve Cocktails may be an answer. This may be at the venue, at home or on an outdoor location.
Cocktails and Professional Mixologists
Professional Mixologists can be hired on either a Dry Hire or Wet Hire basis.
For a Dry Hire option, the Mixologist would ask a few questions such as:
• How many guests will be in attendance?
• What Cocktails you would like creating (usually two to six varieties of Cocktails)
• How many Cocktails in total do you estimate you and your guests will consume?
• How long (time period) would you like the Mixologist(s) to make Cocktails for (one to three hours is the usual time frame)?
Ingredients Shopping List
From this information, a Cocktail ingredients shopping list will then be drawn-up and given to you. This should include everything you need from the alcohol, to the garnishes needed.
Purchasing the Ingredients -
Dry Hire Option
You (or someone you have delegated) would then 'go out' and purchase all the ingredients on the ‘shopping list’ – alcohol, soft drinks, mixers, ice, garnishes, napkins, stirrers and so forth and on the day bring it to the location for the Mixologist to create his magic. The purchaser needs to be a 'savvy' shopper to find the best and cheapest price around. Buying alcohol, mixers, fruit and so forth 'On Sale' or 'On Special Offer' can save a small fortune. It can make a huge difference to the overall or end price.
Wet Hire Option
The questions for a Wet Hire option are identical to the Dry Hire option, however the Wet Hire option is where the Cocktail company/Mixologist would purchase all the ingredients for you and bring everything to the venue/location themselves on the day.
The Wet Hire option will save you the legwork and potential frustration of searching online and, or and visiting umpteen shops and supermarkets for the listed ingredients at the best price. The Cocktail company will charge you a fixed price per cocktail plus the Mixologist fee.
With a Dry Hire option, purchasing ingredients from the ‘wrong shop’ (be it online or a physical shop) or even at the wrong price could end up costing you more than the cost of the Wet Hire Cocktails.
A cap can be placed on the number of Cocktails created and served by the Professional Mixologist. You will know in advance the set fee for the complete Cocktail service.
If the Venue will allow and does not mind, it is an option to purchase all the drink (alcoholic, soft-drinks etc) and bring them to the Memorial Service yourself. Planning what you will need and how many is the key. Just purchasing drink for the sake or it or on a whim ('that would be nice to have') can end up costing a lot of money ('a small fortune') or worse, a lot of drink wasted and not used. A spreadsheet and or shopping list is definitely required!
With DIY Drinks, you are in total control of the budget, what is served, what is on offer and how much guests/attendees will be served. When it is gone, it is gone. People do not expect you to be a bar or have unlimited quantities.
A list of what you would like to offer and when, will need to be drawn-up. This could include soft drinks, water, juices for during the service to drinks for The Wake or Life Party. It could be as simple as just tea and coffee.
Staff or people to make and serve the drink may need to be included in the costings. At a venue or location, they may be able to provide staff. At outside locations, contacting a staffing agency, local restaurant or even a local hotel with bar/waiting staff who are not working that day may be a good line of enquiry.
What sort of drinks should I serve at a Memorial Service?
The decision on what drink to serve will be dependent on the type of Memorial Service you wish to have. You may decide to have only soft drinks. You may wish to provide alcoholic drinks. The age group, the guests you invite will dictate (to a point) what is expected – from Champagne toasts to Prosecco to jugs of orange juice.
Memorial Service Bar includes a lot of things to think about and decide. Not everything will be applicable or suitable for you.
Memorial Service Bar Summary
There are many facets and elements to serving drink - whatever drink it might be at a Memorial Service. The key is to identify 'Why' you would like to serve drink and then 'what'?
- Is it an essential element to your service?
- Is it a just a 'nice to have'?
- What would happen it you did not serve any drink?
- Will the budget (if one is set) allow it and to what extent?
There are many, many more questions to ask then answer before deciding on what drink to have (or not).
Let's move on to SECTION SIX - Catering and Food
Sections to The Ultimate and Complete Memorial Service Guide:
Section ONE - The Basics
Section TWO - The Logistics
Section THREE - The Room
Section FOUR - Equipment
Section FIVE - The Bar
Section SIX - Catering and Food
Section SEVEN - The Invitation
Section EIGHT - The Service
Section NINE - Decorations
Section TEN - Give-away, Take-Aways and Afterwards
Section ELEVEN - Memorial Service Summary