Offer an Italian soda bar for a non-boozy reception alternative

Updated Jul 11 2019
Photo from Rachael & Chris' whimsical tea party wedding by Make Moments

Do I have a nonalcoholic, kid-friendly, super-fun reception idea for YOU. Rachael and Chris had a tea-party themed wedding, but they kicked things up a notch with a nonboozy bar at their reception. Specifically, an Italian soda bar! I'll let Rachael explain:

At first people were completely unsure about how to make an Italian soda. It was like watching people experiment in a science lab. First too much syrup, then not enough syrup, then a flavor that was supposed to go with the coffee (such as English Toffee) that didn't make for a very tasty Italian soda. Eventually, my dad figured out the proper ratio and taught two of my very best guy friends how to be the bar keepers. By the end of the afternoon, they were making drinks for everyone. A little advice: put up an instruction sign if you decide to do something similar! -Rachael

Yo, I got your instructions right here.

italian soda
By: uglypeachesCC BY 2.0

How to make an Italian soda

1-2 oz flavored Torani syrup
8 oz sparkling water or club soda
crushed ice
1 oz half-and-half (optional)

Fill a glass half full with crushed ice.
Add syrup(s) of your choice and sparkling water. Stir.
Float the half-and-half on top of the drink.
Recipe courtesy of

  1. We're doing this at our wedding! FH brews beer, so we have five tap home keezer setup in the house, three taps for beer, one for an experimental half-batch, and one for carbonated water. Add one Ikea cart of Torani syrups, and the Italian sodas are the most popular drink in our house. Because we're bringing 5 kegs (20 gallons) of homebrew to the wedding, we figured setting up a couple of kegs of water under pressure was a super easy addition, and would give non-drinkers like me something fun to drink for super cheap and very little effort.

    Also, I would recommend using the Torani pumps! They produce pretty even amounts of syrup per pump, so if you're having guests do their own mixing (like we are), it gives a good baseline measurement (i.e., one pump vanilla to two pumps blood orange makes a mean orangecicle soda!).

  2. Thank you so much for this post! I am in recovery and not planning to make it a "dry" wedding per se, but wanted to not make booze the focus either. We have a sodastream, so this will be very budget friendly and yummy!

    • My fiance has been sober for almost 6 years, and there are a fair number of people in recovery or non-drinkers attending our wedding. It was important for us to have interesting alcohol-free drink options at our reception. We're having a "breakfast for dinner" reception, so we're doing a juice bar (all fresh pressed juices), a coffee bar with homemade syrups, and a sparkling lemon mixed berry punch for something festive. I'm honestly more excited about the non-alcoholic options than the alcoholic ones!

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