Weddings are often costly. As wedding planners, it’s our job to do more than just help our brides-to-be create beautiful decor for her big day — it’s our business to make sure her dreams come true within the parameters of the available budget. In fact, we’d say that making sure our clients get the most (and the best) for their money is one of our top priorities, if not number one on our list.
We have a lot of experience working with all sorts of different budgets — from “the sky’s the limit” to “budget-friendly, please” — and we’ve faced many challenges over the years when it comes to making magic happen when the wallet doesn’t match the wish-list. That said, we’ve spent more hours than you can imagine whipping up nifty tricks for saving money in the most savvy ways possible. And, you’d be amazed to learn how cutting back in the least important areas of the budget (Keep in mind: Don’t ever skip on things that are important to you or vendors. Both are key to ensuring you love your day and have a stress-free experience!) can save you thousands in the end.
No, we aren’t advocating you ditch those amazing design plans or skip out on investments that are absolute must-haves (ahem… a great photographer), we’re saying that there are plenty of ways to save money on your wedding when you put your mind to it. One of our favorite methods for saving our brides a pretty penny? Scaling back at the bar. If we could see your face right now, you’re probably looking at your screen with a look of pure confusion on your face: “How can I throw an excellent reception without plenty of booze and bubbly?” Excellent question – scaling back on what you shell out for alcohol doesn’t equate to foregoing the bar altogether or limiting your guests to a one-glass-only reception, it means using the budget wisely to create a fabulous bar at a frugal price. Here’s our favorite inside secrets for doing just that:
1. Skip the Champagne Toast
For some reason, many brides are under the impression that you “must” have a champagne toast. That couldn’t be any more false. The decision to have a champagne toast with all of your guests is entirely up to you. If you don’t want to pass out glasses of champagne for a short toast, then let your guests toast with they hand in hand. Or, you can skip the toast altogether, it’s your call and your opinion on the matter is the only one that matters. However, if you do want to include a champagne toast in your wedding day, there’s another money-saving trick you can use. Instead of filling the glasses completely full or half-way full, have the catering staff fill the glasses 1/3 of the way. All the guests need is one sip, so this is a great way to enjoy the toast and drastically cut down on how many bottles of bubbly you buy!
2. Serve Only Signature Cocktails, Wine and Beer
Another common believe that we’ve encounter across the years? The only way to have a great reception is to host a ritzy, open bar stocked with every brand of wine, liquor, and beer on the market. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Open bars are great if you can afford to spare any expense, but if you’re not eager to spend a fortune on liquoring up your guests, then offer a bar that includes only the signature cocktails, wine, and beer of your choice. It’s great options to get the party going without breaking the bank, and it makes sure there are options for the liquor-lover, the wine-enthusiast, and the beer-guru!
3. Only Offer Liquor during the Cocktail Hour
Staggering what you serve throughout the wedding day is another excellent and discreet way to cut costs at the bar. At the cocktail hour, serve liquor, wine, and beer. But, when the reception and dinner rolls around, serve wine with dinner and break out the beer when it’s time to dance! This will ensure that you’ve given your guests plenty to sip on, but will tighten how much to ultimately spend on pricey liquor.
4. Shorten Your Open Bar Hours
Finally, there’s always the option of shortening the amount of time the bar is open. Not only will this guarantee that you save at least a few hundred dollars on alcohol, it will give you the certainty that your friends and family have plenty of time to sober up before leaving the wedding festivities!
Need more photo-happy Bar inspiration? Check our our Pinterest “bar” board….Interested in organizing your wedding bar needs and trimming back on your bar budget? Reach out to us — we’ve got tons of ideas to share!
~Blog contributed by Audra Jones