Q: Can we have a cash bar?

A: Guests shouldn't have to shell out for anything at a wedding reception. But there are ways to serve liquor without getting soaked. Lisa Harris, director of catering at the Wyndham Miami Beach Resort, suggests limiting the time the bar is open—you could close it during dinner or an hour before the reception ends, offering just house wines, beer, and soft drinks. Other cost-savers: Pass up expensive premium liquors (you'll save about 15 percent), and have a sparkling-cider toast instead of passing champagne. If your caterer will allow it, buy your own liquor—that way, you can stockpile during sales and return unopened bottles for credit.

See all questions about food and drink etiquette

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