There are a number of ways to slash the alcohol budget at your wedding and still manage not to appear tightfisted when it comes to splashing out:
Get in your own booze – find a flexible venue and buy in your own, it will usually mean you’ll save. Particularly if you shop around. Alcohol sales are where the venue boosts its earnings.
Avoid corkage – if you’re using a reception venue that doesn’t hold a drinks licence, legally they shouldn’t be able to charge you corkage. Check with them about this, they may have omitted to tell you…
Shop online – have a look at the couple of websites offering deals on line, like Wine.co.za and NGF. They’ll deliver, and usually at less than your average bottle store. They may even agree to refund you for unopened, returned bottles. Make sure they’re reputable by phoning the customer services number.
Stick to beer and wine – you will save if you cut the hard-tack. If this doesn’t feel right, serve one ‘signature’ drink together with the wine and beer.
Buy unlabelled – getwine.co.za sells unlabelled bottles of wine at slashed prices. This will certainly get conversation going, if your guests try to guess which estates they’re drinking (you can see the wine estates online). It will also silence the snobs amongst your friends.
Use custom wine labels – this is a great idea. Once you’ve ordered those unlabelled bottles, design and print your own, and stick these on. They still look respectable, set a trend, and only you will know the wine estate. Tip: use low-weight paper, like office paper, as it sticks better, and Pritt or similar glue sticks.
Open bar – according to wedding etiquette, you’re not obliged, over and above a couple of bottles of wine per table, to serve alcohol. If you’re at a licenced venue with their own bar, your guests can get their own.
Brew your own – this is rather a trendy idea. Buy your own homebrew kit (or speak to that friend of your cousin’s brother who brews in his garage) and brew your own. You might want to give it a few practice rounds to get the brew just right. And then produce it in bottles with your own label. Cheap, cheerful, and delicious.
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Happy Wedding Planning!