Sip & Save

Brides Behind the Scenes, Budget, Food & Drink
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Photo by Romulo Yanes/BRIDES

BRIDES magazine scopes out the best and worst ways to trim the bar bill:

DO limit the liquor. "You'll save big if you reduce the main ingredients to just, say, vodka," says Chris Harkness, food and beverage director for Great Performances, a New York caterer (greatperformances.com). Stock an assortment of mixers.

DON'T blow your budget on a champagne toast; swap in a less pricey sparkler instead, like a Spanish cava or an Italian prosecco.

DO ask your bartenders to use bottle pourers, which dispense a set amount of alcohol.

DON'T go nuts with rentals. If you want more than one all-purpose glass, Harkness suggests renting three at most: a water goblet, an all-purpose wineglass, and a rocks (or old-fashioned) glass.

DO cater to your crowd. If you have big drinkers, go for an unlimited bar, for which you pay a set fee. Otherwise, pay by consumption, meaning only for what guests drink. (Regardless of which option you choose, ask that servers clear only empty glasses.)

—Lexi Dwyer, BRIDES Magazine

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