A More Affordable Wedding Drink Budget


If you have ever planned or been involved in planning a wedding, you are probably aware of how expensive they are. Not only are you spending a lot on the perfect wedding dress and accessories, but you are also paying for every guest you invite to eat dinner and celebrate with alcoholic beverages. The cost of alcoholic drinks is often one of the most expensive parts of any wedding. Fortunately, when you plan to bring your own alcohol, you can significantly cut these costs. Use these tips to create your own cost affordable wedding liquor list.

Get a final head count
When a venue charges you for food or alcohol, they request a final headcount. This gives them a closer idea of exactly how much they will spend on food and alcohol ingredients. When you are creating a wedding liquor list, you will also want to use this same calculation method. You can usually get a final head count a week or two before the actual wedding date. Make sure you set an RSVP deadline with enough time to prepare your wedding liquor list.

Create a shopping budget
Approximately 20 to 25% of the average catering bill will be dedicated to alcohol if you opt for an open bar reception. The goal is to save money, so you will want to figure out this number and then create a budget that is cheaper. This will give you a better idea as to how much alcohol and the brand of alcohol that you can purchase. Liquor for weddings can be made cheaper by avoiding top shelf beverages. You could also purchase a couple of bottles of the top shelf and only serve this to the bridal party and family of the bride and groom. The guests will never know the difference as everything will be poured into clear cups.

Purchase local beer and alcohol
When guests are provided with an open bar, they tend to be less picky about their drink choices. You can sometimes reduce the cost of your wedding liquor list by using local vendors. Craft beer is currently trending anyway, so giving your guests the option of trying a new beer or liquor is a great way to cut costs. Currently, small and independent breweries account for 99% of the breweries in operation. It is broken down as follows, 2,397 microbreweries, 1,650 brewpubs, and 178 regional craft breweries. Work with a couple of smaller breweries in your area to get a discount. Many will be willing to give you a discount to get their beer brands in front of new customers.

Create a signature drink
Many couples are creating signature drinks to celebrate their special day. This signature drink is usually a favorite of the couple or a combination of each spouse?s favorite alcoholic beverage. Many guests will want to try this signature beverage and you can easily cut alcohol costs this way. You have more control over the type of alcohol and mixer being consumed. Choose an affordable mix or lower cost alcohol brand. The more guests that order this signature drink, the less that they are ordering more expensive of alcoholic drinks.

Serve wine
Wine is also an affordable drink choice. If you have a caterer automatically walking around and serving your choice of wine or set up a self serve wine bar, guests are less likely to order other types of drinks. Wine is a popular drink choice and will be appreciated by your guests. According to the Wine Institute, in 1993, Americans only drank about 1.74 gallons of wine per capita. In 2013, that amount had risen to 2.82 gallons. This now makes the U.S. the largest wine consuming nation in the world, with over 329 million cases of wine sold in just 2013.

One of the biggest costs of wedding planning is serving alcoholic drinks. Yet, many couples want to serve alcohol to celebrate their big day. You can reduce the high cost of alcohol by buying your own alcoholic beverages, creating a signature drink, and purchasing from local breweries. You can also encourage a specific drink, something that is more affordable like different types of wines.

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Francis Pitt

Francis Pitt has made a name for himself in farm-to-table organics, working at restaurants in Portland, Seattle and Burlington, Vermont. While he has a taste for the extreme, most of his restaurant’s top sellers are much more down-to-earth, regularly featuring mushrooms gathered from the slopes of the Cascades, and fresh wild-caught seafood from the Oregon coast. Inspired by trends in Portland, his latest restaurant offers the ultimate chef’s table: dinner begins in the morning at his island collective farm, and 4 lucky guests every week get to follow the food, literally, from the field to the plate! Francis is a firm believer that you are what you eat — do you really want to be a chemistry set?