Looking for ways to stretch your budget when it comes to your wedding bar service? We’ve got you covered! With a little creativity, you can strike the balance between offering a great wedding bar/cocktail experience and saving some money. Plus, you can put the cash you saved towards your honeymoon – WINNING. Read on for some insider tips from Chesapeake Bartenders on how to save money on the alcohol and beverage service portion of your wedding budget.

Planning a wedding is stressful enough, especially when you realize you are over budget and have additional surprise expenses. Having a great bar is important to you, but you are not trying to break the bank offering top shelf liquor and expensive craft cocktails. But at the same time, you want something that will compliment your theme and impress your guests. Sound familiar? Read on, because we have 10 tips for creating a fantastic wedding bar that is budget-friendly.

Offer A Wine and Beer Only Wedding Bar

This is a trend we have been seeing a lot of in the last couple of years, and we don’t see it going away anytime soon. Offering beer and wine only can help cut your price per person alcohol budget in half! Why? You don’t need mixers, expensive liquor, extra serving ice, etc. Get creative with local craft beers that match your theme. Buy the wines by the case for a bigger discount. 

Create A Sangria Bar

Hot tip – everyone loves sangria. Men, women, boomers, millennials. Your great aunt Susie.  Sangria is always a crowd pleaser. And there are seasonal sangria recipes that can pair beautifully with your wedding any time of year. From fall sangrias that feature cinnamon, rosemary and burnt orange flavor profiles, to white summer sangrias that include fresh berries and mint, the possibilities are endless. Sangrias display beautifully as well. Batch them in a 2 gallon glass dispenser with sliced fruits to show off an array of colors and ingredients. Ready for the best part? Sangrias are inexpensive compared to many other types of alcoholic beverages. A 2 gallon batch of sangria can be made with a 1.5 liter bottle of wine, club soda, sprite, a small bottle of brandy and a small bottle of triple sec. Serve it over ice and you have 50+ servings. 

Implement A Mini Cocktail Menu During Cocktail Hour

Just like cocktail hour usually features grazing boards and small bites, cocktail hour can offer mini samplings of cocktail creations. You can feature a signature drink in mini mason jars (jars can be purchased on Amazon). In general, you don’t want people to get intoxicated quickly during cocktail hour, so featuring one or two mini cocktails is a great way to get a drink in their hand, but also slow down the speed at which people are consuming alcohol prior to the main reception. A really great idea we saw on Pinterest were pre-made mini margaritas poured into Mini Patron bottles. They looked beautiful and also served the purpose of a smaller portion size. 

Try Offering Beer and Wine Only At Cocktail Hour

If you are having a full bar at your main reception, a way to reduce the cost of necessary liquor is to serve only beer and wine during cocktail hour. 

Smaller Cups Means Smaller Pours

The bigger the glassware, the bigger the drink. The bigger the drink, the more alcohol and ice you will need. If you stick to 9 oz cups, you can help control the cost of all ingredients. 

Larger Bottles = More Cost Effective

1.5 Liter Bottles of Wine and Liquor will provide the most bang for your buck. Also try to buy by the case if you can, and don’t be afraid to ask for a bulk discount.

Shop Soda Sales To Save Money on Mixers

Sodas have gotten more expensive in the last year due to supply chain issues and inflation. One of the ways we have combatted rising costs, is by shopping sales when they happen. Sam’s Club has some of the best deals on soda flats. We also buy Pepsi products when they are on sale, and coke products when they are on sale. The most cost effective way to buy soda  is to buy 2 Liter bottles instead of cans. 

Avoid Top Shelf Brands  – Ask For Rail Liquor Instead

While you might prefer Tito’s and Don Julio, it doesn’t mean you need to serve all your wedding guests top shelf brands. Instead go for “rail” versions – these are not usually recognizable brands, but they are way cheaper. Plus, I don’t care how much expertise one has, NO ONE can tell which brand of vodka is in a vodka cranberry cocktail. If you live in a state that allows grocery stores like Walmart or Costco to sell alcohol – get thee to one of these big box grocers and purchase liquor there. The Kirkland brands offered at Costco are very high quality spirits, but much more cost-effective than top shelf brands. If you live in a state where Trader Joe’s sells booze, buy wine by the case there and check out their TJ branded liquor. You will save a lot of money AND the quality is fantastic too. Win Win!


We hope these ideas help save you some money on your wedding bar. If you are in the Mid-Atlantic and are looking for a professional bartending company to service your wedding, please complete the form below:


We have had the pleasure of working with some amazing vendor partners and wedding venues since we launched our event bartending business in late 2019. We figured since we have seen just how wonderful they are through various collaborations, weddings, parties and special events, we feel 100% comfortable recommending their services and products to you!

In no particular order, here is a round up of our very favorite vendors and wedding venues in Maryland, Delaware and DC


Infinity Artistry

Services Provided: Wedding hair and makeup, lashes, spray tans, special event hair and makeup in Maryland and other locations

There is a reason the owner of this Annapolis wedding make up and hair company is flown out to events like the Super Bowl every year. It is because she and her amazing team of beauty, makeup and hair specialists are the go-to team in Annapolis, and the rest of Maryland. They are known for their gorgeous wedding day looks, that can be natural or even ultra glamorous. They also own Spray Tan Annapolis, which provides that gorgeous sun-kissed glow that every bride wants to have on her special day.

April’s Table

Services Provided: Annapolis catering, special event catering, grazing boxes, dinner club and more

The owner of this gem of a catering company in Severna Park, MD is April Cunningham, who consistently delivers some of the tastiest, most beautiful catering you will ever taste. Everything this company does is 5 star, which shows in their stellar reviews online. April’s Table even makes catering items, platters and grazing boxes for vegans, those with a dairy allergy, and accommodates other types of food allergies. If you are hosting an event, or getting married, be sure to look to April’s Table for your catering. There is a reason they are an award-winning caterer!

Smokey Hollow

This Delaware Wedding Venue is one of our favorite spots to serve drinks because it is gorgeous and has everything a couple could want when selecting the perfect venue. Combining timeless elegance with rustic barn house charm, it’s no surprise that brides fall in love with Smokey Hollow on the spot. The grounds are gorgeous (there is even a lake), and the location in Selbyville, Delaware is convenient and easy to get to for guests. No matter what season your event is, Smokey Hollow is picturesque and accommodating. If you have yet to find the perfect Delaware wedding venue, look no further than this spot!

Tiki To You

Services: Mobile Bars in Annapolis, Large Event Bartending Services, Mobile Bars For Parties, Tailgating and Events in Maryland

Tiki To You holds a very special place in our hearts. We have worked for and with them for two decades (are we dating ourselves or what?), and for good reason. Started by Julie Birney in the late 90’s, and recently taken over by Steve and Mary Sheesley (who have been helping with operations for many years), the mobile bars are always a hit at weddings and parties when they pull up. With surround sound, 360 degree drop down bars, beer on tap, frozen drinks, and decor to match, the mobile bars have served drinks everywhere from Preakness to weddings on the Chesapeake Bay. We are proud to partner with an esteemed business like Tiki To You, who is the OG when it comes to mobile bars. Today there might be many a horse trailer bars to choose from, but the tiki bars were the first mobile bars built in the country as far as we know. Call the Tiki To You team for your next event, and your party will be the talk of the town for years to come.

Thank you to Geeky Craze for having Chesapeake Bartenders contribute to this recipe roundup on how to make Sangarita

What is Sangarita? A mix between a frozen margarita and frozen sangria. It is a wonderful drink and there are many flavorful variations you can try when making one. Check out this Sangarita Recipe article from Geeky Craze which features a roundup of recommendations and recipe ideas.


Full link:



Brett and Courtney


July 24, 2021 – Annapolis, Maryland

Chesapeake Bartenders Unveils Halloween Cocktail Kit Menu For Pre-Orders in Anne Arundel County and Queen Anne’s County

Chesapeake Bartenders, a professional event bartending business based in Arnold, Maryland unveils Halloween Cocktail Kit Menu.

The newest cocktail kit menu consists of a variety of cocktail creations inspired by Halloween, and includes the following options:

  • Smoked S’mores Old Fashioned
  • Devil’s Sangria
  • Black Widow Smash
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte Martini
  • Bourbon Caramel Cider
  • Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria

The Halloween Cocktail kits start at $75+, provide between 8-15 servings per kit, have free delivery in Anne Arundel County and Queen Anne’s County, include festive garnishes, directions, all necessary ingredients, a small container of dry ice pellets (to create smokey drinks), Halloween-themed cups and more.

The kits are delivered in gift bags, with all contents inside. There are two types of Halloween Cocktail Kits – Ready to Drink or DIY (more interactive). The only cocktail kit that is Do-It-Yourself, is the Smoked S’mores Old Fashioned kit, which features a bottle of bourbon, marshmallow simple syrup, chocolate bitters, a mini Sterno S’mores heat fuel can (for roasting marshmallows as a garnish), and additional ingredients for a more interactive mixology experience.

In an effort to stay ahead of potential supply chain issues, Chesapeake Bartenders unveiled this cocktail kit menu months ahead of time. Co-Owner Brett Workman says

“over the last year, we found it really difficult to keep necessary cocktail kit items in stock, especially some of the containers for the cocktails and the garnishes. We learned that during the holidays, we often get last minute orders, which we did our best to deliver. Sometimes however, we just could not get the necessary supplies to fill those orders. This time around, we decided to share the menu well in advance, in an effort to confirm pre-orders and proactively order the quantities needed in time for delivery.”

Pre-orders are now open, and simply require customers to fill out a form on the website. Delivery is free any day in October, with the exception of Halloween, which includes a $10 delivery charge – a standard rate the company charges to deliver on holidays.

For more information or to pre-order, please visit the Halloween Cocktail Kit page.




Chesapeake Bartenders is an event bartending company based in Arnold, MD and serving Maryland, DC, Northern Virginia and Delaware. Service offerings include staffing professional, TIPS-certified bartenders and servers, bartending packages, cocktail kits, mixology events, mobile bars and custom drink creation. For more information, please email info@chesapeakebartenders.com.

1517 Ritchie Hwy Ste L3, Arnold, MD 21012