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Weddings and Money

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Many wedding receptions typically have some type of alcohol that is used for toasts or for the general enjoyment of your guests. Managing the alcohol can be a somewhat challengin process in terms of costs, in terms of quantities of alcohol, and in terms how it is consumed. Generally, there are 5 different ways to manage the bar that can be used to keep the costs managable and to direct the general flow of the celebration. The next several sections will outline these options.

No Alcohol
This solutions is often used if there is a reason for not having alcohol. One of the most common reasons to not have alcohol is for religous reasons. Some people do not want alcohol in the celebration and if it were present, then they might not be able to enjoy themselves. This is one reason to consider not serving alcohol. Another reason is if a family member or relative was an alcoholic and may be proned to abuse the alcohol if available. If you are confident that this would ruin the reception, you may not want ot serve alcohol in this case. Finally, the cost of having alcohol can dissuade people from having it - often alcohol is one of the most costly items at the reception.

Open Bar
The open bar is one of the most costly alcohol options out there. Your guests will be able to order as much alcohol as they want during the course of the reception. You are typically billed a fixed amount or a per drink charge, depending on the bartender or the establishment handling the reception. Often, this option is perceived as the most generous option by your guests. For any high end wedding where social pressures are high, this option is almost a requirement. However, this option is not the best way to save money.

Limited Open Bar
A limited open bar can be one of the best balances between cost and generosity toward your guests. This option puts certain restrictions on your guests in terms of the amount or type of alcohol that they can order through the bar. This has the effect of keeping costs down, while giving your guests the ability to order certain types of alcohol for no charge to them. Another way to limit the quantity of alcohol ordered is to put limits on the times that guests can obtain alcohol. Most of the time this is provided just before and during dinner.

Cash Bar
The cash bar is not recommemded. The cash bar means that your guests will bear the cost of obtaining alcohol. Hwoever, the cash bar is typically not looked on favorably by guests. It is almost preferable to to have no alcohol than to have a cash bar.

Another way to regulate the consumption of alcohol is to have it passed out at one of two key times during the reception by servers. This has the effect of making sure that everyone who wants alcohol will be able to abtain it and that no one will have too much alcohol.

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