We are having an at-home reception (more like a nice, fun party for everybody..not a traditional wedding reception by any means) a couple months after our wedding day since we currently live 6000 miles away from home.
I really don't want to have a total open bar (I know there's mixed emotions about this, but we cannot afford a $10,000+ bar tab and having a dry reception is NOT an option with this crowd), so I am torn between two options:
Option A) Have an open bar for beer and wine only, no liquor available except for a "signature"-type cocktail..we were thinking of having a Mai Tai to incorporate a little Hawaii into the party (that's where we live currently, home is back in Maine)
Pay for drinks for the first 2 hours (while people are eating and whatnot) or come up with a pre-determined budget for the bar and then switch to a cash bar once the 2 hours is up or the limit is reached..my issue with this is that how do you let your guests know the drinks are complimentary for the first 2 hours only? I really don't want to have people thinking it's all free and then go up for their 4th drink only to find they have to pay for it. That's embarrassing. And if we pre-determine a budget, should the bar just close up shop once the limit has been reached?
I understand the concept that since we are hosting a party we should be paying for everything, but I'm just trying to be realistic and not get ourselves into debt over some booze.
Any tips or advice for a budget-friendly bar without going totally cash bar?