If you are in the middle of planning a wedding, you may be finding things to get very expensive. Guests often enjoy an open bar, but the alcohol and hosting can become a massive expense. If you are stuck between keeping guests happy and sticking to a tight budget, you may be wondering how to save on drinks for your wedding event, right?
The following are six ways that you can satisfy guests with drinks while staying under budget!
- Supply Your Own Alcohol
Ask your caterer or venue what their stipulations and restrictions are on supplying your own alcohol. If they allow it, you can save a ton by buying the alcohol yourself. Also, you have more control over what is served.
If supplying your own alcohol is an interest, you should ask about restrictions before selecting a venue. Additionally, ask what type of bar packages or options are available.
- Don’t Have a Champagne Toast
Although many consider this a tradition, if you have a large guest list, the cost of each person having a flute of champagne will get expensive in a hurry. Additionally, some guests may not like champagne, resulting in wasted money and alcohol.
As an alternative, allow guests to simply give a toast with their beverage of choice. This ensures less waste. However, if you are set on tradition, simply request the caterer or venue to only pour half glasses for the toast.
- Signature Cocktails
You can provide an elegant touch by providing a signature cocktail to the reception menu. The best part is, it can be cheaper to offer a select few signature drinks vs. an open bar. Alternatively, you can offer a few selections of red and/or white wine and a few beers. This still provides selection while costing less.
- Maximum Drink Limits
If you have a tight budget, an option is to limit the number of drinks per guest. Hand out vouchers to guests good for X amount of drinks each. Some guests may not use all their vouchers; you can determine if you want to allow them to be given to other guests or not. Either way, this can greatly lower the expense of alcohol compared to an open bar.
- Ease Up On Pouring
Before your big event, speak with the venue and request light pouring to help reduce costs. For instance, no doubles, light cocktails, and half glasses of wine. Most guests probably will not notice (or care) because it’s still a free drink. You may even be able to budget in an open bar with this method.
- Wine on the Table
There are two options you can go with here. You can withhold putting the bottle(s) of red and/or white wine on the table, saving more money for the drink menu options. Otherwise, you can choose to opt-out of the bar and provide a bottle of white and/or red wine on the table and let guests know it is the only alcohol provided. Many times, they will make it last longer if they know it’s limited.
- Open Bar Option
If you are set on having an open bar, you can still save money with this method! Simply limit the number of options and brands. Instead of offering expensive brands like Grey Goose, go with cheaper brands like Absolute, for example. Your goal here is to choose low to mid-shelf options rather than the top-shelf brands that can become very expensive!
- Venue Shopping
If you are trying to stick with a budget, try not to get your heart set on a certain venue before you shop around. Some offer things others will not, and some offer all-inclusive reception and wedding packages. This could be a cost-effective approach, particularly if you want to stick with the more traditional offerings such as a caterer, alcohol, DJ, staff, officiant, photographer, and others.
The best way to get the best venue for your budget is to create a list of questions and ask each venue of interest. Finally, you will want to go over the answers to determine which one fits your budget the best while offering the most options.
- Guest List Limit
If you are still finding yourself over budget, you may need to make the tough call and begin cutting your guest list down. One way of doing this is to estimate the average cost per guest and determine how many you need to cut from the invite list to be within budget. This can be a tough call, but sometimes it may be necessary if you are set on certain offerings and/or cannot find a venue within budget. After all, do you really need 200 guests over having 100?
- Increasing Your Budget
Have you found the venue you would like and decided what offerings you want to include while being unable to cut your guest list anymore to be happy? Another option is to simply increase your budget. This could mean extending your date out further to save up, but if you are dead set on including everything (and everyone), it may be the last option available.
When it comes to serving your guest’s alcoholic beverages, it does not have to be over the top. Using some or all of these simple methods can help reduce your alcohol expense while providing guests with some options. Although there are going to be some options, you simply do not want to give up, and some may find it difficult to cut a guest list, especially if it is already short. In these situations, saving up and scheduling your venue further out may be the best available option.