Organising your own wedding day is really exciting. Of course it is about you guys but you need to make sure your guests have an amazing time as well. You want to share your big day with your family and friends. But keep in mind that they are also the ones that can make your wedding quite expensive.
Which wedding location you eventually want to use might depend on the deals that you can make with that venue. Food and drinks are probably the most expensive items in your wedding budget. For a minute you need to put romance aside and make decisions with your head and not your emotions.
When speaking to your preferred venue you need to ask them about the costs. Ask them what the total costs for food will be (lunch, dinner, snacks, etc.). Than ask them to break it down per guest. Obviously your choice of menu will affect the price. Chicken is cheaper than lamb for example. The cost per person will make you realise how much they will charge per meal. Some venues will try their luck so…negotiate!
Never make decisions there and then. Discuss the different deals with your partner. After that you should email your venue about what you have discussed with them (the venue) and your own interpretations of that deal. This way you have it in writing.
You also need to negotiate the bar. What deals can the venue offer you? My advice is to look at your guest list. My mother-in-law will probably only drink a few glasses of wine. My brother on the other hand will drink a lot more. My mother-in-law will cost me money whereas my brother will bring down these costs. I know this sounds a bit weird but remember: you are spending a lot of money. So, who drinks and who doesn’t drink?
Based on this you can start looking at the different deals for beverages:
Price per drink. How much does your venue charge per drink (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Just ask them how much they charge for a beer, a wine, vodka or any other beverage you think your guests will drink. This knowledge will help with your negotiations later on.
Set fee per person. This deal involves some number crunching and negotiating. How much do you want to spend per guest on drinks and how much does your venue want to charge per person? A set fee is open for negotiation. Never just accept what the venue quotes you for.
Open bar. This means you have all the drinks available for your guests. Guests don’t pay but obviously you will. Make sure you double check the price list if you think this deal is for you. A bottle of Whiskey can be quite pricy, just saying. You pay for what has been consumed.
Selected bar (Dutch bar or limited bar). When in Holland you have to go Dutch. Well, kind of… So we went for a Dutch bar. What this means is that we only offered beer, wine, vodka, rum, gin and a selection of soft drinks. This might sound stingy but it’s one way to keep your costs under control. The bar is free for your visitors as you pay for all the drinks.
Cash bar. You ask your guests to pay for their drinks. I’m personally not a fan of this. But if this is something you feel comfortable with than by all means go for it. It means you will keep your costs down.
Tap bar. The married couple puts money behind the bar. Say £500. After your tap reaches £500 your guests will pay for the drinks they order. So it is a bit of an open bar and a bit of a cash bar. Obviously, in this case, you can decide how much money you want to spend on the bar.
Alternatively you can ask whether you can bring in alcohol and other beverages from a wholesaler. Depending on your venue this might be the cheapest option. This is your wedding and your budget. Do what you think suits you and your guests. Do not sign contracts or deals without reading them carefully. Always negotiate!