Post #1 in my Cross-Blog Conversation with Ashley of Bride on a Budget.
Earlier this week, I introduced you to Ashley and our Cross-Blog Conversation. I started the conversation by asking Ashley how she felt about Cash Bars/Dry Receptions and what she did for her recent wedding. Ashley responded and shared her views on the issues as a recent budget bride.
Alcohol is one are that can really sink a budget and also one area that raises a lot of controversy as well. In my opinion – there are three ways you can cut down the cost of each – and each one is appropriate in some instances and not in others.
1. Cash Bar – Ah, the ever controversial Cash Bar lol. To be honest – when I first started in the wedding industry I was surprised at the response you get online when you mention a cash bar. In the area that I live in – cash bars are standard. Every single wedding I have ever attended here had a cash bar – with the exception of a few that were dry. EVERY SINGLE ONE – from $5000 weddings to $25000 weddings. To be honest – I have no idea why it is that way here – it just is – and when we were married 11 years ago, we had a cash bar. It wasn’t even something we discussed – it was just the way it is here. My opinion on cash bars is this: IF its what your guests are expecting. IF it’s acceptable in your circle of friends/family. And IF you are still providing plenty of non-alcoholic beverages. IF you meet those three conditions – then go for a cash bar and save your money for something else. BUT if having a cash bar is going to offend or shock your guests, don’t do it. Move on to option #2 or #3.
2. Dry Reception – AKA – an reception sans alcohol. When we renewed our vows last summer, we had a dry reception. This worked for us because we were having a much simpler reception this time around with a dinner and dessert but no dance. My younger sister was married earlier this year. Her fiance and herself choose to have an early afternoon wedding followed with a snack/dessert and punch reception. Because the wedding and reception were both during the day, no one expected alcohol anyway. When it comes to etiquette, you, as the host, are required to provide food and refreshments. That does not have to include alcohol. Keep in mind though that if you want to have a party and have your guests dancing late into the night – an dry reception is probably not the way to go.
3. Limited Bar – I think a limited bar is often the best compromise. I’ve seen this done a number of ways. Some brides go the way that Ashley did with a limited bar selection. This allows you to offer a selection of signature drinks while maintaining more control over the cost of the alcohol being used. If you want to have a wider selection for your guests, you could have a selection of signature drinks available for free and then have other options available through a cash bar. Guests are not required to buy their own alcohol – but if they want something different then you have offered, they do have the option to purchase their own. Another option is to have an open bar during set times. For example, you might offer wine at the tables during dinner and then open the bar after dinner for 2-3 hours.
So that’s my take on the issue of alcohol at weddings Ashley will have her final say and introduce our next topic early next week.
In the mean time – have your say in the comments. What are you doing to help control the alcohol costs at your reception?