Ask the Expert: Can I Slip My Guests the Bar Bill?

Melissa Paul gives her tips on how to cut bar costs—instead of putting them on your guests

Question: Our wedding expenses are really adding up, and my fiancé and I are looking for ways to cut costs. Would it be ok to set up a cash bar at the reception?

Answer: To sum up: No, it would not be okay to set up a cash bar at the reception. “For the gracious hosts, it’s never a good idea to invite guests to share in your celebration—with some guests traveling great distances to get there—and then make them pay for a martini at the party,” says Melissa Paul, wedding planner with Philly’s Evantine Design. If you really need to cut alcohol costs, you could always just reduce your hosted bar to serving beer and wine only, she says. Or, if you can, do beer, wine, and then one fun item, like one specialty cocktail or special station offering something like Sangria. Just don’t ask your lovely guests to shell out coin in order to toast to your happily ever after.