Just when you think you have your wedding budget under control you remember, drinks! Just like at a restaurant, having a drink or two can really change what you thought you were going to spend. However, there are ways to keep your wedding bar bill under control.
Don't Wait to Think about the Bar
At the early stages of wedding planning, when looking at venues, you need to talk about the bar. Many venues will require you to purchase extra insurance if you're serving alcohol. Some will include a bar package in your rental price. You will also need to discuss the bar, and who is responsible for serving with your caterer. It may be that the caterer or venue can offer you a package that makes your alcohol less expensive.
Hire a Bartender
A professional bartender will save you money by pouring appropriate size drinks, and save you headaches by not serving underage or already drunk guests.
Getting married during the day or on a Sunday evening will save you money on the bar. People drink less during the day and on Sundays.
The Signature Drink
There's a reason for all those silly "tomandmarytini" drinks. A signature cocktail, especially one that's heavy on the fruit juice can save you money. Even if you don't have a cutesy signature drink consider limiting your bar choices to a few kinds of alcohol. In fact, there's nothing wrong with just serving wine or wine and beer.
Close the Bar During Dinner
Only serve wine during dinner, and make sure the waiters pour the wine as opposed to leaving it on the table. As stated above, you can JUST serve wine and beer for the whole reception.
Close the Bar before the End of the Wedding
Close the bar too early and you'll lose guests, but leaving it open until the reception is over not only can cost you money, but it can be unsafe for your driving guests.
Will anyone notice if you have a Proseco toast instead of a champagne toast? In fact, if you don't like champagne, consider toasting with whatever is handy.
What about Cash Bars?
At GigMasters we know that every culture is different and what's acceptable for one group is seen as tacky by others. If most of the weddings you've been to have cash bars, and no one complains, then sure, go ahead and have a cash bar. In some parts of the country this is totally acceptable. But, the general etiquette rule is that when you invite guests, you don't ask them to pay for their own food and drink.
What about a Dry Wedding?
Again, this is a cultural, and possibly religious issue. If you don't drink, or your family doesn't approve of drinking, then you aren't under any obligation to provide alcohol to your guests. But, most people enjoy a glass of wine or a drink to celebrate a special event. If you are having a dry wedding, consider keeping things festive by offering mocktails or other fancy choices.
How are you saving money on your bar?
Photo Courtesy of the SDWeddingScene