Post # 1
Most of our guests will be Out of Town guests, and we want to offer them some free drinks. Plus, we want them to dance! However, we also need to spend as little money as possible. We will have a non-alcoholic punch available, plus dinner is served with coffee, tea, milk, or water.
What sounds like the best option?
A) Cocktail hour where everything is free, then cash bar the rest of the night. I’m worried some guests will take advantage: “Yay we only get free drinks for one hour let’s order 10!”. However, some guests would not take advantage, so it has the potential to actually be cheaper than option 3 in the end…however it’s only one hour.
B) 1 drink ticket per guest. — With about 250 guests, this means it’ll cost us $1,000 and they all only get ONE drink this way…seems kind of rude. “Uhh, I travelled 7 hours to come to your wedding and I only get one drink?” However I also realize some guests will not use theirs and will give them away.
C) Purchase $1,000 worth of kegs and the house merlot and white zin, once those are gone, the guests have cash bar. I figured out this is about 3-4 drinks/per drinking person.
Let me also add that we’ll either do an open bar for our wedding party and their guests, and our parents and grandparents, or we’ll give them each 4 drink tickets.
Post # 3
The most affordable option would be for you to pay for a beer & wine bar – that way your costs are controlled (i.e. you can specifically budget excatly how much you want to spend) and as long as you get affordable wine – if your budget is $1000 and you stick to domestic beer – it will last longer then you think 🙂
Post # 4
Option C seems to be the best one to me. $1000 for you and 3-4 drinks per person. And since some people may only have one or two then others will get like 5 or 6. Pretty even balance.
Post # 5
I like option C for the same reasons AnnieAAA stated
Post # 6
Does your venue have an open bar option of just house wine and beer so there is never a cash bar. Usually that ends up being pretty inexpensive in places I’ve seen.
Post # 7
you could always do beer and a “Signature cocktail” free, and anything else is cash. That is actually a pretty popular option I see in magazines when they talk about cutting costs. It also gives you a chance to work with your theme a bit and make it seem like a cute detail instead of the cheaper option.
Post # 8
@Miss Peach Tree: I asked this, and it’d cost us $4.50 a drink for the signature cocktail. Which is the same price as a drink ticket…so yes we “could” do it but I’d be worried about it ending up more expensive than it’s worth.
Post # 9
Tiny glasses and a single bar so the wait it horrendous and people give up. 🙂
I’d say a cocktail hour would work best only because if you do the $1000 option there’s no set time that it ends – some people could think that it’s an open bar and not get a drink till later and then have to pay, while others down several for free at the beginning.
Post # 10
I am currently debating this myself. Right now we have a cocktail hour set up and the venue is charging us at about $5 a person for that regardless of how much people drink. We also have the option of paying for a certain amount of drinks. Its hard to know which is a better deal. I would love if some married bees would reply to this with some insight 🙂
Post # 11
Do you have the option of stocking your own bar? we had 2 bars 180 people and 2 bartenders. The bartenders, mixers (soda, tonic, juice) and garnishes (lemon, lime, cherry) were provided by our caterer and we purchased $2,000 in beer, wine, and liquor in the brands we wanted. We had an open bar all night. Our bartenders were very heavy handed and we still ended up returning $400 worth of unopened liquor to the liquor store and we were able to stock our bar and my parents with what was opened. We also had bottles of beer to last us the next couple of months since we couldn’t return it.
If this is an option I highly recommend looking into it. it saved us a lot of money and our caterer was more than willing to sit down with us to figure the whats and how much to order. We had a full bar but you could easily pair it down to just beer wine and a few cocktails.
Post # 12
@ChillyBear: Thank you for the suggestion but we aren’t using a caterer, so it’s not an option. The hotel we are at will have to provide everything — we can’t bring anything in ourselves.
Post # 13
- Wedding: July 2011 - Catholic Church, Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa
We’re doing beer and wine. At our venue, it’s not any cheaper than liquor, but depending on how you’re doing it it will cut down on costs quite a bit. I like option c, because if people want other drinks they can buy them, but you are providing a LOT of free beer and wine for everyone else. I’d be surprised if it ran out until the last hour of the night, when people probably wouldn’t be drinking anyway.
Post # 14
I was worried about this too. I couldn’t afford to pay the caterer $33 extra per person and wine and beer bar. I had 130 guests. In the end, I found a venue and caterer that allowed me to bring my own alcohol. I think it was the best decision I made. Instead of paying $3300 for an wine and beer bar, we paid about 900 for cases of beer and bottles of liquor. We did also ask our caterer to supply us with bartenders to keep it classy. If you have $1000 to just buy alcohol. You will have plenty.
ETA: Oh, I just saw your post about the hotel saying you can’t bring alcohol in. Which sucks because they are able to charge you whatever they want. In that case, what I was planning on doing is letting the bartenders know that you and the groom have decided to pay for the guests first two drinks. The other option is to put a cap on the bar. Tell your caterer that you would like to put $1000 aside and after that it would be a cash bar. Just make sure you don’t tell anyone this. Not even your wedding party. If anyone finds out, people WILL go to the bar and get drinks. Which isn’t fair.
Oh, and I personally don’t like the drink tickets idea. I know my original caterer told me that the bartenders could remember who got what so we didn’t have to do tickets.
Post # 15
@ttn133: I really like the idea of the $1,000 cap. And I understand not telling your guests. But I also don’t want them to be mad when they walk up to the bar to get (another) free drink, and they are told that the cap was reached and they have to shell out cash.
So how do you let them know that eventually, it WILL be cash bar? A sign?
Post # 16
we are doing the same, what a great saving. and considering our wedding party is only 20, i have made a saving of £140. by buying the wine and champagne for toasts, and paying the hotel a corkage fee, its cheaper than their drinks package.
can you imagine what the savings would have been at a much larger wedding, if i saved £140 for just 20 people……..?
the wine will be served exactly the same as it would have been if i had bought the drinks package, no-one will know because i will just drop the cases of wine off at the hotel 2-3 days before the wedding.
the saving of £140 has paid for our wedding cake……