8 Satellite Bars to Get Your Drink On

These trendy bars will take cocktail presentation to a whole new level.
andrea fowler the knot wedding planning expert
Andrea Fowler
andrea fowler the knot wedding planning expert
Andrea Fowler
Wedding Planning Expert
  • Andrea Fowler is an Editorial Content Manager at Sony Music Entertainment.
  • Andrea is a New York-based content strategist and creative producer.
  • Andrea worked as an Assistant Editor for The Knot from 2015 to 2017.

In case you missed it, we're calling out satellite bars as a big reception trend this year. What is a satellite bar, you ask? It's not just a cocktail bar—it's a signature sip station that doubles as a focal point and an opportunity to give your specialty cocktail its own moment in the wedding decor. Think of it as a grown-up candy bar. Get inspired by these eight different ways to personalize the trend!

1. Wood Whiskey Bar

Wooden whiskey bar
Dear Wesleyann

Have you ever seen a more appropriate whiskey bar? The dark stained wood and silver trays radiate a laid-back yet totally distinguished vibe. If you don't want flowers on the bar, tall end lamps or topiaries are great floral alternatives that still let you show off your own style—minus the blooms.

2. Liquid Candy Bar

Pink signature cocktail with cotton candy
Blume Photography

As a functional and fun decor element, let prepared glasses decorate the background of your satellite bar. Not only do the already-placed garnishes make service that much quicker, but in this case the cotton candy adds to the "candy bar" ambience. Other garnishes could range from sugar or salt-rimmed glasses to fruit wedges.

3. DIY Hot Chocolate Bar

rustic hot chocolate bar
Brinton Studios

A DIY hot chocolate bar is perfect to warm up guests at a winter wedding. Stock a small table with candy cane or cinnamon stirrers, marshmallows and plenty of whipped cream, so guests can make the cocoa to their liking. If you want to turn up the volume, pour boozy add-ins (like Baileys or peppermint schnapps) into plaid patterned travel canisters—just make sure to have them properly labeled—and supply a basket of monogrammed paper cup sleeves.

4. Locally Brewed Beer

Locally brewed beer bar with IPA and Lager
Jessica Crews Photography

Serving beer is one thing—serving local brews out of a customized bar is a totally different experience. Guests can serve themselves (aka no attendant needed!) from the built-in taps and try different flavors. The simple wine bottle decor adds just the right touch of charm, without stealing the spotlight away from the beauty of the natural wood.

5. Big Batch Cocktails

Vintage pre-ceremony drink display
Onelove Photography

If you're looking for a low-maintenance bar alternative (or supplement), opt for large batch cocktails served out of drink dispensers. Add small signage to each beverage that nods to the decor and describes the ingredients of each drink. If you're outdoors or in the country in warmer months, freshly squeezed lemonade, spiked iced tea and infused water blends perfectly with the weather (and a pastel color scheme).

6. DIY Bellini Bar

Bellini bar with strawberries, raspberries and blackberries
Jerry Yoon Photography

Phantom pedestals have a way of making any table look modern and fresh (and they're especially handy if you want to elevate the fruit bowls for an easier reach, without bulking up the table's design). Not only does the fruit add a fresh twist to the drinks, but they provide a natural pop of color when styled on top a contrasting color like this navy-blue-striped tablecloth.

7. Signature Champagne Cocktail

Champagne cocktail bar
Off Beet Productions

Even if your signature sip is in the same family as other spirits you may be serving (read: white wine and prosecco), give it its own special moment with a solo table presentation. If your outdoor reception space has a particularly stunning flower factor, use it to your advantage as a cocktail bar backdrop. The orange daylilies here make the prosecco signature cocktail bar look even sweeter.

8. Antique Spirits Station

Alice In Wonderland-inspired cocktail bar
Jamie Davis Photography

No room for a big bar installation? A thrifted antique desk will do the trick. Deck out the drawers with old-fashioned teacups, overflowing florals and back-up bottles—just in case. If you're lacking counter space, add a couple tiered dessert trays to provide additional room for light bites, garnishes or cocktail napkins.

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