Simple alcohol hack saves couple more than $6,000 at their wedding

Jessica Bishop and her husband Eric's simple wine trick helped them save over $6,000. Evin Photography

Anyone planning a wedding knows it can be expensive, so if there are small ways to save big bucks, most people take note.

Jessica Bishop, a graphic designer who also runs a blog called The Budget Savvy Bride, knew she wanted to cut back on the cost of alcohol in particular, CNBC reports.

And because open bars can be expensive, the 33-year-old and her husband Eric came up with a hack that saved them over $6,000 USD. Taking inexpensive wine from Trader Joe’s and soaking the bottles in their tub, they eventually made their own labels.

“We decided to relabel the wine because it was very inexpensive and we didn’t want our guests to know how frugal our wine choice was,” Bishop tells Global News.

Jessica Bishop came up with three custom wine bottles for her wedding. Evin Photography

“Since most weddings put the wine on the edge of the bar to indicate the selection to the guests, I decided to make labels that matched our other wedding paper details to disguise the wine, while adding another personalized detail.”

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Bishop came up with three labels: Recession Red, Wedding White, and Blushing Bride.

READ MORE: Millennials are spending a lot of money to go to weddings

The couple ended up only spending $500 on alcohol.

“We saved in many other ways, including choosing a restaurant instead of a traditional caterer, having family and friends donate their time or services in lieu of wedding gifts, and also by doing a lot of things ourselves.”

Costs of weddings in Canada

The average wedding in Canada can cost up to $30,717, one 2015 Wedding Bells survey reports. However, the average cost of an Indian wedding in Canada, for example, can total up to $100,000, CBC reports.

According to Wedding Bells, on average, couples tend to spend the most on wedding reception venues and catering ($11,046), over $8,000 on independent catering and roughly $4,489 on their honeymoon.

The survey also found 75 per cent of brides said they spent more than their initial budget, and 61 per cent rely on cash gifts to fill in major costs.

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But it’s not only couples feeling the strain.

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One recent survey found millennials in particular were spending upwards of $600 USD on wedding-related events. Some said they even spent $1,000. 

“A lot of people are making a shift towards going away for the bachelor or bachelorette party,” says Amanda Douglas, owner of Amanda Douglas Events in Winnipeg. “It’s hard to have any control over that as a guest.”

READ MORE: Bunz community helps couple find officiant for wedding in Toronto airport

Where couples tend to overspend

Rebecca Chan, owner and lead planner of Rebecca Chan Weddings & Events says there are three areas where couples typically tend to overspend: the venue, decoration/flowers and attire.

“They typically don’t have a good concept of pricing when they start out planning the wedding, so this could also play into why couples tend to overspend,” she tells Global News.

“Also with the rise in social media sharing, images of weddings are so easily accessible and it’s easy to get  sucked into the world of ‘I want this’ and ‘I want that’ because you saw it somewhere,” she says.

Chan adds while she encourages sites like Instagram and Pinterest for idea generation, they aren’t always realistic for weddings.

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Other ways to save on your big day

Chan breaks down other ways couples can save on their big day.

1. Venue:
“Your biggest expense will be the wedding venue. If you are open to an alternative venue like a restaurant or a venue that allows you to bring in your own alcohol, you will save a lot.”

2. Off-season or lunch receptions:
“Everyone wants a Saturday dinner in the peak of summer, so demand has dictated higher prices for popular venues. Consider an indoor, winter wedding for big cost savings in the venue front.” Lunch weddings will also save you big bucks, as guests tend to drink and eat less, she adds.

3. Cake and favours:
“So many couples are opting to not spend money on a grand cake or on favours. Personally I think these items fall under the ‘nice to have’ category, but you can go without it and guests won’t be too fussed about it.”

Try a candy buffet with take-home containers as a favour alternative or have a sweets table instead of a traditional cake.

4. DJ or live band:
“Typically paying one person is less expensive than hiring a multi-person band. Bands also have more AV needs you will need to cover and more people to feed.”

5. Transportation:
“While getting around town in a limo or fancy vehicle is fun, if you are looking for one area to cut costs, this can be an area you can save. Do you have a relative or sibling who can assist you in driving? Maybe someone in the wedding party? Just ensure whoever is driving has a safe way to get home if they plan on drinking.”

— With files from Marilisa Racco

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