Wine packages rarely suit everyone – you may know that many of your guests would prefer beer or spirits or perhaps a lot of your guests will be travelling and unable to drink alcohol on the day. There is no point paying hefty wine package costs only to find that the wine has been left and your guests are buying their own drinks at the bar.
You could consider offering a ‘first drink on the house’ for all your guests then simply place a couple of bottles of house wine, and/or iced water for your guests to enjoy with the meal.
Have one ‘signature’ drink instead of a wine package
Alternatively you could offer a ‘signature’ drink such as a favourite cocktail, Pimms or punch instead of providing a full bar. Champagne, if you wanted it, could be saved exclusively for the toasts, or you could serve a sparkling wine or Cava instead (not many people can tell the difference anyway!)
If you are having quite a small wedding you may choose to have an ‘open bar’. This doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. Remember that you are inviting your nearest and dearest to your wedding so hopefully no-one would take advantage of this and it means that your guests could have the drinks of their choice.
For added reassurance you can always ask the venue to ‘cap’ your bill at a certain amount so that you are not faced with a large unexpected bill. Often for smaller weddings, an open bar can work out much cheaper than the wine packages.
Other useful questions to ask your wedding caterer:
Can we sample the food which will be served at the reception?
How many options can be offered with each course?
Can we provide our own wine and if so, do you charge for corkage?
If wine is provided will we be charged for the number of bottles ordered or just those that are opened?
Are costs for waiting staff included in the quote?
Do you charge for cutting the cake?
When will we have to confirm final numbers of guests to you?
You may decide that you would prefer to do the catering for your wedding yourself. This is a huge responsibility which will require an enormous amount of planning. You will need the time and experience to be able to plan a menu which can be largely prepared beforehand, access to the equipment you need in large enough quantities and plenty of willing volunteers to help you.
You will need to ensure that you have enough food for all your guests, that you can cater for any special dietary requirements and that the food will be well presented and taste delicious.
Remember that you will need time to set out the venue as well and that you will need sufficient furniture, crockery and cutlery etc. This cheap wedding catering option is not for the faint-hearted but if you are having a fairly small wedding and planning a simple finger buffet or afternoon tea it may work well.