Post # 1
I know this is a hot button topic! Wanted to get some opinions. Me fiancé and I are paying for our wedding completely by ourselves! It’s very expensive and we are on a strict budget! We are having about 105-110 guests. I’m trying to maintain my budget and make my guests happy at the same time! For booze at the wedding I was thinking of a few different things! Cash bar will be offered all night no matter what. Really hoping to get some opinions!
1. Providing unlimited beer and wine only during cocktail hour (but they can buy hard booze if they want), 2 bottles of wine (1 red 1 white) at each table during dinner and a campaign toast.
2. Offering an unlimited buttered signature drink during cocktail hour & beer and wine on me, Champaign toast, but no wine at the tables
3. Doing full open bar that stops when my budget runs out, Champaign toast and no wine on tables
4. Doing 2 drink tickets per person, wine on tables and Champaign toast (thinking tickets are tacky but I’d personally rather have the option to get what I want then a limited selection)
Thoughts? Opinions? If you did any of these options would you be comfortable sharing how much it costs? My budget really only allows max $2000 on drinks… keep in mind I only have 100-105 people.
Post # 2
The only option I really dislike is drink tickets. I’d lose mine and pout.
The rest are all fine but I think my preference would be Option 1, since that provides some drinks during both cocktail hour and dinner.
Post # 3
You really don’t need to have a cocktail hour, even more so if you’re not planning on serving cocktails. Personally, I’d go straight into dinner and just provide wine/beer all night.
Post # 4
We are doing open beer, wine and sangria for the entire reception with a concurrent cash bar for hard liquor. I know a lot of people are very anti any kind of cash bar, but I figure it is better to have it as an option than to not offer it at all. Also, almost all of our guests would have beer or wine anyway so it was not worth tripling our liquor budget to accommodate 5-6 people who would prefer hard liquor (but will probably be fine with beer or wine).
Post # 5
My preference as a guest would be number 3. I wouldn’t really go for an option that has wine on the tables, because most weddings I have been at where there was wine on the tables ended up with a lot of un-drank wine. I would also skip the champaign toast, as not everyone likes champaign. I tend to drink both mine, my FI’s and my parents if we are at a wedding together as none of them like champaign.
Post # 6
Honestly, it depends on your guests. In some areas drink tickets are common, while in others a hosted bar with a time limit is perfectly acceptable. However, I do think you need to offer drinks during cocktail hour, otherwise just start the reception/dinner earlier. I personally like option 3 the best.
Post # 7
Figure out what you can serve within your budget and serve that.
If you want to follow good etiquette and the manners required to be a good and gracious hostess, then you need to understand that cash bars are rude.
You are not obligated to serve alchohol at all let alone a fully stocked bar. If you can serve beer and wine, go with that. If you can serve a signature cocktail, offer that. whatever you do, guests shouldn’t ever be asked to take out their wallets.
Post # 8
I found this post: http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/01/calculate-alcohol-for-wedding/ to be really helpful. We’ve got a summer wedding and we’ve just started buying our wine. I was really, really surprised at how good the $7 to $15 bottles were when we did a tasting. I’d defintiely reccomend checking out your local cellar or equivalent to get a sense of what you can get for your dollars.<br /><br />Out of the above options, I’d go with option 3 – one red, one white, two beers and maybe an italian soda bar (summer) or hot chocolate bar/mulled wine (winter) as a cheaper alternative to a signature cocktail.
Post # 9
Are you getting your alcohol through your caterer? Because we’re spending about 1500 for a beer-wine-signature cocktail bar that’s open all night for 130 guests. We’re providing the alcohol, but it should be PLENTY. I did the A Practical Wedding calculator and then bumped it up from there. So, I’d do some calculations, and you might actually be able to fit open bar within your budget.
If open bar is definitely a no go, I like the first option the best.
Post # 10
I think it might confuse people if you have an open/semi-open bar during cocktail hour and then switch to cash bar only during dinner and the rest of the reception. It sounds like it would be within your buget to host beer and wine only for the entire thing, from cocktail hour through the reception. You might even have money left over for the champagne toast. I would skip the wine on the tables though; it’s unecessary if you’re hosting alcohol at the bar. You also don’t need to host liquor if it’s not in your budget (that’s what we’re doing). As previous posters have said, price it out and see what you can afford — $2,000 is plenty for an alcohol budget, so you might be surprised at what you can get with that amount of money!
Post # 11
My wedding planner advised against a champagne toast for us. She said she has seen so many where half the people don’t like champagne or they only drink half their glass. Might be more worthwhile to put that money elsewhere. Just a suggestion!
Post # 12
Thank you all so much for the feedback, opinions and ideas!!! I didn’t really think about people not drinking the wine at the tables.. so that’s a great point. It sounds like most people as a guest would be happy with beer, wine and soda open for the night. I like that people wouldn’t get tooo drunk, it’s also classy and they will have options.
Post # 13
Budgetwise, I think you are in good shape! We did beer, wine, and champagne in an open bar format for the cocktail hour and reception, and we spent $1000 total for 80 guests (with a lot of things left un-drunk that we were able to return later). Plus a little extra for sodas, ice tea, and lemonade. People got plenty drunk even without hard liquor, lol, and it was a great time.
We opted to have champagne available at the bar rather than doing a champagne toast because many folks do not drink champagne, so when you pass out flutes of the stuff, a lot of it goes to waste. And an open bar all night long, rather than wine on tables, allows the bartender to control the size of the pours and also to make sure fewer wine bottles get opened and not finished.
I would definitely suggest going with the beer/wine open bar idea rather than anything involving cash or ticket systems, if you can swing it.
Post # 14
- Wedding: October 2014 - Our Backyard/Steakhouse
There’s no reason you can’t do beer and wine for the whole wedding.
Hard liquor is not a requirement and anything that requires your guests to open their wallets to attend YOUR party is tacky.
Properly host within your budget, even if it’s cake and punch.
Post # 15
Don’t do a cocktail hour. Just do beer and wine all night. That is what we are doing to stay in budget.