The cash bar debate ... Eeek!
So here is my advice from a Southern Inspired Social Planner, who happens to have a lot of opinions in the event world ... take it or leave it, but this is what we think ...
Never under any circumstances should your guests have to pay for their drinks at your wedding reception. N-E-V-E-R! Yes, we know that weddings are expensive and adding alcohol to the bill can get VERY costly. I understand, but you are hosting this fabulous event, why are you asking your closest friends and family to pay for their drinks? Ask yourself this, would you have them pay for their alcohol in your own home? Of course the answer is no.
Now, because beverages can add up quickly, and not everyone has a hefty budget, there are some alternatives to choose from.
1. Host a Beer and Wine Bar only. This will reduce the cost immensely. Guests will be absolutely fine with this option. Make sure to limit your wine choice to a single red and white, which will make it easy for guests to remember.
2. If mixed drinks are a must, consider adding a signature drink to the beer and wine bar. This will still give your guests the option, and it will cut down on costly mixed bar alternatives. This is a client favorite!
3. Pre-made mixers. Have dispensers filled with mixed cocktails, when they are gone, they are gone!
4. When selecting your venue, ask them if you are able to bring in your own alcohol. This is HUGE! Select stores like Sams's Club, Walmart and grocery stores will allow you to bring back and return any alcohol that is unopened after your reception. Make sure to stay under your budget, but have peace in mind knowing you'll get some money back at the end!
5. Skip the champagne toast. This is an old tradition, and the debate goes on-and-on. Some planners will tell you to forget about it, that guests don't even drink theirs. However, I am a traditionalist, I believe in the power of a good toast, and I think it's a great way for everyone to celebrate the bride and groom. BUT, if you're working on a limited alcohol budget, forget this old tradition. Most guests wont event notice!
6. Full Bar, but limit your guests list. This is one of those options that would help out of course, but is sometimes not feasible. If you can, lower your guests list to be able to provide a full bar. To us, we would rather have all of our friends and family around to celebrate, then to worry about all those mixed drinks!
TIP: Word the to wise: Always have a bartender. Your alcohol will last longer!
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