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The Booze

Reducing the Drinks' bill at your Wedding

Follow these top tips from The Chief Bridesmaid to save money on your wedding drinks budget

Cutting the cost of the drinks bill at your wedding can be tricky - venues frequently either tie you into buying their premium priced alcohol, or charge outrageous corkage fees for alcohol you provide yourselves.  

However, in these credit crunch times where wedding venues are having to compete harder for your business, you may find that it is possible to negotiate yourselves out of corkage charges.Saving money on your Wedding Bar bill

Save money by providing your own wine

Buying your own wine and hiring your own bartender is the cheapest way to have an open bar at a wedding. Caterers can charge you thousands for something that should only cost you hundreds. If you do buy your own alcohol, buy it on a sale or return basis - Majestic wine offer this as well as free instore tastings and free delivery throughout most of the UK.  

One of my friends did a booze cruise to France with his Dad and brother to pick up nice wine for their wedding. They had a nice day out, picked up some top quality wine and saved money - an all round Chief Bridesmaid winner. 

Cheaper alternatives to the Champagne reception

Serve Cava instead of Champagne. The overwhelming majority of guests won't be able to tell the difference and so what if they do! Plus you'll be saving roughly 80% on the bill. Prosecco or sparkling wine is also a good, cheap alternative if you're not a fan of cava. Alternatively, offer bucks fizz (champagne mixed with orange juice) at the drinks reception - it still feels like a treat for guests, prevents them from getting too tipsy and is far cheaper for you.

Money saving advice for your Wedding
Use the waiters to help you save money

Request that your waiters ask guests if they’d like more wine, instead of automatically topping up their glasses. Your guests will probably appreciate this too, as they’ll be able to keep more of a tab on how much they’re drinking.

Timing is everything

Begin your wedding later in the day - the longer your wedding guests are with you, the more they will inevitably drink. Alternatively, hold your wedding on a Sunday as well as the venue and catering often being 50% cheaper: as some guests will have to return to work the following day, they’re less likely get stuck into the wine.

Don’t pay the whole booze billCut the cost of your Wedding day

Some couples insist on laying on a free bar, but if you’re looking to save money, don’t feel obliged to. It is perfectly acceptable, and indeed common practice, to have a pay bar for the evening reception. Perhaps mention it in your wedding information so that guests know to bring money with them.

Alternatively, just put a certain amount of money behind the bar, or lay out a couple of drinks tokens at each guest’s place on the table. Once they’ve used up their tokens, they can pay their own way - this way you can keep tabs on the drinks bill and prevent it from getting out of hand and beyond your wedding budget

Restrict the drinks on offer to better value ones

If you do want to pick up the bar tab, have a chat to your venue, caterer or wine merchant about the best value drinks to serve. You may find that it’s considerably cheaper to restrict the bar to wine and beer only.

Read on for how to save money on wedding catering, cheap wedding favour ideas and cheaper wedding entertainment tips.