If your wedding is threatening to put you in the red, think about holding back at the bar. Brides.com presents seven simple tips to save money on alcohol without your guests ever knowing.
- Schedule a morning or midday reception with just a signature fruity cocktail like mimosas. Another option is to hold the reception on a Sunday night, when guests are more likely to exercise restraint and the festivities can wind down by 10 p.m.
- If you've arranged to purchase wine on your own, buy it by the case to save money. But be careful, you should make sure that your savings aren't eclipsed by a corkage fee, which can run as high as $18 a bottle.
- Another simple tip is to close the bar during a seated dinner, and serve only wine and soft drinks. "You could save as much as two drinks per person," says Christina Taylor, a wedding coordinator with Candid Concepts in Renton, Washington.
- You should know your crowd. If you've invited a lot of light drinkers, ask the caterer if you can have a "by consumption" plan, which means you'll be charged by the number of drinks that are poured. According to Joyce Scardina Becker, of Events of Distinction in San Francisco, if the guests are known revelers, opt for a flat fee (a per person rate), around $25 per head. This'll make sure that there are no surprises at the end of the party.
- Have the catering staff briefed: If you're looking to save, there should be no pre-opening of bottles, scooping up of drinks before glasses are empty, or automatically pouring wine in anyone's glass.
- Skip the champagne toast: Let guests clink with whatever's in their glass, whether it's water, wine, a cocktail or Gatorade. Make sure, though, that no one's glass is empty.
- Be creative: Laura Weatherly of Engaging Affairs in Washington, D.C., sets up fruity sangria bars (heavy on the orange juice and club soda). Los Angeles planner Sasha Souza offers mocktails like tequila sunrises with flavored syrups (recipes at torani.com). "Make it look good and people will never ask ‘Where's the liquor?'" she says.
This content originally appeared in Brides magazine. For more wedding tips, visit Brides.com, your number one source for weddings.