Cost-Effective Alternatives to an Open Bar for Your Wedding Reception

Etiquette, Food & Drink

Champagne toasts and custom cocktails are synonymous with nuptial celebrations, but free-flowing alcohol can amount to an expensive bill quickly. An open bar may be the expectation for modern weddings, but what is a bride to do when her budget doesn't allow for the cost? Brides on a budget need not fret over the expense of an open bar, as there are a plethora of affordable options that offer the same celebratory experience. Our etiquette experts weigh in on devising guest-pleasing and inexpensive alternatives to an open bar.

Consider a BYOB wedding if your location permits the practice, where guests may bring along their favorite wine or liquor to the celebration.

2. Save Alcohol for Your Toasts
If you wish to raise a glass of bubbly to your new marriage without breaking the bank, consider reserving champagne for toasts at your reception.

3. Create Custom Cocktails
Instead of resigning yourself to the expense of an open bar, brainstorm with your caterer to create a signature cocktail or two with ingredients and liquor labels that are within your budget.

See More: Nightmare Scenario: Dealing With A Drunk Wedding Guest

4. Limit the Liquor
If you wish to embrace the idea of an open bar without maxing out your bank account, try limiting the liquor by setting an allotted time for guests to sip cocktails before closing the bar. In addition, you may consider regulating the number of drinks each guest consumes by offering attendees a set number of drink tickets.

5. Serve Up Large-Batch Drinks Such as Punch or Sangria
Skirt the issue of a budget-busting open bar by serving cocktails that can be created in large batches ahead of time such as sangria or punch.

6. Try a Wedding With Chic Mocktails
Your wedding doesn't require alcohol to maintain a celebratory spirit. Creating innovative mocktails will keep your drinks economical while preserving your wedding's personalized aesthetic.

7. Create a Beer and Wine Bar
Beer and wine are excellent alternatives to a fully stocked bar if you wish to cut costs. Consider setting up a beer or wine bar where guests can taste local blends and brews.

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