Wedding Budget Advice™

So you've read the etiquette rules proclaiming cash bars a no no, and now you're fretting the potential cost of a pricey open bar at your wedding reception. Relax, an open bar does not have to kill a carefully planned wedding budget. Consider these four ways to save:

1) Find a Reception Site that Allows Outside Alcohol

Believe it or not, many wedding venues will let you bring your own alcohol, which can lead to extensive savings ! Liquor store prices are always less, and you can usually return any unopened bottles for a full refund after the wedding. When prospecting potential reception sites, ask whether stocking your own bar is a possibility.

2) Select a Reception Site with Reasonable Bar Prices

Along those lines, even if you cannot find a desirable reception site that will allow you to stock your own bar, compare bar prices when interviewing facilities. Just like catering menus, all bar menus are not created equal. Many reception sites offer reasonable bar rates (anywhere from $15-$25 per person), while other charge exorbitantly. Bottom line: do your research and choose wisely.

3) Serve a Limited Bar

Even though cash bars are frowned upon, you don't necessarily have to provide a completely open bar at your wedding reception. Consider serving beer and wine only; this will substantially cut down on bar costs, and most wedding guests will hardly notice. If you have a number of liquor drinkers on your guest list, serve a full bar stocked with only well brands.

4) Cut the Guest List

We know you have heard it before, but the only way to substantially cut your wedding budget is to decrease your guest list. Almost all wedding costs are tallied on a per person basis, bar packages included. Decreasing the number of people in attendance will significantly decrease your bar costs.

by Cori Russell

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