Post # 1
We have been struggling with the fact that our wine only reception will still run us up a bill of around a grand… we don’t have that money laying around! But we really want to be able to provide SOME alcohol w/o forcing our guests to buy their own. So, my mother brought up an idea that I actually, kinda like! Since we have to pay for a bartender anyway for the wine we figrued we could provide the wine for free but allow guests to purchase any mixed drinks or liquors they want. Our hopes are that they will drink less wine. Will it reduce our bill by a ton? No. I realize that. But could it help some? Sure!
And just some background because I know it will get brought up, we HAVE to purchase any and all alcohol through our venue and it must be served by our venue staff for a minimum of 4 hours. Also, the bar at the reception hall isn’t right by the reception room. It is actually a level up so peoples laziness might help bring down the bill a bit too! We will also have cofee, tea, water, and lemonade available through our caterers in the reception room.
Post # 4
That is basically what we are doing. We are providing free wine (which is being served at the table), but any additional drinks can be purchased at the cash bar. We also have free coffee, tea and water. We’re lucky because our families are not big drinkers, so we’ve only purchased 25 bottles of wine for our 90-100 guests, it’s costing us around $500 I think.
I doubt that having a cash bar will lessen the amount of wine people drink by a significant amount… only people who really don’t like wine will pay for a drink or two and the rest will probably be very happy with just the free wine lol. Are you sure you need to spend a grand on wine to begin with? How many guests do you have?
Post # 5
Good plan. You’re being good hosts by providing the wine, but also giving non wine drinkers the option for purchasing themselves something different.
Post # 6
Go for it, BUT what happens if you dont finish a bottle of something, do you have to purchase the remaining bottle. Will that make up the difference in money saved of those who didnt drink wine?
What are you paying per bottle? Are you bringing it in or is a vendor?
Post # 7
Thats what we plan on… On our website it says “For our guests who enjoy an adult beverage or two, beer and wine will be served. All other alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.” As long as they know that they may have to pay, then it’s okay. We also may have to cut the complementary drinks at some point in the night depending on how much people drink. You can also look into getting a distributor that would be willing to give the venue a discount and asking the manager if you bring them a supplier that is less if they will pass those savings on to you- so that they still make their normal profit, but it helps you both out. Just a thought, and worth a try. If you dont ask… you cant recieve.
Post # 8
If you’re paying for the bartender anyway, I see nothing wrong with allowing guests the option to purchase mixed drinks if they want to. You could have signage at the bar or a message on your wedding website explaining that the wine is on you but that they are welcome to purchase any other drinks they would like.
Since we definitely can’t afford open bar, my FI wants to just provide it to our bridal party with cash bar for everyone else. I’m not super into this idea because I think some guests might be irritated. I’d much rather see how much it would cost to provide guests with a couple of hosted beer and wine options and allow them the option to buy mixed drinks, so pretty similar to your idea.
Post # 9
I like this idea – I don’t know how much it will decrease your alsohol bill though. At least for the folks in our crowd, they would definitely just drink whichever drink was free rather than pay.
Post # 10
@lefeymw: It is around $20 a bottle and it is strictly provided by our venue. We cannot use any alcohol other than what they provide. And we pay for every open bottle. I plan on taking all unfinished bottles with me darn it! I payed for the sucker! I will either drink it or cook with it. lol
Post # 11
I’m doing this! We’re providing wine and 2 kegs of beer. We’ll have a cash bar so guests can get wasted off mixed drinks if they so choose. We have about 1,000 to spend on beer and wine, so we’re still spending a lot, but we probably won’t use it all (which means more wine for ME!). We have to purchase the beer through the venue but can bring our own wine. I can see where you’re running into a pickle because purchasing the venue’s wine can be really expensive for what you’re getting (i.e. sometimes lower quality wine at 20 dollars a bottle).
Post # 12
@Mrs Hedgehog: Leaving things as a cash bar for everything besides your wine is fine, there’s nothing wrong with that! But, depending on your crowd it may not affect your tab very much.
Also, I’m unfamiliar with the liquor laws where you are, but double check that you’ll be allowed to take the unused wine with you. I’ve worked in some states that allow that and some that don’t.
Double check that they will ‘marry’ up the bottles for you. If you are only providing 3 kinds of wine for example, they may have 2 or more bottles of the same opened at the same time to serve your guests quickly (this is especially important for anyone wine service at the tables) but they should be combining (aka marrying) up the bottles later, so you aren’t paying for both.
Also ask them to keep the empty bottles for you or your parents to review at the end of the night.
Post # 13
Our alcohol situation is going to be free champagne on the guest tables. Than we are going to have two free drinks per a guest which will be possible by giving them drink tickets as they walk in the door to the reception. After that they are on their own and all drinks will be a toonie ($2). We think it is fair.
Post # 14
We are doing the same thing- beer and wine provided by us but we are putting a cap at 4 cases of wine for 150 guests, and then the champagne toast. That’s alot of bottles! But we are getting a deal- a case of Covey Run for $163.00, and at least it’s a decent brand. We must purchase all alcohol through our venue.
What I do like is the this wording (Onelove) On our website it says “For our guests who enjoy an adult beverage or two, beer and wine will be served. All other alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.” Gonna have to steal that!!!