On one hand, you want to create a memorable and enjoyable experience for the guests. On the other hand, you don't want to break the bank.
Even within a strict $2000 budget, I find that we have room to splurge (as long as we hold back in other areas). For example, by cutting back our alcohol selection to three things (as opposed to hosting a full open bar), we were able to rent a frozen margarita machine and purchase two kegs of solid beer choices (one standby: Miller Light and one more offbeat: New Belgium Sunshine Wheat). However, that means we have to cut back on the wine budget.
Given our nation's bias and misconceptions, I hesitate to even admit this fact. But it's true. We are serving boxed-wine at our reception.
However, if it is any consolation, I did some Google research and was able to uncover a boxed-wine tasting challenge conducted by the Austin Chronicle. They slipped bottled wine (in the $15-20 range) into the blind taste-test. For the most part, the judges picked the bottled wine.
Yet, there were three exceptions. And those are the three boxed wines we are going to purchase for our wedding reception:
1) Seeberger Riesling ($16 for 3 liters)
2) Powers 2003 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($20 for 3 liters)
3) Hardys Stamp Merlot ($16 for 3 liters)
Last night we trekked to the liquor store to stock up. We figured we should get seven boxes-- which is equivalent to 28 bottles of wine--for our 80 guests.
Unfortunately, we were only able to find the Hardys. We bought three boxes of it, but we still need to find the other two.
Matt and I had a brief tiff in the boxed wine aisle because he simply wanted to purchase a different brand instead of continuing the search. I understand that he's tired of planning, but I tried to explain (as calmly as possible) that it was already embarrassing enough to serve boxed wine, and there was no way we could serve a crappy boxed wine.
Ah, wedding bliss (er, stress).
So, dear readers, if any of you are guests at the wedding and are willing to do a little legwork, please go to your local liquor store and see if they have #1 and #2. I will reimburse you with cash and hugs!