Drink Up – Budget Wedding Beverages!

The gold standard of weddings has always been the open bar – but when you start planning a wedding, you’ll be surprised just how much it will cost you to get Uncle Murray tipsy. As with the price of food, the cost of beverages is also skyrocketing. If you plan to serve alcoholic beverages at your wedding, you may find that the price is well beyond your budget. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to control costs, and still give your guests the beverages they want.

Budget Champagne

Even though champagne is expensive, you’ll still want to have enough for at least one toast with it. Typically, you can purchase champagne at any liquor store, but the cost can add up quickly. If you’re set on having high quality champagne, check to see if there are any vineyards in your local area that make their own. Also, check with your caterer – some will throw in a free champagne toast – or check to see if you can purchase discount champagne online.

Cash Bars

Requesting that guests pay for any food or beverage at a wedding used to be considered tacky, but the cash bar is making a comeback. It’s cost-effective and it puts an emphasis on safe driving and other alcohol-related issues, since guests likely won’t drink to excess when they’re paying for it. If you ask guests to pay for their own alcoholic beverages, you’ll save some money and also instill some measure of control over how much alcohol people consume.

Bring Your Own Beverages

Just like a potluck dinner, give guests an opportunity to contribute their own beverages. Not only will this create a variety of beverage options, it can cut back on your beverage budget dramatically. Many people find this to be a suitable alternative to asking people to pay for alcohol. However, if you’re renting a venue for your wedding, check to see if this is allowed – it isn’t always – and make sure to bring some backups in case you wind up with 30 cases of beer and nothing else.

Buying in Bulk

You’ll need more than just alcohol, though. Buying in bulk can help you save money on soda, coffee, water and any other beverages you’ll need. In many cases, you can purchase these items through discount outlets like Sam’s Club and Costco. This will save you money over traditional grocery stores, but you’ll likely need a membership to get in and this can be pricey. If it’s something you’ll use again, go ahead and get one – otherwise, check to see if a member of your wedding party already has one.

Punch Bowls and Other Accessories

If you aren’t hiring a caterer or paying for this type of service, you’ll need to plan for what to do about dishes, cups, and other accessories. If you find a good deal, you may be able to purchase these items outright and sell them later. If not, check with rental agencies in your area – many rent full wedding sets, although you’ll be responsible for cleaning them all before they’re returned. You can also look into high quality plastic alternatives from discount stores – you’d be amazed at the quality that’s available today.

Although they don’t seem important, beverages can make or break your wedding. Imagine an outdoor summer wedding without enough water available, or a toast without the clink of champagne flutes. But it is possible to navigate budget issues without compromising on quality and appearance. Take the time to find the solution that’s best for you and your budget and you’ll be worry free on your wedding day.Drink Up – Budget Wedding Beverages

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Filed under: Receptions — vicky at 8:19 pm on Saturday, June 28, 2008