Let’s face it, planning a wedding can get pretty costly. Food and beverage costs alone, are typically 50% of your wedding expenses, with the bar tab often reaching $5,000 or more. Some wedding venues have a beverage minimum of $3,000-$6,000, depending on the day of week you’re getting married. In addition to your catering expenses, the costs for food and drinks at your wedding can add up. To save money on your bar expenses, here are 5 suggestions.
1. Signature Drinks: Signature drinks can serve dual purposes. Not only does it let your guests in on a little bit more of your personality, but it adds a cocktail to your bar. If you’ve opted for beer and wine only, a signature cocktail is a way to infuse a little more variety and give those that crave something stronger, just what they’re looking for. You can also get a lot more drinks per bottle of alcohol with a predetermined cocktail.
2. Beer & Wine Only: Because the cost of alcohol is quite expensive and charged per person, you may just opt for a beer and wine only bar. This will eliminate the added cost of barware, garnishes, as well as bartenders.
3. Dinner Closure: If you’ve decided on a full-bar, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. You can save by reducing the number of hours that the bar is open. I suggest to my brides and grooms that they close the bar during dinner service and have their guests drink the beverage that came with dinner service. After all, you paid for that too. You can then have the bar reopened to serve guests throughout the evening.
4. Toasts: Sure, it’s a nice touch to serve everyone champagne for the toast but maybe not for your wallet. To save costs, you can have the venue or caterer just serve champagne to you and your new spouse and have your guests raise their glasses with the drinks they currently have.
5. Cheaper Brands: Your guests will love having a full bar and not having to pay for a drink. To save money on your bar expenses, you can select a good bar package with basic gin, vodka, and such. However, you don’t have to splurge on the premium brands. They’ll appreciate what you give them!
Food and entertainment are the two things that your guests will remember the most about your wedding. They will remember if the food was bad and if they had to pay for their drinks at a cash bar. The ultimate goal is for you and your guests to have a great time at your wedding. So, don’t stress yourself too much over having a fully stocked premium bar. Determine what works best for you and your budget and go from there. Happy planning!