From a reader:
Help, help help. We want our reception to be memorable and we want to provide some free booze opportunities. Everything is just so expensive. Any tips?
Yikes! If I had a dollar for every time I get asked this question, honey I'd be a millionaire. I thought I might remix a little two part post I did on this before. I think it answers your question rather precisely....
Liquid costs are sometimes the last thing on a couple's collective "wedding mind". I'm not going to lie to you, the navigation of liquid cost is a tricky business. Luckily, I have a few tips and tricks at the ready.
1. Do your homework. Get familiar with any literature you have from your catering and/or venue candidates. Go to their websites and check out references. Talk to people who've used them. Ask a local wedding planner for recommendations. In other words, know as much as you can about the place you will be visiting before you get there. For instance, we searched for, like, six weeks before we committed. It's a lot like dating. You gotta let 'em work for it awhile, before you go giving it up.
2. Ask Questions. I cannot stress this enough! Take a list of questions with you on the hunt. List everything you want to know, no matter how small. Take it from me, there are no stupid questions when it comes to money. Sample topics: Bartender fee, gratuity, tax, drink price and per bottle prices. Make sure you ask what bottles are included with your bar and how much upgrades are. For instance, Stoli may come in the bar, but it may cost $10 to upgrade to Grey Goose. Do not leave that venue until all of your questions have been answered.
3. Consider your options and do the math. This is a bit complicated only because today's couples have so many. Once you've gathered all your info, work it out. Maybe it saves money to go with a venue that allows you to bring in your own bartender. Or perhaps it makes more sense to choose a place that has bar service and limit the "free" stuff. You'll have to decide, what's best for you.
So, after you've done all that what's next?! You've got some concrete decisions to make that will, perhaps, vary greatly depending on your choice of venue. The above three tips are general ones that can be used to effectively determine difference in cost and fees between all venues. Once the venue is chosen, the hard part begins. That's another post entirely.
Photo credit: marthastewart dot com