Today's wedding question comes to us from Pam in Portland; Pam asks, "is it ok to have a cash bar at our reception if we are having a big wedding but don't have the money to provide for everyone?"
Great question, Pam! This is actually a pretty common question and we say while it is often necessary to find ways to cut costs, a cash bar is never a good choice. When you have a wedding, you're inviting people to a party, and they shouldn't have to pay for anything while they're there. There are some occasions where you can have friends contribute to your party...a potluck, a BBQ or a weekly poker night or girl's night out but it's not really the same at a formal event. There are a number of ways to try and save money on the alcohol itself.
One way to save money on drinks is to consider having a "limited" bar. Serve only soda, beer, and wine or have a champagne toast. Some couples have a signature wedding cocktail, which cuts down on the different liquors and ingredients you'll be purchasing. Also, confirm whether you have to buy your alcohol from the place where the wedding reception will be. You may have signed a contract that says so, but if not, it's generally much cheaper to buy your own liquor, wholesale -you can get more for your money, and get what you want.