One wedding tradition I love is the champagne toast. There’s something so magical, so intimate about raising a glass with everyone in the room, drinking to the health and happiness of the glowing couple. Or perhaps I just love a good glass of bubbly. Either way, champagne toasts are one of my favorite parts of a wedding.
But these days, trying to cut costs often means substituting a less expensive drink for champagne, or skipping group toasts altogether. Look for unique ways to save your cash and save the toast — you’ll get points for creativity and get to share a special moment with your guests.
Cava is basically champagne without champagne’s price tag. Spanish-made cava sparkles a delicate white or pink, tastes delicious — and unless you tell your guests, or have a professional sommelier in attendance, there’s a good chance no one will even realize you’ve swapped wine from the Champagne region of France for wine from the country to the southwest.
Other countries craft their own varieties of sparkling wines: Italy offers refreshing Prosecco; South Africa’s version of Champagne is Methode Cap Classic or Cap Classique; Portugal produces Espumante. Here in the USA, we usually just call them sparkling wines. The price range can start at under $10 a bottle, and climb into triple digits — though none of them can rival the prices of the world’s most expensive champanges.
If your reception site or catering agreement allows you to supply your own alcohol, you’ll save a considerable amount of money if you shop your local wine sellers for great deals on cases of great wines.
Another option is to offer your guests a lot of flavor with a little less bubbly: Champagne punch.
Mix up a batch of Pomegranate Champagne Punch, Pink Lemonade Champagne Punch, Guava Champange Punch, or Apricot Brandy Punch for your guests, or create your own recipe to coordinate with your menu or add a splash of just the right color.
If you’re not one to dilute your alcohol with fruit, consider serving kir.
Elegant and delicious, kir is a cocktail traditionally made of a blend of creme de cassis and champagne, but it comes in varieties ranging from Kir Cardinal (which substitutes red wine for champagne) to Kir Breton(which substitutes Breton cider for champagne) to Hibiscus Royal(which features an edible hibiscus flower). Hint: any kir with “royal” in its name features champagne, but you can easily swap a less expensive sparkling wine.
Sparkling cider is also good to have on hand for toasts. Not only is it far less expensive (think $4 a bottle at your local grocery store) than alcohol, but there’s a good chance some of your wedding guests aren’t drinkers, or that you’ll have underage guests who would like to participate in the toast. Besides, when you’re serving a nonalcoholic drink, you won’t feel bad if your guests keep going back for more — and more — and more.
With your drinks taken care of, all you’ll have to worry about is writing that pesky toast. Cheers!