Save on Wedding Reception Alcohol When You’re on a Budget
When my friend Elaine was planning her nuptials, sticking to a budget was a huge priority and that included figuring out how to save on wedding reception alcohol. Besides being smack-dab in the middle of a recession and facing job uncertainty, she suffered the same fate as many brides before her: a burgeoning guest list designed to not offend anyone, especially the in-laws. With a little help from her budget-conscious bridesmaids, yours truly included, she was able to save more than she expected using these strategies.
1. Choose a BYOB Facility
Don’t worry that your wedding guests will be toting brown bags with their own booze. In this case, a BYOB facility for your reception is one that allows you to bring your own wedding reception alcohol for your guests. If the facility provides the alcohol, they will charge you a significant mark-up fee. By supplying our own alcohol, we were free to choose whatever we wanted, from $6-bottles of wine to discount cases of beer. Don’t forget to compare corkage fees at the different facilities you’re considering. We were surprised to find out that the facility can still charge you a per-cork fee for every bottle of alcohol a staff member opens…even if you provide the alcohol!
2. Get Married on a Weekday to Save on Wedding Reception Alcohol
Elaine was already considering getting married on a weekday instead of a weekend because it’s cheaper to rent a reception hall and take pictures in a park Monday to Friday. As it turns out, a weekday wedding also helped her to budget on booze for the occasion as wedding guests drink less alcohol during the day. Consider having a morning wedding with a reception that wraps up before 2 or 3 p.m.
3. Tip Your Waiters
This waiter tip saves money, not costs you extra. Make sure that you, the wedding planner, or facility manager give this tip to waiters: Refill glasses only when they’re empty. It’s not uncommon at weddings for waiters to walk around topping up glasses. Make sure your waiters aren’t too eager to top up your guests’ glasses and blow your budget in the process.
4. Serve Sparkling Juice
It may seem strange to not serve champagne on your big day, but you can really save money on wedding reception alcohol if you offer sparkling white grape juice instead. You could opt for a sparkling apple cider, but I found that a good quality sparkling white grape juice is closer in look and taste to champagne than sparkling cider. But it’s up to you. I like some of the frugal offerings with classy labels from SweetWaterCellars.com, but you can also find some delicious sparkling juices such at stores like Walmart and some supermarkets.
5. Limit Serving Size
If you do decide to serve an affordable, tasty champagne, you can still squeeze out some savings by serving it in very slender champagne flutes. These glasses are they’re still wonderfully elegant, but hold less alcohol. Reduce each serving size even more by telling waiters to only half fill glasses.
6. Hold off on the Hard Stuff
Granted, it’s easier to get away with this if you’re having a morning wedding (once the sun sets, guests are more likely to want to sip on some spirits). As long as you have some budget-friendly wines and beer, your guests won’t be too disappointed with your wedding reception alcohol. Visit CheapWineFinder.com to brush up on the best budget vintages. We also found some great selections by using “The Top 100 Best Buys 2010” from WineEnthusiast.com. You can also find their recommendations for 2011 and earlier years by entering the term “best value” in their Search box. With a little digging and some ingenuity, you can find dozens of ways to save when planning your wedding.