We all know there is nothing more tacky than a Cash Bar. Asking your guests to help pay for your wedding is inexcusable, but offering a bar at a wedding can be very expensive for the hosts. As with everything about weddings, you just need to be a little creative when quenching your guests' thirst.
The best way to keep the cost of the bar down, is to go to a venue that lets you purchase and provide you own alcohol, but there are ways to save even further. A signature cocktail or specialty drink is still the favourite way to save on alcohol. Simply purchase a case or two of one type of alcohol (example: vodka) and mix. Using the same cocktail glasses, alcohol and mix for everyone cuts down on costs significatly and eliminates waste. Pair the signature drink with beer and wine, and everyone is happy, especially the host.
A fresh idea is to use the same alcohol base and offer several different mixes in large pitchers on a self-serve or grab n' go bar. You could have a Vodka Martini Bar or a Vodka-infused Cocktail bar, a Sangria Bar, a Margherita bar, the possibilities are endless. Lauren Balden of Catering by Design in Tampa, FL sets up Champagne-infusion Bars, where only the presentation rivals the amazing taste.
Another great idea, that comes from Kim Baker, the President of the West Coast Florida Chapter of NACE, is to serve frozen cocktails on a stick!
Who says you have to serve alcohol? "Fresh" is THE Catering trend this year, so why not carry that over to the bar? Have a smoothie or juice bar (like above). Set up a cordial or lemonade station. Offer fruit-infused waters for a fresh spa-like feel. Bonnie Fimiano of Cafe a la Carte offers Speciaty Gourmet Coffees served from a custom cart, complete with a Barista.
You need to offer your wedding guests something to drink and with all the options available, a unique and fun bar can be cost-effective and a feature!