The idea of having a cash bar continues to surface. But you wouldn’t invite friends to your home for a dinner party and then ask them to dole out cash for each drink.
Similarly, you don’t invite friends to the biggest party you will ever give (and also get a major gift from them) and then ask them to subsidize the cost of the party.
When you host a party, put your guests first but keep costs under control.
Serve only wine during the dinner
Don’t have a bar during the dinner hours. However, don’t skimp on the availability of wine glass refills.
Substitute sangria for wine at dinner
This is an option to wine. A popular mix: for each bottle of red wine add four cups ginger ale, two shots of gin or triple sec, a little orange juice, two tablespoons of sugar, and wedges of lemon, orange and lime plus a cup of raspberries and canned pineapple. Very festive!
Have a chat with your servers
Tell the staff not to fill glasses or top them up automatically. Have them ask if guests want more before refilling.
Don’t serve champagne for the toasts
Your guests can just lift the glass of wine they already have on hand.
Open a bar after dinner
That’s when the party really starts!
Limit what is offered at the bar
For instance, have a beer-and-wine bar. Make it special by offering interesting beers and ales and a variety of wines.
Originally published in Today’s Bride magazine, Spring/Summer 2013.