The home of UK weddings

09 February 2013

A Budget Friendly Guide to Reception Drinks

At your wedding reception, it's highly likely that you and your guests will want to celebrate with a drink in hand. Alcohol at your reception can often lead to hefty costs, but there are ways of ensuring those who want to drink are catered for in a budget friendly manner. Below are our top tips for cutting the cost of drinks on your big day.

Limit the Range of Alcohol

If you are buying your own alcohol to take to the wedding reception (often because the venue itself doesn't have a bar), you can bring the costs down by limiting the range of alcohol available. If you think about your volume of guests, catering to each person's favourite tipple could mean purchasing endless different kinds of spirits and mixers which quickly racks up the alcohol bill. If you stick to wine and beer, the majority will be happy to have one or the other. To make things a little more interesting, why not set up a table for your signature drink? If there is a cocktail you both enjoy, simply buy the spirits for this and present them as an arrival drink.

cocktail on arrival

Ditch the Open Bar

If your venue has a staffed bar, don't be afraid to opt out of the open bar option. Most will not expect a whole night of free drinking and this can be softened by adding a couple of bottles to each table to get people started. If you are worried about avoiding an open bar, set an amount to put behind the bar well ahead of the day so you can keep track of your costs.

Have a Shorter Reception

The amount people drink will be dictated by how long the reception goes on for. It can often be tricky to cut short a reception when in full swing (and most couples wouldn't want it to end abruptly!) so instead consider starting it a little later on. Starting a reception at 8pm is not unheard of and gives evening guests plenty of time to get ready and make their way over to the venue. For guests also present at the wedding, this gives them the chance to head back to their room and freshen up for the evening. An early evening ceremony at 4pm would mean there wasn't too long to wait in between, and you can always plan an intimate dinner for key guests in between the wedding and the reception. There are plenty of ways you can incorporate alcohol into your big day without being left with an astronomical bar tab to settle at the end of it. Cutting down on the range of alcohol, the length of time and the prospect of an open bar also helps to reduce the chances or somebody having one too many!

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