Should Guests Pay for Drinks?
Many couples spend a lot of time reassessing their budget as to whether guests should pay for drinks at the wedding. Fundamentally, it is a budgetary decision.
Budgeting Tricks for Drinks
Pimm's is an economic pre-meal drink. Serve Bucks Fizz, Cava or Prosecco instead of champagne.
If guests pay for drinks
Buy wine and champagne on a sale or return basis.
Serve a cheaper wine behind the bar and a better wine at the tables. Don't leave bottles on the tables for guests to help themselves; instead have the catering staff pour as required.
Only provide still water and/or serve tap water in attractive bottles.
At a venue, limit the bar choice to wine or beer, rather than guests ordering expensive spirits or cocktails.
Most couples will provide guests with some drinks. This is usually allocated to the pre-meal drinks and the drinks during the meal and speeches. After the meal and speeches, a paid bar can be introduced.
Guests can be given tickets as they arrive to indicate their drinks allocation and to ensure a fair distribution.
Paid bars are more usual in hired venues rather than at a marquee wedding - it can feel awkward if guests are asked to pay in someone else's home.
Some forward-thinking couples ask guests to bring a bottle to fund the bar.
Other couples for go wedding presents and ask for financial contribtions towards the wedding instead.