DIY Wedding: Beverages Edition

According to the Real Weddings Study conducted by The Knot, America’s leading wedding resource and marketplace, the average amount spent on weddings in 2017 was $33,391. THAT IS THE PRICE OF A BRAND NEW CAR OR A DOWNPAYMENT ON A HOME!!!! Phew, I know the all caps is a little shocking but I just had to get that out. Rant over.

Roughly 30-35% of that $33,391 is spent on the rehearsal dinner, catering, and the wedding cake. That is $10,000-$12,000 just for food and beverages! It is no wonder that many engaged partners are opting for a DIY wedding to make their big day more affordable.

Have these statistics convinced you to DIY or made you run to the court house for a civil ceremony? For those still with us we assume you are looking for ways to cut costs. Or maybe, you watched a YouTube video on calligraphy and now you can DIY your invitations and then watched a TLC special on crafting your own centerpieces. But how do you DIY your food and beverages? I am so glad you asked.

General Tips:

  • Beverages are one easy way to cut costs on your big day
  • Have several self-serve stations instead of a bartender

(Bartenders require their own base, set-up, and gratuity fee)

  • Pre-make your nonalcoholic beverages and cocktails then serve in beverage dispensers
  • When choosing your beverages, use ingredients that are only in-season and weather appropriate

(For example, blueberry lemonade for summer and peppermint hot chocolate for winter)

  • Make your own coffee

(Most catering companies charge a fee to pour coffee)

  • Buy bottles of wine and liquor from a wholesaler that will let you return unopened bottles
  • There is no reason to feel like you’re missing out on the craft beer, fancy wine, or delicious cider – make it yourself

(I suggest Wild Winemaking by Richard W. Bender)

  • Please, do not forget the water
  • No matter what your vision or theme is for your wedding, you can find drinkware at a thrift store 

(Be sure to wash it first for the safety of you and your guests!)

Rehearsal Dinner

  • Limit it to beer and wine

(Pick one type of red and one type of white)

  • If you feel really strongly about adding liquor to the beverage menu consult The One-Bottle Cocktail

Cocktail Hour

  • Limit it to your “signature drinks”       

           (These can be premade cocktails special for the happy couples tastebuds)

Champagne Toast

  • Skip it 

       (Most catering companies will charge you an uncorking and pouring fee even if they allow you buy your own champagne)


  • Open bar or cash bar or no bar!?! 

(My vote is always open bar)


  • Plant your own beverage ingredients

(Consult Amy Stewart’s New York Times Bestseller, The Drunken Botanist)

  • Make your own wine, beer, or cider – it adds a personal touch and saves money

Closing Thoughts:

  • Planning and executing your DIY dream wedding is not an easy task
  • Saving money on your wedding is hard work for you and your significant other, but you can invest your money into something worthwhile later – like a honeymoon, a car payment or a buying a new home
  • This post is a culmination of research and personal experience that I hope helps you plan for your wedding day
  • However, you and your fiancé will make thousands of tiny decisions that will make your wedding unique, which is exactly what it should be
  • Those decisions should be made with only you and your significant other in mind – do not let anyone else influence your choices or your day, including me
  • AKA: you do you.

Check out this customized list of beverage and cocktail books to DIY the heck out of that beautiful wedding of yours!

Future blog posts to check out: DIY Wedding: Dessert Edition, DIY Wedding Cake Edition, DIY Wedding: Food Edition, and DIY Wedding: Sewing.

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