Serving Alcohol at Wedding (without going broke)



Everyone wants their guests to drink and be happy at their wedding, but sometimes having a lot of alcohol at the wedding may take a large piece of cash out of your budget. When choosing a bar, there are several things to take into account. For example, how many guests are you having? What type of reception will you have? What time will it take place?

Look at your guest list.  How many “drinkers” are there? What kind are they?  Are they the type of  guests who have an occasional glass of wine with dinner or the top shelf connoisseur?

You have several choices:

  1. Open Bar
  2. Open a Limited Bar
  3. Open a Juice, Soda, and Coffee bar

Surrounded by those choices are several other options you could use to personalize your wedding. With an open bar, the possibilities are endless. Unfortunately, the same could be said about the bar tab at the end of the night. You could choose to limit your bar instead, in whichever way you consider fit.

Choosing a limited bar allows your guests to choose from a selection that you have chosen with your caterer. Is it necessary to have brand liquor? Are mixed drinks a non-negotiable? With this option, you can choose what alcohol is in your bar. If you have a hard time saying no to people, you could let someone do it for you.

You could have an extensive selection of alcohol but “limit” guests to a certain number of drinks. You could also limit the times that your bar(s) are open. For example, keep your bar open during the cocktail hour, dinner and the toast. During your cocktail hour, have extra waiters hand out drinks on trays instead of guests going to the bar. This will lower spending between the guests. Shut down your bar early in the evening to not only save money, but spare the risk of drinking and driving.

If your caterer is agreeable, check into bringing your own liquor. The advantages are that not only can you shop around for the least expensive prices, but also you can return the unused bottles for a refund or keep them for yourselves.

4f92857f24f0aec70845a0ccdce085f2Another thing to consider is the “Signature Drink”. Take into consideration your overall theme—it is colors, its meaning, etc., then have a drink that is a result of all those things.

You will save money from only serving the alcohol used to make your drink; you will have enough to rent lavish glasses for the first round. Whatever you do, avoid going the cash bar route. You risk offending your guests by having one. Typically, guests do not bring cash to weddings.  They just spent money on travel, new outfits and a gift. They are there to celebrate with you. Asking them to pay for drinks is like telling them you do not care for them and that they can pay their own way!  Try to stay away from it at all costs.



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