Money Advice

49 Ways to Save on Wedding Food & Drink Costs

Early in our marriage ceremony planning marathon, my now-wife made a slightly novel menu suggestion. Instead of a number of self-serve meals stations with distinct themes or a standard sit-down service, why not supply company a pit-roasted hog with accompaniments like roasted inexperienced beans, mac and cheese, and coleslaw?

My spouse-to-be made brief work of my objections to her plan, and away we went with what turned out to be simply one of many 5 most memorable meals of my life. Pound for pound, it was additionally some of the cost-effective.

Setting up a easy nation buffet slightly than a extra elaborate meal was the linchpin of our relentless drive to scale back marriage ceremony prices. But if a pit-roasted pig doesn’t sound like perfection to you, there are various different methods to lower prices.


Pro tip: As you intend your marriage ceremony reception meals menu, begin excited about your marriage ceremony registry. Make it simple on your company with Honeyfund. Guests can use the positioning to offer you money you may put money into your dream honeymoon or anything you’re saving for.

Tips to Reduce Overall Wedding Reception Food & Drink Costs

Use the following pointers to get extra from a smaller visitor checklist and time your marriage ceremony or reception for max cost-effectiveness. They can assist you restrict what you spend on food and drinks on your company with minimal influence on the way you expertise your large day.

1. Host a Smaller Party Days After Your Wedding

There’s no manner round it — extra company imply extra mouths to feed and extra drinks to pour. The surest manner to scale back your complete food and drinks invoice is to cap your visitor checklist, even when it means making some robust decisions about who to miss of your large day.

One manner to keep away from these decisions is just not to have a reception on the day of your marriage ceremony. Instead, host a smaller celebration (don’t even name it a reception) days or even weeks after your ceremony, maybe at your home or in a neighborhood park. Limit the visitor checklist to shut family and friends members and maintain the meals easy — assume a barbecue potluck and coolers with canned drinks.

2. Write Off Venues That Require In-House Catering

The most vital factor you are able to do to scale back the price of your reception dinner doesn’t require a lot effort. Simply name the venues you’re contemplating and ask whether or not they permit exterior meals. If venues require in-house catering, eradicate them out of your checklist.

3. Have a Friend or Relative Host Your Reception at Their Home

If you may have a detailed pal or relative with sufficient space, ask them to host the reception (and presumably the ceremony, relying on your preferences).

Make it price their whereas by assuring them the venue greater than suffices as their reward — though, in case your marriage ceremony is sufficiently small and their love for you runs deep, they may assist put together and serve your food and drinks too.

Assuming the proprietor doesn’t have acres of garden space for company to unfold out, internet hosting at a personal house most likely necessitates a smaller visitor checklist too.

4. Maintain a Coherent Theme

Use thematic food and drinks menus that rely on fewer, cheaper components to save money. A constant theme boosts the attraction of primary or boring menu objects.

For occasion, fried rooster, fried okra, and macaroni and cheese are much more interesting as a part of a Southern-themed menu than as an obvious afterthought on the finish of an extended buffet desk.

Popular themes embody:

  • Comfort meals
  • California delicacies (assume grilled cheese and avocado sandwiches, grilled fish or rooster, and inexperienced salads)
  • Southwestern delicacies or Tex-Mex
  • Healthy eats
  • Whole recreation (our marriage ceremony’s pit-roasted hog was insanely low cost per visitor and gave us frozen leftovers for months)
  • Barbecue

5. Avoid Costly Add-Ons

Skip pricey add-ons, which have a tendency to be upselling alternatives for marriage ceremony venues, not true value-adds for knot-tying {couples}. Cake chopping is an egregious instance. Asking a few company to slice and plate your cake achieves the identical outcome at a a lot decrease value.

6. Skip the Champagne Toast

On high of the substantial labor required to pour and measure dozens of Champagne servings, the booze itself is extremely pricey — at the least $5 per bottle for bulk-bought, bottom-shelf glowing wine and $5 or extra per glass for venue-provided stuff.

As memorable as your first marriage ceremony toast ought to be, it’s merely not price the price. Toast with no matter you and your company are already ingesting as an alternative. Hopefully, whoever’s giving the toast is saying one thing so attention-grabbing nobody will discover the shortage of bubbly.

7. Use Disposable Serving Ware

If you may have a say within the matter — and for this and different causes, it’s sensible to keep away from venues that deny you one — go for eco-friendly, single-use serving ware. That consists of:

  • Compostable plates and bowls
  • Compostable or recyclable utensils and cutlery
  • Compostable or recyclable cups and glasses
  • Recyclable serving dishes and trays

8. Ask for a Kids Discount

If you intend to use a catering service, ask for a youth {discount}. Many caterers lower children beneath 12 a break. Some notably beneficiant suppliers go all the best way up to age 16.

Kids reductions are additionally a helpful negotiating level. Once you discover a caterer that prices much less for youths, use that deal as leverage to elicit comparable concessions from different suppliers you’re contemplating.

9. Hold a Daytime Wedding

Daytime weddings are cheaper than afternoon-into-evening gatherings on a number of counts. Private reception venues usually cost much less for daytime occasions so long as the get together can filter out in time for the night block. And metropolis parks sometimes cost nominal charges to reserve pavilions or grills.

Daytime marriage ceremony company additionally have a tendency to welcome lighter, easier fare like tea or membership sandwiches, primary grillables (sizzling canine and burgers), and even snack meals (chips and salsa). Wedding Spot has loads of daytime marriage ceremony meals concepts.

10. End the Festivities Early

Even when you go for a standard begin time, there’s no want to drag out the festivities.

By disposing of cocktail hour and chopping off the dance music an hour or two after dinner ends, you may shave two to 4 hours off your marriage ceremony’s complete run time, nearly definitely decreasing drink consumption within the course of.

Guests who need to maintain the get together going can at all times arrange an after-party of their very own.


Tips to Reduce Wedding Reception Cocktail Hour Costs

Reduce Wedding Cocktail Hour

One of the simplest methods to in the reduction of is to scale back the overall value of the stretch between the tip of the ceremony and the official begin of the reception. These concepts embody options you may apply at almost any marriage ceremony together with a novel concept or two that would turn out to be useful at yours.

11. Encourage Guests to BYOB

Asking company to convey their very own booze isn’t as cheesy because it sounds. Just make it clear on your marriage ceremony invitation or web site that you simply gained’t be serving alcohol throughout cocktail hour.

Then set the stage for a decent cocktail hour by doing any of the next:

  • Provide Mixers. For company who convey arduous liquor, present a number of cheap mixers, similar to soda and fruit juice. Don’t overlook the glasses, ice, and disposable bar napkins.
  • Themed Happy Hour. Set a theme on your cocktail hour drink, similar to craft beer, and encourage company to convey their favourite examples of the theme.
  • Cocktail Potluck. Use a shared spreadsheet — or your most well-liked free organizing instrument, like PotluckHub — to arrange a cocktail potluck through which company convey numerous drinks to share.

These are solely examples. Your BYOB cocktail hour can look nevertheless you need it to look.

12. Stick to a Single Drink

If you’re not offered on a BYOB cocktail hour, maintain issues easy and supply only one drink between the ceremony and reception begin time. Ideas to present a single drink on a budget embody:

  • Tapping a keg out of your favourite native brewery or cidery
  • Handing out recyclable Champagne flutes and breaking open the glowing wine
  • Offering your venue’s home wine or buying your individual lower-shelf crimson or white in bulk (see our wine-buying information for suggestions)
  • Premix a signature cocktail, similar to your joint favourite or one which matches your marriage ceremony’s colour scheme

Your company’ tastes gained’t be uniform, so don’t agonize about selecting a drink that pleases everybody. White wine or arduous seltzer is a safer selection since many drinkers keep away from beer or arduous liquor (and a few desire not to knock again cocktails earlier than dinner anyway).

13. Keep the Booze Locked Away

Nowhere is it written that marriage ceremony cocktail hours should function cocktails — or any alcohol in any respect. Whether BYOB flies at your venue or not, maintain the booze locked up till dinner.

In the meantime, present dispensers stuffed with nonalcoholic drinks, like candy and unsweet tea or water spiked with citrus, cucumbers, or berries.

14. Get Photos Out of the Way Before the Ceremony

At many weddings, the cocktail hour’s major function is to maintain company occupied whereas the marriage get together poses for photographs. If you may get marriage ceremony photographs out of the best way earlier than company arrive, there’s no want to draw out cocktail hour.

And if the reception and ceremony happen in the identical location, there could also be no want for a proper cocktail hour in any respect.

15. Serve Bar Snacks

Don’t get away the heavier reception menu objects, like pigs in blankets or meatballs, till company are seated for dinner — or at the least within the room the place you intend to serve dinner.

At cocktail hour, whet their appetites with quite a lot of bar snacks, similar to nuts, pretzels, and dried fruit. Those who partake will most likely eat much less in the course of the official appetizer spherical, holding your marriage ceremony’s meals prices in examine.


Tips to Reduce Wedding Reception Appetizer Costs

Reduce Wedding Appetizer Cost

These suggestions might scale back the price of appetizer service at your marriage ceremony reception, whether or not you’re passing out hors d’oeuvres throughout cocktail hour or ready till company take their seats for dinner.

16. Put Out an Open Call for Contributions

Why not crowdsource your appetizer choices? In your marriage ceremony invites and on your marriage ceremony web site, invite company to enroll to contribute selfmade or store-bought apps of their selection.

If you determine to go that route, observe that there could also be some hoops you may have to soar by means of and duties you want to deal with, similar to:

  • Checking with the venue beforehand to affirm it permits exterior meals
  • Using a spreadsheet to arrange contributions
  • Capping complete contributions at a quantity you’re comfy managing (it’s possible you’ll want to discipline questions from contributors upfront and settle for their submissions on the day of the marriage)
  • Specifying serving rely upfront (most company gained’t have the option to cook dinner for 150 or 200 company, however 25 contributors making 25 servings every means greater than sufficient to go round)
  • Asking company to disclose severe meals allergic reactions upfront
  • Specifying any common dietary restrictions (as an example, when you’re having an all-vegetarian marriage ceremony or internet hosting company with life-threatening meals allergic reactions)
  • Following relevant safe-serving laws (in some jurisdictions, it’s possible you’ll want to prep meals on-site)

17. Have a Wedding Party Potluck

A extra manageable twist on the crowdsourcing theme requires asking every member of your marriage ceremony get together to make their favourite app (or an app you assign) for the reception in lieu of items.

But the identical tips apply. Since you’ll have fewer contributors, take additional care to affirm ample provide. Depending on get together measurement, every contributor may want to make 50 or 75 servings to guarantee each visitor can strive multiple chunk.

If all the marriage ceremony get together is accessible the night time earlier than the marriage, you may host a cooking marathon in a low-cost industrial kitchen close to the venue. It’s widespread for homes of worship to hire out their kitchen amenities for nominal charges, as an example.

18. Use Off-the-Shelf Appetizers

Forgo the kitchen altogether with a number of comparatively low-cost store-bought apps, like crudités trays, pita and hummus, and cheese plates — sans unique or fancy cheeses, which shortly add up.

If you or somebody you realize has a membership with a warehouse retailer like Costco or Sam’s Club, store there when you can.

But you don’t need your company to assume you’re phoning within the appetizer spherical. Try these methods to elevate your off-the-shelf choices:

  • Put colourful recent veggies on skewers for max visible influence and faucet company to assist when you want additional labor. Examples embody Gimme Some Oven’s rainbow veggie skewers and Our Best Bites’ caprese appetizers.
  • Arrange apps in recyclable spirits or wine glasses or Champagne flutes slightly than on disposable plates. For instance, you may serve crudites in a cup with the dressing already in it, like they did on The View From Great Island. Or serve gazpacho in Champagne flutes like they did on The Food Channel.
  • Break out outdated household recipes for sauce and topping concepts.
  • Type up playing cards to label dishes and origins, particularly for distinctive or regionally sourced components, similar to cheese.

19. Avoid Passed Appetizers

Although passing apps — having servers stroll by means of the group providing particular person appetizers to company — invariably reduces consumption in contrast with buffet-style apps, it’s not essentially cost-effective.

You have to pay these servers, and handed apps have a tendency to be pricier since they’re constituted of costlier components and require extra prep. (Think shrimp cocktail, bacon-wrapped scallops, heat goat cheese and beet sliders, and miniature savory pies with goodness is aware of what number of components.)

Cut the servers and pomp from the appetizer equation and have company assist themselves at well-spaced stations. This technique additionally encourages mingling.

20. Offer a Hearty Soup Option

As lengthy because it’s not sweltering exterior, supply a hearty soup choice to fill company up earlier than dinner. Creamy clam chowder or savory tomato bisque paired with ethereal crostini is much cheaper per serving than seafood ceviche or caprese salad.

If you determine to forgo dinner altogether, your soup choice could possibly be the centerpiece of a lighter meals service that stretches into the window when dinner would sometimes happen.

21. Play Up Color Contrasts

Visually enticing appetizer components, similar to in-season greens, are sometimes cheaper than drab fancy alternate options.

In summer time, a colourful backyard salad sourced out of your native farmers market sometimes prices lower than a two-toned shrimp cocktail or monochrome lamb skewer. It additionally seems to be equally fancy.

Make probably the most of cost-effective, colourful app choices by:

  • Making them in bigger portions
  • Giving them outstanding placement on buffet tables or stations — as an example, on the ends the place company are seemingly to see them first
  • Slimming down low-color choices’ portion sizes
  • Replacing costlier components with colourful, cost-effective alternate options, similar to swapping Manchego cheese for sharp cheddar

Tips to Reduce Wedding Reception Dinner Costs

Reduce Wedding Dinner Cost

Follow the following pointers to lower the price of your marriage ceremony reception’s dinner service. They embody smart menu and repair modifications made to management prices in addition to out-of-the-box concepts that would depart company positively buzzing about your marriage ceremony for weeks to come.

22. Research Ingredient Costs Ahead of Time

You don’t want an encyclopedic data of ingredient pricing or availability. But it could actually assist to have a basic sense of the price of numerous kinds of greens, meats and fish, and customary sides.

The extra you realize concerning the per-serving prices of particular person components and completed menu choices, the higher geared up you’re to negotiate menu pricing or swap pricey components in favor of cheaper alternate options. That’s particularly essential when you’re constructing your individual menu slightly than selecting from a handful of decisions offered by your caterer.

23. Serve a Single-Course Dinner or Skip Dinner Entirely

Here’s a daring concept: Why not skip the complete dinner completely? Instead of a proper, sit-down dinner service, get away heavy apps in the course of the cocktail hour and maintain them flowing till toast time.

For instance, you may serve:

  • Beef, bison, or floor lamb sliders
  • Bacon-wrapped grilled shrimp
  • Spinach-and-ricotta pastries
  • Chicken or pork satay skewers
  • Tuna tartare cups (mixing in diced recent veggies to add quantity with out including fish)

If you’re not ready to break with custom fairly so dramatically, strive a hybrid app-and-dinner technique.

One marriage ceremony that’s at all times caught with me adopted this strategy. They saved the apps going proper up till they served a single-course, modestly portioned dinner that was far much less memorable than the app spherical. Clearly, the concept was to get company full sufficient that they wouldn’t care concerning the skimpy dinner (I definitely didn’t).

24. Focus on Nontraditional Cuts of Meat

Swap dear cuts of meat — similar to filet, prime rib, and lamb chop — for cheaper or nontraditional cuts. Well-marinated flank steak or sirloin suggestions are almost as tasty as your primary filet mignon at a fraction of the price.

Remember to do your analysis so you may counter your caterer’s strategies with cheaper alternate options. MyRecipes has an article on less expensive beef substitutions, for instance.

25. Go Completely Vegetarian

If skipping dinner is just too daring for you, you may nonetheless save by skipping the meat. Most animal protein is pricey, notably the flamboyant varieties and cuts marriage ceremony caterers push, similar to filet mignon, prime rib, lamb, and sea bass.

Swap these dear proteins for hearty greens and plant-based proteins like tofu, seitan, portobello mushroom, eggplant, and cauliflower. Use creative displays and complicated sauces and dressings to maintain issues attention-grabbing.

Get impressed with vegetarian marriage ceremony menu guides from Bon Appetit, The Knot, and WeddingWire.

26. Set Up a Build-Your-Own Bar

Traditional dinner service is boring. Engage your company and lower down on ingredient prices with a build-your-own meal bar that’s heavy on low-cost sides. Popular concepts embody:

  • Burger or Meat Sandwich Bar. Stock your bar with burgers or meat sandwiches with loads of recent veggies, cheese, and condiments. Weddingomania and Good Cheap Eats have dozens of ingredient and presentation concepts.
  • Tex-Mex Meal Bar. Serve tacos or burritos, emphasizing cheaper varieties or cuts of meat, similar to rooster or hanger steak, and conventional low-cost sides. Serving each taco shells and tortillas permits company to choose between burritos and tacos with lots of the similar components. See Food’s taco bar information for inspiration.
  • Traditional Salad Bar. Let the load recent salads with rooster, fish, or vegetable-based proteins to bulk issues up. The Kitchn has salad bar suggestions and a pattern menu.

If you go the build-your-own route, arrange at the least two double-sided stations to permit up to 4 company to serve themselves the identical ingredient without delay to scale back bottlenecks.

27. Do a Basic Buffet

Cheap buffets emphasize filling, low-cost sides, similar to:

  • Potato salad
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Rolls
  • Steamed greens
  • Corn on the cob
  • Rice and beans
  • Cooking greens
  • Casseroles

Limit protein selection to just a few moderately priced meat and vegetable protein choices, similar to:

  • Grilled tofu
  • Grilled portobello mushrooms
  • Grilled eggplant
  • Chicken breast
  • Cod filet
  • Pulled pork
  • Stir-fry

Elevate your buffet service by setting out simple themed serving stations with one or two choices. It’s a wise, visually partaking manner to cut up company preferring rooster or pulled pork and people in search of out grilled tofu or eggplant, decreasing congestion.

Label stations clearly and optimize station placement for movement. You need each visitor to have easy accessibility to each station and to keep away from bottlenecks as a lot as attainable.

28. Serve Family-Style

If you’re not a fan of buffets otherwise you’re cautious about visitors, you may nonetheless scale back labor prices for dinner prep, plating, and repair by serving family-style meals.

Family-style service means seated company serve themselves from communal dishes positioned on their tables — an prompt dialog starter and alternative for portion management.

Dishes that work nicely for family-style service additionally occur to be cost-effective, similar to:

  • Lasagna
  • Mac and cheese, maybe with an animal protein for added bulk
  • Stir-fry
  • Casseroles
  • Pulled meat sandwiches
  • Fajitas
  • Rice-based dishes

29. Limit Entree Options

If you’re set on conventional dinner service, restrict the menu decisions to two: one vegetarian or vegan choice (ideally vegan to guarantee all company can partake) and a low-cost meat choice.

Limiting the alternatives reduces prep and plating prices in addition to the probability of service errors. For your meat choice, go for poultry as an alternative of hoofed proteins. Chicken is cheaper than beef, lamb, or pork.

30. Order Takeout

A stack of takeout pizza bins on the marriage buffet is probably not probably the most elegant visible, but it surely’s cost-effective. Besides, when push comes to shove, what number of company are actually going to flip down free pizza? That’s very true when you stay in a spot with celebrated native pizzerias, like New York City or Chicago.

Rather than accepting dear in-house catering or choosing a customized menu by an outdoor caterer, bulk-order takeout out of your favourite native restaurant. Takeout is a good accompaniment for casual daytime receptions. And for primary choices like pizza, Tex-Mex, and sandwiches, your ultimate value ought to be nicely beneath $10 per particular person.

With sufficient advance discover — per week or longer, almost certainly — most decent-size eating places can accommodate catering for 150 or 200 company. Fast-casual chains like Chipotle are safer bets and could also be amenable to day-before and even day-of orders.

Don’t pay menu costs with out negotiating first. Many eating places are keen to cost much less to transfer perishable product.

Pro tip: You can additional scale back the price of takeout catering by buying discount gift cards through Raise.

31. Skip the Wine With Dinner

If you concentrate on it, it’s odd to compel company nonetheless ending their cocktail hour drinks to double up so early within the night time by serving wine with dinner. And at 4 or 5 glasses per bottle, relying on the pour, even a modestly sized marriage ceremony’s dinner wine quantities to a 12-bottle case or extra.

Instead, break the mildew, and let your visitor end their cocktails or get pleasure from their meals with a glass of water or tea.

32. Price Out Local-Only Menus

Since native producers don’t at all times get pleasure from the identical scale as industrial meals producers, pricing isn’t assured to work in your favor, however it could actually pay to test it out. Local, in-season menus typically value lower than luxe menus with components sourced from the 4 corners of the world.

Note {that a} local-food-only requirement can have an effect on your selection of caterer. You might even want to buy and put together some menu parts your self with the assistance of company or the marriage get together.

33. Opt for a Tasting Menu

Compared with a take-it-or-leave-it important course, a six- or eight-course tasting menu means better logistical complexity and better prep prices. But smaller portion sizes and slower pacing might justify these drawbacks

If you serve much less meals general, you spend much less on components. Think of this as a inventive various to heavy app-only dinners.


Tips to Reduce Wedding Reception Bar Service Costs

Reduce Wedding Bar Service Cost

These concepts might scale back your ultimate beverage service invoice — an enormous, typically neglected outlay for many nuptials. They embody sensible modifications to how you buy and serve drinks in addition to inventive concepts that have interaction and entertain your company with out breaking the financial institution.

34. Buy Booze & Cocktail Ingredients in Bulk

Most full-service marriage ceremony venues require you to pay by the drink, not by the bottle or case. If you’ll find a venue that gives bulk pricing to events pouring venue-supplied drinks, soar on that deal.

But some venues allow exterior, bulk-bought booze, often in alternate for a corkage payment charged on every bottle opened by bar workers. High-end venues in large cities cost a reasonably penny for corkage. The norm is $7 to $10 in Chicago, in accordance to The New York Times.

For single-serve containers, similar to beer cans, corkage insurance policies are seemingly to be laxer. You may not have to pay to serve your individual beer in any respect, although you need to examine with the venue to affirm.

Even after accounting for corkage charges, shopping for booze in bulk at your native liquor outlet dramatically reduces your alcohol invoice. My marriage ceremony’s complete alcohol value got here in simply shy of $1,000, about $7 per visitor, the worth of a single open bar drink. Thanks to a few supplemental kegs of our pal’s signature homebrew, we had greater than sufficient left over for an impromptu after-party at a close-by campsite.

It helped that we selected a venue that didn’t cost corkage charges. If you may’t keep away from that, at the least strive to negotiate the per-bottle value, maybe in alternate for a assured minimal bottle rely.

Finally, when you don’t anticipate to have the option to slough off extra bulk booze on your after-party, select a retailer with a buyback coverage — a dedication to repurchase or credit score unused, unopened bottles or kegs. You may have to negotiate buybacks individually since retailers don’t at all times promote them.

35. Stick to Beer & Wine

Light beer and home wine usually value much less per serving than the form of mid-shelf liquor you wouldn’t be embarrassed to serve your company. Traditional cocktails, which can include two or three 1-ounce liquor servings, are notably dear.

If you determine to forgo arduous alcohol, supply quite a lot of alternate options, similar to:

  • White, crimson, glowing, and rosé wine
  • Full-strength macrobrew beers (like Budweiser and Coors)
  • Light macrobrew beers (like Bud Light and Miller Lite)
  • Multiple arduous seltzer kinds
  • Multiple craft beer kinds (similar to Pilsners, IPAs, stouts, and ambers)
  • Multiple cider kinds, starting from dry to candy

36. Buy at a Discount

If your marriage ceremony venue permits you to supply your individual alcohol, store at a warehouse retailer like Costco or Sam’s Club for the most effective offers.

Alternatively, use a discount-finding app like Ibotta to discover good offers on bulk-bought booze at supermarkets, warehouse-style liquor shops, or alcohol supply companies.

37. Use Free or Cheap Labor

In lieu of items, faucet just a few intrepid company — or acquaintances you may in any other case depart off your visitor checklist — to have a tendency bar. Unless your cocktail checklist is complicated, you don’t want licensed mixologists to combine drinks, not to mention crack open a beer or pour a glass of wine.

But guarantee your association complies with native laws. It’s seemingly servers have to be at the least 18 years of age and may have to have a professional forma safe-serve certification.

For state-specific tips, contact your state’s alcohol management authority, which you’ll find on the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau website.

38. Set Up a Self-Serve Station

If native laws allow company to serve themselves or the proprietor of the non-public property internet hosting your reception is keen to assume all attendant legal responsibility, get rid of bartenders and permit company to assist themselves.

Nothing enhances a casual daytime marriage ceremony reception like tubs of beer on ice and chilled, premixed cocktails in spigot dispensers.

For smoother self-service:

  • Eschew open punch bowls, which might get knocked over by rowdy company or rambunctious children
  • Anchor dispensers to scale back the probability of catastrophic spills
  • Separate drinks by sort to permit a number of folks to serve themselves without delay
  • Use beer kegs as an alternative of cans or bottles, which company might take longer to select and open

If you intend to supply self-serve cocktails, be beneficiant with nonalcoholic mixers. You stretch your provide that manner and encourage company to nurse their drinks — a big consideration for out of doors weddings in sizzling climate.

39. Promote a Signature Mocktail

The signature mocktail is an alcohol-free twist on the featured cocktail concept. Sell company on your creation by:

  • Giving it a compelling story, similar to a booze-free couple’s favourite or a fond reminiscence of the day you first met
  • Giving it a giant, daring taste — citrus notes work nicely in heat climate, whereas heat spices are higher when it’s chilly
  • Adding textural parts, similar to shaved ice
  • Printing up recipe playing cards for attendees curious about replicating it at house

For inspiration, look to these mocktail recipe guides from Offbeat Bride and Elle Decor.

Of course, your reception doesn’t have to be utterly dry. You can nonetheless have beer and wine for these bored with your mocktail.

40. Stick to a Signature Cocktail

A signature cocktail gained’t save as a lot as a signature mocktail, however having it as the only real liquor choice at your reception and limiting different alcoholic drink decisions to beer and wine helps management prices.

Your signature cocktail doesn’t want to be the identical as your happy-hour cocktail when you’ve gone the one-drink route earlier than dinner, although it’s logistically simpler to do it that manner.

Compensate for the shortage of selection by dressing up the drink by:

  • Giving it a intelligent identify
  • Making it as colourful as attainable
  • Giving it a narrative (as an example, why it’s your family’s favourite cocktail)
  • Reducing its alcohol content material to make it palatable and drinkable for liquor-averse company

Martha Stewart and Brides magazine have some tantalizing signature cocktail concepts, together with low-alcohol choices.

41. Close the Bar During Dinner

If you’re already forgoing wine service with dinner, it’s not a lot of a stretch to shut the bar between cocktail hour and toast time. Remember to:

  • Give quarter-hour’ discover at cocktail hour that the bar shall be closing
  • Clearly announce that the bar will stay closed throughout dinner
  • Open the bar quarter-hour or so earlier than toast time to give company ample time to get new drinks to toast

42. Limit Open Bar Hours (or Forgo an Open Bar Altogether)

I’ve been to loads of weddings with partial open bars through which drinks may be free throughout cocktail hour or for an hour after dinner earlier than a paywall goes up.

As lengthy as you clearly talk your open bar’s begin and finish instances, your company ought to play ball. Many are seemingly to average their ingesting because the reception goes on, anyway.

Alternatively, restrict consumption throughout open bar hours by handing out tickets, both purchased from Amazon or printed on your house computer. Or print them in your marriage ceremony program to save the difficulty of bodily distributing them.

Each grownup will get a sure variety of tickets — maybe two per particular person (instruct whoever’s tending bar to rip them in half as company redeem them). Guests who deplete their tickets can nonetheless pay by the drink or use the tickets of nondrinkers.

43. Go Big on Nonalcoholic Drinks

I stay impressed by the beverage choice on the solely booze-free marriage ceremony I’ve attended. The hosts achieved a veritable cornucopia of soppy drink choices with out resorting to craft seltzers, sodas, or shrubs.

I’ve by no means seen extra types of store-bought canned drinks in my life, together with in my grocery store’s delicate drink aisle. I’ve additionally by no means felt higher leaving a marriage — or the following morning.

Depending on your households’ cultural or non secular practices, a booze-free or booze-light reception may be acceptable anyway. Even if not, forgoing alcohol ensures company depart early — supreme for daytime weddings at venues booked for an evening session.

If company need to flip issues up after your reception is over, there’s at all times the after-party — for which another person is greater than welcome to provide the booze.


Tips to Reduce Wedding Dessert Costs

Reduce Wedding Dessert Cost

Use these dessert meals concepts to lower the price of after-dinner sweets and cake service at your marriage ceremony. They embody suggestions to streamline dessert service with out sacrificing high quality or creativity and extra DIY-friendly choices that reap the benefits of your company’ baking expertise (and candy tooths).

44. Buy Off-the-Shelf Cakes

Traditional marriage ceremony desserts are overrated. They’re additionally needlessly costly. If you may clear out your native liquor warehouse on the morning of your reception, you may certainly head subsequent door to the grocery store and seize a pair dozen prebaked desserts.

Cater to company’ numerous tastes by selecting a spread of flavors, similar to vanilla (white or yellow), chocolate, and carrot, and icing and filling varieties, like chocolate icing, vanilla icing, and fruit filling. If you intend forward, you may even choose up an ice cream cake.

45. Use All or Mostly Sheet Cakes

It’s widespread for {couples} to fee a particular marriage ceremony cake to lower in entrance of company. But why spring for a flowery — and expensive — three-tiered cake when most of your company could be proud of sheet cake anyway? Ditch the pomp and go along with sheet desserts for all.

If you don’t need to forgo a particular cake for your self and your marriage ceremony get together, buy a small, off-the-shelf layer cake (6 or 8 inches ought to do). Add a fairly priced cake topper when you’d like.

46. Think Outside the Cake Tin

Steer away from cake altogether. Crunch the numbers on fashionable desserts and sweets, similar to:

  • Brownies
  • Cookies
  • Rice crispy treats
  • Fruit cups
  • Fruit tarts
  • Sweet bars (similar to lemon bars)
  • Fruit or nut pies
  • Ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet

Stick to a handful of choices at most — sufficient for company to pattern all of them with out gorging.

47. Bake Your Own Desserts

If you may crowdsource elaborate appetizers, you may certainly crowdsource desserts. In truth, since most of your company are seemingly to have ovens sufficiently big to bake just a few dozen cookies or cupcakes at a time, your bring-your-own-desserts marketing campaign might nicely get extra buy-in.

Simple, mix-based desserts are cheaper than scratch-made, protein-rich appetizers too.

If you’re apprehensive about sending out an open name for dessert contributions, you may ask every member of your marriage ceremony get together to provide a dessert.

48. Slim Down Your Slices

When all else fails, train portion management. If you may eradicate one of many 10 desserts you deliberate by decreasing cake slice measurement by 10%, you scale back your complete cake ingredient prices by 10%.

49. Set Up a Candy Bar

Who mentioned a correct marriage ceremony wants baked desserts, not to mention a standard marriage ceremony cake?

Have a member of your marriage ceremony get together hit the superstore on the morning of your marriage ceremony for an assortment of crowd-favorite sweets to create a “candy bar.” Throw in your leftover Halloween sweet, and also you’ve acquired a budget-friendly smorgasbord to fulfill your sweetest-toothed company.


Final Word

Even after implementing each cost-cutting technique that is smart on your big day, food and drinks prices are certain to account for a big share of your marriage ceremony reception finances.

The excellent news is the cuts needn’t cease there. By simplifying or doing away completely with different features of your marriage ceremony reception, you may additional measurement down your marriage ceremony finances with out adversely impacting the visitor expertise.

For instance, you may scale back your reception’s music prices, settle on a low-cost centerpiece various, and get inventive along with your marriage ceremony flower preparations.

Whatever you do, don’t let anybody let you know the marriage of your desires has to break the bank.


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