Staying Within Your Wedding Budget: Bar

Well, it’s officially been {almost} a year since our wedding day! I have decided to reflect back on our wedding day with a series titled, “How to stay within your Wedding Budget when it’s less than $20,000”! Welcome back for part six of this series!


My dad gave me a very strict budget. My sister had gotten married two and a half years before me, and he wanted me to stay within the same budget as her. My dad set a budget for each category of my wedding. He was not going to go over that budget, and it was a pretty low budget compared to other weddings in the DFW area. I was determined to stick to it though, and worked really hard to stay within the budget! My dad budgeted pretty much every category possible, but I was allowed to move money from category to category. So if I overspent in one category but underspent in another, it was ok!

When planning a wedding in the DFW area, it is very hard to stay within a budget that is under $17,000! My budget was $16,519. The average cost of a wedding in Dallas is $28,810. That means I had about $12,291 less dollars than the average bride in the DFW area. However, I was determined to stretch this money as far as it would go, and that I did! Therefore, I want to help any other brides who might appreciate the tips and tricks!

Here is a breakdown of my budget:

Category Budgeted Amount Amount Spent
 Invitations/Envelopes/Stamps 400 262.50
 Wedding Dress 1700  1595.50
 Photographer 1500  1515.50
 Videographer 1300  1150.15
 Wedding Cake (Bride’s Cake)  575  535.00
 DJ 600  975.00
 Flowers  700  289.75
 Alterations  150  200.00
 Shoes  54  54.00
 Hotel Rooms  700  710.00
 Wedding Ring for Matthew  400  85.00
Chapel & Reception 300
 Security  210
Wedding Coordinator 375
 Venue Rental 955
Food 6000
Bar 600
Lights in Reception Not Budgeted
Grand Total: Budgeted: $16519  Spent:

Topics that were previously discussed will be linked in the above chart!

Today I am going to skip a few of the categories because I want to put those all together in my last post. So today I’m going to focus on a very important wedding topic: the bar!

Now, I know this one is a tricky topic for some families. Some families must have a bar and booze at a wedding, and some families are appalled by the topic. Thankfully, both of our families were on board with it, even though neither one of them are big drinkers. My dad especially. In fact, I’ve never seen my dad drink before. Not saying that he doesn’t, I’ve just never seen it. When my sister got married, she finally talked him into paying for mimosas (she had a morning wedding). He had spent $600 on her mimosas, so that’s all I had in my budget for my bar. However, we had a night wedding. $600 wasn’t going to cut it!

Tips for sticking to your budget when it comes to the bar:

  1. Book a venue that lets you bring in your own alcohol. This will save you so much money. It literally saved us thousands of dollars!
  2. Determine how much alcohol you need by using one of the online alcohol calculators. (I used this one: thealcoholcalculator)  You need to start by determining how many of your guests will probably drink. Just because you are having 300 guests at your wedding doesn’t mean you will have 300 guests who drink! Who do you know of that doesn’t drink? Who do you know of that does drink, and drinks alot? Keep this in mind when calculating your numbers!
  3. Buy your alcohol from stores that offer deals. We got our beer from Costco because their cases of beer were so much cheaper. We got our wine from Total Wine because they offered deals when you bought 6 or more bottles. Before making any purchases, we visited multiple stores. I wrote down the costs of the beers and wines we wanted at all of the stores and determined the best price before purchasing. This helped us find the best deal before purchasing!

My venue had a great deal for the bar- for $650, we would have a bartender, a margarita machine, and cups/straws/napkins. That didn’t include any alcohol, but as mentioned above they let us bring our own in! My dad paid the $650 to the venue, and Matthew and I agreed to foot the bill for beer, wine, and tequila for the margarita machine. We spent about $400, but we bought six cases of beer, four big bottles of tequila, and around 15-20 bottles of wine (I can’t remember exactly). I think we used all the wine and tequila, but we had tons of beer left after the reception.

I hope some of these tips help another bride save money in this category! I’ll see you next time for the next section of “How to stay within your Wedding Budget when it’s less than $20,000”!


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