I’m often contacted by for my expert opinion on many wedding hot topics which often spark a little dialogue and a lot of controversy. This topic is no exception.

First I’d like to emphasize that these are my opinions based on 20+ years of knowledge and experience in the wedding and hospitality industry BUT as always, they are opinions. That being said, I think the most important point to be made here is that everyone is different! And thank goodness, right???

So first and foremost I’d like to stress the necessity of not only hosting a celebration that you can afford but also one that reflects your lifestyle. Your wedding should be just as unique as you are and if that means foregoing the open bar, then so be it! At the end of the day your family and friends will understand. And if they don’t? Who invited them anyway! It’s your day, am I right?

With that in mind I invite you to take a minute and think about your wedding as the ultimate social celebration. Consider those occasions you’ve attended in the past that were hosted at the home of a friend or family member. Remember the appealing appetizers, tempting desserts and refreshing spritzers that were displayed for guests. Maybe it was a simple as hummus, pita with a few bottles of wine. Or perhaps something a little more elaborate like a choice of microbrews, Prosecco or creative cocktails with a variety of delicious hor d’oeuvres. Now think how you would feel if, suddenly, after pouring yourself a refreshing libation the host came up to you and said “that’ll be seven dollars please!” How would you feel? Violated right? Tricked, maybe? But all the while thinking, I thought you invited me as YOUR guest? And that is exactly why I believe it is so important to provide the same courtesies to your wedding guests that you would provide them in your own home.

If you are thinking of doing away with a bar at your wedding completely as a way to cut costs don’t be so hasty just yet. There are alternatives! For example, offering call brand liquor instead of the top shelf. Or (here’s a bonus) offer for a hosted bar in which you pay per drink instead of paying a flat fee for an open bar. Believe it or not paying per drink for your guests rather than an open bar saves you lots of money in the long run. Even more, perhaps, than downgrading your alcohol. BUT, and it’s a big BUT, if you do not feel comfortable providing a bar as an option then don’t do it at all. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere, no one is asking you to be a Kardashian here!

Don’t fall victim to wedding expectation pressure. At the end of the day it is essential to host this monumental celebration in a way that reflects you, your soon to be spouse and your new life together that won’t start you new life off knee deep in debt.

So take a deep breath, and remember to keep calm and wed on my friend!

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