How to Stay on Budget While Serving Alcohol at Your Wedding


Alcohol can eat up a large portion of a wedding budget, and it can be tricky for many couples to avoid going overboard. If you are planning on serving alcohol at your wedding but are worried about going over budget, follow these tips to cut down on costs while still throwing the celebration of your dreams.


Purchase Your Own Alcohol

Rather than having your caterer provide the alcohol, buy your own alcohol (if your venue and caterer allow for it – make sure to check first). It’ll be cheaper than getting it through the caterer, and you’ll also have control over what type of alcohol you are buying. The best option is to find a liquor store that allows returns so that you can get your money back on any unopened bottles (which you’ll likely have – it is better to be overstocked). If you don’t, however, you’ll be able to save these unopened bottles to enjoy yourself or to give as gifts.


Limit Bar Hours

There are a few ways you can play with the bar hours to save money. One option is to close the bar an hour or so before the end of the celebration, rather than leaving it open the entire time. Another trick is to offer hard alcohol during the cocktail hour, but switch to only offering beer and wine during the reception. Your guests will hardly notice these small tweaks, but they can make a big difference in your final invoice.


Choose Wisely Between Paying Per Drink Versus Per Person

This decision will depend on the size and type of crowd you’ll have at your wedding. If you are throwing a smaller gathering with people who don’t drink or don’t drink much, the per drink path is probably the way to go. However, if you are throwing a larger celebration, or simply have a lot of guests that you expect will drink more, the more budget-friendly option will be to pay per person.


Consider a White or Soft Bar

You’ll be able to cut down on costs by not doing a full bar at your wedding. Consider a white bar, where all the alcohol that is served is white (white wine, champagne, vodka, gin, etc.), or a soft bar, where no hard alcohol is served (just beer and wine). You can still celebrate without breaking the bank with a full bar!


Opt for a Signature Cocktail

Do you like the idea of having mixed drinks and hard alcohol available to your guests, but cringe at the costs that can come with offering a full bar? Then marry the two ideas by crafting a signature cocktail or two to offer guests. Not only will this add a personal touch, but you’ll also be able to offer more than beer and wine without having to pay for every possible mixer and hard alcohol option.


Skip the Top Shelf Alcohol

Sure, you’ll want to celebrate with some great-quality libations, but you can easily drive your costs up drastically if you are offering top shelf alcohol. Opt for some more budget-friendly options to stay on track financially. Alternatively, you can choose just to have your favorite top-shelf alcohol available to celebrate with, but stick with the cheaper options for other types of alcohol.


Do Toasts without Champagne

While it is tradition to pass around flutes of champagne for a wedding toast, many couples are choosing to skip the bubbly and allow guests to toast with whatever drink they are holding – whether it’s wine, beer, or a soda. The cost of doing a champagne toast can add up, and for many couples it simply isn’t worth it, especially considering the fact that many guests don’t even finish their glass. Guests will be happy to toast with their drink of choice!


If you are in the process of planning your wedding, come to the next Georgia Bridal Show near you. You will have the chance to meet with professional wedding vendors of all talents who can help bring your vision to life!


Georgia wedding vendors, as well as other wedding professionals across the Southeast, can contact us about opportunities for exhibition and online marketing with Georgia Bridal Show.