When planning a wedding, most couples are on some kind of budget. However, being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to skip out on some things like your bar! We spoke with Andy Nesenson, General Manager for The Iron Horse Grill in Jackson, MS who handles 200 wedding bars per year to give us the inside scoop on the best budget wedding bar tips and his pro insight!
Best Wedding Bar Budget Tips
One way to keep your bar costs down is to limit your alcohol to only beer and wine. Andy said, “This still allows you to have alcohol at your wedding, while also giving your guests variety and a choice.” It doesn’t cost nearly as much as a full bar either. Want something a little more custom? Add a specialty cocktail! You can just do one you both love or have a drink for each. Keep in mind with a specialty cocktail though to keep it simple, quick, and cost-efficient!
Must-Have Drinks to Include (Even on a Budget)
On the beer side, steer clear of craft beers and stick to more mainstream brands that the majority of guests will choose. “Can’t go wrong with Michelob Ultra,” Andy said, “It’s always a go-to at wedding bars.” For wine, it really depends on the season. He mentioned during warmer months you’ll find guests want more light reds and rosé, while in the cooler months more full-bodied wines are chosen. For specialty cocktails, he says to try something new or something that ties into the area/couple. For instance, they served a watermelon mojito (yum!) at a recent wedding as it represented where the couple was from. It was such a big hit they added it to their restaurant menu!
Ways to Make It Feel More Fancy
Even though your bar may be on a budget, it doesn’t mean it has to look like it! There’s plenty of ways to give it a little more spice. Think decor pieces that match your table arrangements or lush greenery runners and bouquets. Signs are a great option too whether it’s a chalkboard or a custom watercolor print framed. You can even find some really cheap neon bar signs as well which give such a classy party vibe to the bar! These can also be personalized to whatever you want, so it adds uniqueness too! You can really experiment with what is available to you as well. Koozies, cups, and napkins can double as a favor and a bar piece! Andy also added that a nice backdrop can elevate your bar more than you know.
Wedding Budget Bar Don’ts
This pro says don’t allow tip jars. When you’re hiring a professional team and service like The Iron Horse Grill, it’s included in the price. While a tip may be appreciated by the bartenders, a tip jar is definitely not necessary and distracts from your decor. Also, don’t start drinking before the reception…at least from the bar anyways. Once your guests or wedding party hit the bar, the bar staff’s allotted time clock starts ticking. So if you have booked them for 4 hours and they start serving an hour earlier they end an hour earlier. Unless of course, you want to pay extra to have them stick around to the very end. The last don’t Andy mentioned is to not make your specialty cocktails too complicated. Keep it to something that can easily be made or with ingredients that can be made beforehand to save from your guests waiting in long lines.
Book them for your wedding, private party, or more by contacting The Iron Horse Grill!