As you may know, I DIY’d just about everything at my recent wedding.  The invites, the chalkboards, the candy buffet, and even the bar.  As we were only serving beer and wine to a crowd that didn’t drink much, it made sense for us to save the money on a bartending service.  But that savings also meant that no one was providing us with glassware for our self-serve bar.  We needed something other than the caterer supplied water goblets, and my mother had the perfect idea.

Self serve bar at wedding reception

Photo credit: Krista Bevan

Forget renting glasses or buying plastic, start collecting an eclectic mix of second hand glassware.  My parents scoured garage sales, flea markets, and the Goodwill for unique and colorful glasses of all shapes and sizes. No, your glassware will not match, but it’s not supposed to.  Make that obvious by a “no 3 alike” rule and look for every color under the sun. The key is to have a spending limit: we never spent more than 50 cents on a glass, no matter how cool it was.  And because we would be hard pressed to rent glassware for cheaper than 50 cents a glass anywhere else, it certainly was cost effective.  Over the course of several months, we collected over 100 glasses (hopefully you have the space to store them).  Since we needed to transport them, we packed them to move and washed them at the venue (luckily there was a dishwasher available).

Photo credit: Krista Bevan

Photo credit: Krista Bevan

This not only gave our reception (we used them for the rehearsal dinner too!) a unique flair, it also doubled as a favor for our guests as they were welcome to take their favorite home with them. Guests enjoyed picking out their glass for the night, some chose the biggest, some chose the prettiest.  And while many did leave theirs on the table at the end of night, others went home with multiple. My groom was pretty psyched to use his football shaped glass all night, a glass in which he still uses religiously at home.  As for me?  I kept putting my glass down throughout the reception and promptly forgot where I put it.  No problem, I just picked another glass, we had plenty.

While we did end up taking glasses home with us, we have sold many of them at a garage sale, and are donating the rest to Goodwill.  That’s the great thing about buying rather than renting, get some of those quarters back or cycle them through Goodwill, again! It’s eco conscious and budget-friendly. Win-win.