33. Instead of a full bar, serve beer and wine with one or two signature cocktails that you’ve personalized with a clever name and your wedding colors.
34. When choosing your liquors, go midshelf instead of topshelf, for a savings of up to 30 percent (guests usually can’t tell the difference).
35. Or dress up your signature drinks with fun garnishes, suggests Miller. Ask the bar manager to provide curled lemon and lime peels, orange slices or mini fruit kebabs on toothpicks to coordinate with your wedding colors. These garnishes are often free, and because they add to the festive look, everyone thinks you’ve spent more than you really have.
36. Eliminate shots or drinks that use a number of liquors—these all raise the bar tab.
37. If you’re stocking your own bar, research less expensive wine vintages on winespectator.com.
38. If you can’t negotiate the corkage fee out of your contract entirely, at least discuss lowering it. At up to $2 per bottle, it’s worth a try.
39. Skip the champagne for your wedding toast. Guests can toast you with the drinks they have in hand. Or look into serving easily available sparkling wines from France (cremant), Spain (cava) or Italy (prosecco) instead.
40. Close the open bar an hour early. You’ll save hundreds of dollars, and guests can drink coffee and sober up before they have to drive!
41. And speaking of coffee, instead of a coffee bar offering expensive liquors with the java, treat guests to a rich, dark brew with flavored syrups.
Photography: (top left) Feastivities Events; (top right) Shai Tertner for Shiraz.