By Terry Meadows
Nestled in the heart of Hamilton, Loudoun County, Virginia, Zion Springs stands as a beacon of love and celebration, offering couples a magical backdrop for their special day. As every detail of a wedding weaves together to create an unforgettable experience, one aspect that resonates with lasting memories is the bar service.
In this article, we sit down with Dede Bray, our esteemed Food and Beverage Director at Zion Springs, to explore the innovative and personalized bar options that elevate our wedding celebrations. From crafting signature cocktails that tell your love story to selecting the finest local wines and brews, DeDe shares insights on how Zion Springs tailors each sip and toast to reflect the unique journey of every couple. Join us as we uncork the secrets to a memorable beverage experience that not only quenches the thirst but also captures the essence of your once-in-a-lifetime celebration at Zion Springs.
Exploring Bar Packages at Zion Springs
Zion Springs takes pride in offering a diverse range of bar packages to suit every wedding style and budget. Whether you desire a lavish array of options or a more intimate selection, we cater to your needs with bespoke packages that add a sparkle to your special day.
DeDe: Well, before we begin, I need to establish that there isn’t a separate “bar package”. It’s all integrated into the catering and beverage package. So if you haven’t had a chance, check out our Catering & Bar page on the Zion Springs website, where we list all the options we have, and it’s broken down into the mid-tier package and the top-tier package. We work with the bridal couple and advise on wine and food pairings for their meals, giving them suggestions and ideas of what would work best for each course and offering.
The mid-tier includes:
Beer and wine
- 2 Red Wine Varietals
- 2 White Wine Varietals
- 1 Rosé
- 2 Tap Beer Options
- 3 Bottled Beer Options
- Vodka: Absolute & Tito's
- Bourbon: Knob Creek & Maker's Mark
- Whiskey: Bulleit Rye & Crown Royale
- Tequila: Jose Cuervo
- Gin: Tanqueray & Bombay
- Rum: Bacardi & Cruzan
- Optional: Champagne/Sparkling Wine Toast - Additional $4 / guest
Beer and wine
Premium beers and wines with unlimited champagne
- Vodka: Ketel One & Grey Goose
- Bourbon: Woodford Reserve & 1792
- Whiskey: Catoctin Creek Rye
- Tequila: Patron & 1800 Anejo
- Gin: Aviation & Hendrick's
- Rum: Appleton & Diplomatico Reserva
- Scotch: Lagavulin, Glenmorangie Port Cask, McCallan 12 yr
We offer an open bar as it is the most economical for the bride and groom. We have occasionally had couples enquire about a cash bar, but it involves the added stress of monitoring and managing the bar expenses, followed by the task of reconciling and settling bills after the wedding.
Our bartenders are there for the whole weekend. They first connect with the couples at the Dream Dinner Tasting. They develop relationships with the guests right away from the rehearsal dinner, through the welcome party, and to the reception. There's a continuity; they know what you're drinking, and they're responsive to you, as well as personalizing your experience. They're on the Zion team, and that's a huge part of making your event special.
Tailoring to Your Tastes - Personalizing Your Wedding Beverages
Every couple is unique, and so are their beverage preferences. Zion Springs excels in accommodating special requests, ensuring that even the most distinct tastes are reflected in your beverage selection.
Q? How does Zion Springs handle special requests for beverages that may not be included in the standard bar package?
DeDe: Special requests are what we are good at. So, for example, this past weekend, a bride requested a Fall Sangria. We're happy to accommodate them, and it’s at no extra charge. The only time there's an upcharge would be if they wanted something extravagant, like a hibiscus flower on every cocktail.
Q? Are there any unique or signature drinks that Zion Springs offers for wedding celebrations?
DeDe: The smoky old fashioned is pretty cool because we have a smoke kit where guests can choose different kinds of wood, such as cherry or oak. Espresso Martinis are very popular right now, and we can do that with specialty rimmers and garnishes. Our barkeeper makes a green tea cocktail, it looks like green tea but is made with Peach Schnapps, Sprite, Sour Mix, and Whisky. Other interesting and flavorful specialty cocktails are a Gin Gimlet, a Sawyer, or a Spicy Margarita. Recently, a couple added a coin garnish with a photograph of them!
Q? Can the bar menu be customized to reflect the couple’s personal tastes or wedding theme?
DeDe: In the bar package, there are the two red wine varietals, and two white wine varietals, along with the selection of two kegs. Couples select what they want from our extensive list, and have the option to trade out champagne for rosé. Also, if they want a champagne toast, we do that at the reception. Sometimes, they'll name their signature drinks after their dog, so we’ll have The Sadie, or Boo The Cat listed on the bar menu. It’s whimsical and a fun personalized touch.
Q? What options are available for non-alcoholic beverages and mocktails?
DeDe: We offer the option of non-alcoholic beverages, and we can work with the couple to create some interesting mocktails. Recently, we made a lavender lemonade, and we also had an elderberry syrup mocktail with a coin of lemon and a lavender spear as a garnish. We present them in a way that is appealing. We have these beautiful copper mugs for the mules and make a thing about having the right glass for the right cocktail, too. It adds a little twist, whether it's a pint or Pilsner glass, a martini, coupe, rocks, or wine glass to create that well-crafted and visually appealing beverage
Q? What is the process for selecting wines, and how does Zion Springs assist with pairing wines with the wedding menu?
DeDe: The couple chooses two red varietals, two white varietals, a rosé and/or champagne. We provide a list to choose from, and they can choose which brands they want. We make suggestions of what wines to pair with the meals, so I may say, “Okay, you're having chicken piccata and beef tenderloin. Why don't we do a Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Sauvignon for the red?” And then, depending on the season, I’ll suggest the heavier whites, like an oaked Chardonnay when it's cold out, and then in summer, I'll recommend a Sauvignon Blanc. So it depends on the season, and the food pairingsl. The beer is totally up to them; what they like and what is their preference.
If the couple asks for something not on our list we try our best to get it. Sometimes brides and grooms want a local wine, and we can do that. So, for example, last weekend, they wanted a specialty beer from Bike Lane Brewery, where this couple always went when they were dating. So I got all of the beer from that brewing company. We try hard to get our guests what they would like if it’s available.
We also have a limited edition hard cider we made called ZionSprings Holy Water, which is divine in the fall.
While providing a diverse range of beverages, our commitment to responsible service remains paramount.
Responsible Alcohol Service for Your Wedding
Ensuring the safety and enjoyment of all guests, Zion Springs adheres to strict guidelines for responsible alcohol service, maintaining a balance between celebration and safety.
Q? How does Zion Springs ensure responsible service of alcohol at weddings?
DeDe: All of our bartenders are trained and certified in T.I.P.S (Training for Intervention ProcedureS). That means they are trained to pay attention to behavior and presentation. They can recognize when someone's intoxicated and subsequently address the patron in an appropriate manner to keep them safe. There is typically one bartender per 50 people.
Q? Are there any restrictions or limitations on bar service that couples should be aware of (e.g., last call times, noise ordinances)?
DeDe: The noise abatement law in Loudoun County is 11:00 pm, and that really has to do more with the DJ and music. Our bar closes at midnight, with the last call at 11:45 pm.
Q? Can couples bring their own special or vintage wines, and is there a corkage fee?
DeDe: Our Virginia ABC license doesn’t permit any outside alcoholic beverages to be brought on to our premises.
Toasting to Your Wedding Day at Zion Springs
As the final toast is made and the last dance winds down, the memories of your special day at Zion Springs will be cherished forever. From the meticulously crafted bar menus to the personalized service, every detail is designed to reflect and celebrate your unique journey together. The harmonious blend of local flavors, signature cocktails, and attentive service ensures that your wedding is a reflection of your love story.
At Zion Springs, our commitment to excellence and personalization in every aspect of our bar service is not just a promise but a testament to our dedication to making your wedding day as perfect and unique as your love. This extends to our lodging services as well. With accommodation for 42 of your guests, explore our suites and rooms so you can extend the opportunity for celebrations with your family and friends.