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Cash Bar? Don’t Do It!

Posted on December 2nd, 2008 by Kori Ellis in Wedding Drinks 8 Comments

It’s always a question whether the couple should have a cash or open bar. With the rising costs of planning a wedding, many consider having a cash bar where the wedding guests pay for their own drinks. I’m here to say – DON’T DO IT.

A cash bar at a wedding is ultimately tacky. It’s not a BYOB backyard barbecue. So please, don’t ask your guests to pay for their drinks. They are just that … guests, and should be treated with a delicious meal and beverages.

However, just because you are paying for the drinks doesn’t mean the costs have to get out of hand. There are a variety of ways you can cut back.

Wine and beer

Open Bar

If you opt to have a completely open bar, that means your guests will be able to order whatever they want and you’ll pick up the entire bar tab. Though it sounds expensive, you can reduce costs by creating a limited bar instead. The easiest way to do this is to stock only house liquors instead of premium brands. Also, have a limited number of domestic beers and wines only. Work with your caterer to find tasty options that aren’t overly expensive.

Signature Cocktails

One of the hottest trends at wedding receptions is the signature cocktail. With the signature cocktail, you select one or two drinks (oftentimes his and her favorites) and serve ONLY those cocktails at the reception. Though this sounds very trendy and hip – it’s also a great way to cut down on bar costs. You can select favorite drinks of the bride and groom or stick to more traditional options such as Screwdrivers, Margaritas or Daiquiris. Another idea is to pick a themed drink. For example, at a beach wedding you might serve Blue Hawaiians. For a city wedding, you may choose Cosmopolitans.

The key to saving money is to communicate with your reception site or caterer. Perhaps the site will allow you to bring in liquor from outside. If that’s the case, you can work with local liquor markets or wholesalers in the area to try to find a deal. When they find out you are getting married, they might give you a newlywed special.

Don’t be pressured into the completely open bar with unlimited premium liquor and champagne flowing all night. Your wedding day shouldn’t put you into debt. On the other hand, if you are really short of money, don’t give in and have a cash bar. Instead find other ways to cut back, such as reducing the guest list, eliminating the seafood from your menu or having a dessert-only reception. There are plenty of ways you can save.

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Tipsy Wedding Guests: How to Avoid Drunken Capers with Savvy and Aplomb

Posted on November 13th, 2007 by Amber in Funny, Wedding Drinks, Wedding Etiquette 2 Comments

glass of wineYou dread a scene. Especially the one where Aunt Sula tosses back three too many glasses of chardonnay and stands up to propose a toast. Only it’s less a “toast” and more a “rendition of “American Pie” that stops only after she tips face first into her slice of lemon sponge with raspberry coulis.”

Unless you don’t serve alcohol (not an option), or employ a long-suffering cousin to pluck the wine glass out of Aunt Sula’s hand all night, you’re stuck with guests who imbibe freely. Instead of bemoaning your booze-ridden fate, recruit one of your fiance’s brawny friends to play bouncer. Not so much to toss Aunt Sula out on her gold lame-bedecked hindquarters but to walk up and snatch the microphone out of her hand before she gets to the second wavering chorus.

Now that Aunt Sula is properly corralled, let’s take a look at Cousin Milton. If you know Cousin Milton will be grabbing the luscious peach chiffon derrieres of your bridesmaids, use your bachelorette party to teach evasive maneuvers. If their derrieres really are that luscious, they’ll already well-schooled in avoiding drunk men in argyle sweaters. If they’re not (Milton’s not going to notice the difference after four gin and tonics), they’re probably quite willing to subtly stomp on his wing-tipped toes. Appoint your brother official Toe Stomping Practice Dummy.

Every family has its tippler, but not to worry. Find brave souls who are willing to step in. If all contingency plans fail, tell the photographer to snap shots of the action. Because every family function needs framed talking points.

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Signature Cocktail Drink Recipes

Posted on November 8th, 2007 by Kori Ellis in Wedding Drinks 5 Comments

The Wedding ToastInstead of having an open bar, which can get very expensive, many couples are deciding to offer signature cocktails at their wedding reception instead.

Having one or two signature cocktails is unique way to add a sophisticated touch to your reception, while also saving you a bit of cash.

You can choose your favorite cocktail as a signature drink or concoct something special just for your wedding.

Anthony Alba, the property Mixologist at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, has designed a series of terrific cocktails that are perfect for weddings. He shares a couple of these recipes with us.

The Wedding Toast (pictured)

More toasts and speeches than the Oscars, but they’re all in your honor.

  • 1 part Basil Hayden’s Bourbon
  • 1 part ginger ale
  • 1 part simple syrup
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 4 skinned cucumber slices
  • 5 sage leaves (without stems)
  • Dash of bitters

Muddle fruit, add ingredients (except ginger ale) shake with ice strain into a martini glass and top with ginger ale. Garnish with a floating sage leaf.

Wedding Cake Cocktail

If you’re not going to eat cake, try this cocktail for a sweet and decadent fix!

  • 3/4 parts Vox vodka
  • 3/4 parts Starbucks Coffee Liqueur
  • 1/2 part Starbucks Cream Liqueur
  • 3/4 parts DeKuyper Coconut Amaretto
  • 2 parts Half and Half

Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass. Sprinkle white chocolate shavings and ground nutmeg.

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