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1. TIMING – Hold a morning or midday wedding reception. You can offer fruity mimosas or bloody maries as a signature drink, and your guests won’t miss the beer, wine or liquor! Another option is to hold your wedding on a Sunday. Guests will be less likely to drink heavily as many will be headed home or working on Monday.
2. PROVIDE YOUR OWN ALCOHOL – If your venue allows it, bring in your own beer, wine and liquor. Many stores will allow you to buy alcohol by the case and will even allow you to return unopened bottles, which are both big money savers! Just be sure your venue doesn’t charge a large corkage fee, as these can add up quickly. For example, a venue may charge up to a $20 corkage per bottle of wine!
3. CLOSE THE BAR DURING DINNER – Closing a fully hosted bar during dinner and just offing wine service during dinner can save up to (2) drinks per person!
4. KNOW YOUR CROWD – Are you guests light drinkers or heavy drinkers? Knowing this information will save you money. If you don’t think your guests will drink much, opt for a bar that is charged on consumption. This way you will only be charged for exactly what your guests drink. If you know your guests are big partiers and will drink a lot, opt for a per person bar package. Purchasing this for around $25 per person will prevent an astronomical bar tab and any surprises the next day.
5. BRIEF THE CATERING STAFF – Make sure the bartenders are not pre-opening any bottles. You don’t want to be charged for open bottles that nobody drank. Also, inform the catering staff not to pick up half-full glasses or re-fill drinks without being asked.
6. SKIP THE CHAMPAGNE TOAST – While champagne toasts sounds like a great idea, you would be amazed how much champagne goes to waste. Let guests toast with the drink in their hand. As long as everybody has a beverage, nobody will miss the champagne!
7. BE CREATIVE – Offer a fun signature drink or a unique beverage station. This way you can control the amount of alcohol, and as long as it looks appealing, everybody will drink it! For example, provide a sangria bar with white and red sangria. Because sangria is a mixture or fruit, fruit juice, club soda and wine, you have the option of using less wine. Also, it will look visually appealing and fun, and your guests will go straight for it!
8. KEEP IT SIMPLE – Only host beer and wine. There is no reason you should feel obligated to provide a full open bar. I promise your guests will not complain to free beer and wine! Not only is the cost or beer and wine typically cheaper than hard alcohol, you will also find that guests will consume fewer drinks overall if hard alcohol is not in the mix.
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