The bar is a pretty important component of many parties, so hosts are understandably nervous when it comes to cutting costs in this category. When the budget calls for it, here are some ways to cut down the tab without sacrificing the enjoyment of your guests.
Find the right venue.
Probably the most important factor in dictating the final cost of your bar tab is the venue. Choosing one that allows you to bring your own booze means that you can take advantage of some of the warehouse store deals, like BevMo’s 50 cent wine sale (essentially a two for one offer on certain bottles). If you go this route, you can either hire a bartender through a staffing company or your caterer can provide that service, usually for an hourly fee.
Keep the menu to wine, beer and a few signature drinks.
You can even make one of those drinks a Champagne based cocktail, like a Kir Royale or a Bellini and use less expensive sparkling wine.
If you are getting married at a venue providing the alcohol, make sure it is actually cheaper to cut out mixed drinks before doing so. Sometimes a venue charges similar pricing for cocktails as for glasses of wine, so there is really no reason to limit the bar.
Serve Prosecco or another less expensive sparkling wine instead of Champagne. And when it comes to cocktails, keep the liquor options to the venue’s well drinks versus the more premium options.
Offer your signature drinks or open bar during cocktail hour, then switch to a more limited bar once dinner starts. Or have your wedding during the daytime when guests tend to drink less.
Talk with the catering department.
Ask them to open bottles only as needed, fill wine glasses upon request only and clear drinks only if they are done or clearly abandoned.