Outdoor Weddings

Ice at Outdoor Wedding

Hello!

I am wondering how ice is done at outdoor weddings. Do people typically bring a freezer in or just buckets of ice? If they are buckets of ice will it melt fast? Our wedding is in September at a barn. There are outlets inside of the barn but we were thinking of just having big tin bins for ice for the bar and to keep the bottled beer cold. We also thought of having dry ice in a bin covered and then the ice cubes on top (with the dry ice keeping it cold)-not sure if this has ever been done before. This is a simple task but it seems like it can be overlooked and something could easily go wrong.

Any advice on this?

Thanks!

Re: Ice at Outdoor Wedding

  • I think dry ice is what most catering services would use for outside. You could use coolers with ice, which would definitely keep things cold longer than open bins (but are way less cute).  

    Are you trying to self-stock your bar? I would suggest hiring a bartender, as they may provide things like cups, ice, containers, etc. You wouldn't have to worry about making sure there was enough ice, restocking the bins, etc. It's also a good idea because the liability (I believe) is shifted to the bartending company, and the bartenders can moderate consumption a little better. 
  • Not sure if I will be much help, but things to consider are if the tin bins will be outside (covered or uncovered by shade) or if they will be inside. If the bins will be inside, does the barn have A/C which would help the ice not melt so fast (I have seen some refurbished barns that have A/C). Also, how long will your reception be and average high temp for your region in Sept. I was originally planning to have a reception in our backyard, bbq style. But then decided to go another route at a ballpark. They are taking care of the beverages and food so I don't have to worry about keeping the food at proper temp and ice. When I was planning on having it in my backyard, I planned to have ice in tin buckets with the drinks, then keeping extra ice in our freezer so I can add as needed. An option for you might be to test it out... put some drinks with ice in a bucket outside on a comparably hot day to see how long they last. I've also heard adding rock salt to the ice makes it last longer, though I haven't tested that. Also, check with your local rental places... they may have a chill table you can rent.
  • We thought about a bartender through our catering company but they said they would have to check with insurance since they are a local restaurant and they probably could not lend one. So to cut costs, we are using my Fiances friend who used to be a bartender, but we will be providing all of the liquor (self stocking) ice and coolers/bins. I have not heard about rock salt... maybe I will check with that and test it out. It's pretty warm in September but gets cooler at night. Coolers would be better but yes, definitely less cute! I will try testing out the bins to see if that works! Thanks!
  • We thought about a bartender through our catering company but they said they would have to check with insurance since they are a local restaurant and they probably could not lend one. So to cut costs, we are using my Fiances friend who used to be a bartender, but we will be providing all of the liquor (self stocking) ice and coolers/bins. I have not heard about rock salt... maybe I will check with that and test it out. It's pretty warm in September but gets cooler at night. Coolers would be better but yes, definitely less cute! I will try testing out the bins to see if that works! 
  • We thought about a bartender through our catering company but they said they would have to check with insurance since they are a local restaurant and they probably could not lend one. So to cut costs, we are using my Fiances friend who used to be a bartender, but we will be providing all of the liquor (self stocking) ice and coolers/bins. I have not heard about rock salt... maybe I will check with that and test it out. It's pretty warm in September but gets cooler at night. Coolers would be better but yes, definitely less cute! I will try testing out the bins to see if that works! 
    Could you hire a separate bartender? Even if your catering company can't provide one, maybe they have supplies you can use? If they do other catering events, they should have some knowledge on how to keep drinks cold. Even if they don't provide alcohol, they've got to have water, soda, etc at those events.

    One other thing to make sure is that if your fiance's friend is in charge of the alcohol, he probably shouldn't be drinking. Is he ok with that? I've been to several weddings where a friend was the bartender (often someone with experience), and they were as drunk or more than the rest of the guests! You're essentially hiring him for the evening, and he should be treated as a vendor rather than a friend (and this is why hiring "friendors" is a sticky situation).
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
    5000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    Random thought/pet peeve when bars are self stocked and self served......TOWELS!  I can drink from a bottle if I have to, but I cannot stand when I pull a bottle out of a cooler and there are no towels with which to wipe down the wet bottle.
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    mod
    I've worked a lot of outside weddings or events in general.  

    We just use coolers and bins.     They are never self-served so the staff makes sure they are filled, dump out excessive water (although cold water chills cans and bottles faster than just ice.)  It works just fine.   But again, they are always attended.






    I'm not a fan of self-service alcohol bars at weddings or events.  Too much liability.  Make sure you check your insurance.  Also consider investing in special event insurance.


    I agree with MobKaz on towels.   Nothing worse than dripping bottles.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    InLoveInQueensahoyweddingcharlotte989875sparklepants41
  • Ditto the others.   Check your venue and see who you can hire.   

    If you're having more than 10 or so guests then I would not be OK with a self service bar or a friend who is a bartender - especially if you're on rented grounds.


    ahoywedding
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