Post # 1
Our caterer is allowing us to buy our own beer and wine (we’re not serving liquor). Our wedding and reception are in Rockville … for anyone else who’s bought their own alcohol, do you have any recommendations for reasonably priced stores? Or just advice for how you approached it overall?
Post # 3
We bought our wine/beer/champagne from an outside vendor.
Here’s what we did – finalized our menu with the caterer and other details (length of reception and number of guests). Then we went to the wine shop and told them what food we were serving, the other details, and our budget. Based on what we hoped to spend, the wine guy selected sevearal types of wine for us to consider.
Over the next several weeks we bought several bottles of red wine, white wine, and champagne to try them out. We narrowed it down to 1 type of champagne, 2 reds, 1 white, and 2 types of beer. Then based on our final head count and length of reception, the wine guy estimated how much we should order (the caterer also did an estimate for us). We ordered a lot and the wine guy tried to advise us we had ordered too much (they have policy of taking back anything not opened at 90% of what you paid)…but we didn’t end up with much left over and just kept the few bottles of wine leftover (our caterer saved the cases they were delivered in so that my parents could easily transport the leftover bottles after the reception)
We chose a wine shop close to our venue b/c they would chill and deliver everything to our venue at no charge (I did not even want to think about storing, chilling, and transporting all of those cases of beer, wine, and champagne)…so I would definitely make sure to find out their delivery policy.
Post # 4
Wow, indescisive bride, you put a lot of thought into your selcetions. I bet your guests really appreciated your thoughtfulness! We’re just going to CostCo a few days before to buy a case of red, a case of white, and a couple cases of beer. For champagne, well, we were just planning on buying a couple cases of 2 Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s. I guess we were going for the minimal expense/minimal amount of work route.
Post # 5
We too are doing our own open bar with wine and beer, since our caterer doesn’t handle alcohol. We just bought several cases of reds (cab and merlot), whites (chardonnay and viognier) and some champagne from our local BevMo for a great price. They are having their 5cent sale (buy one bottle, get another for 5c) right now. If you have a cool place to store it (we have an indoor storage unit), I would suggest you buy it now! We did (and we’re date twins!), and we saved over half of what we thought we’d spend on wine. It’s an incredible deal. They told me they won’t have another sale until November. Costco can’t beat those prices!
One of our BMs is a server at Outback so she’s going to have 2 of her co-workers work as bartenders for our wedding night at about $100 each.
We’re going to order kegs (vs. bottles, so we don’t have to hassle with broken and scattered bottles) of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (classier than Bud, not as pricey as Stella Artois or a microbrew). We’re going to do one signature cocktail, not full bar.
We held off on buying the hard stuff for now. We’ll probably buy the vodka and mixers at Costco for that closer to the wedding date. If its within 30 days, you can return anything to BevMo or Costco, so if we have unopened vodka bottles, we can return them.
We can get into our venue the day before to set up so we’ll bring the wine then and thow the whites in the fridge to chill. Hope it all works out! (for us and for you :))
Post # 6
I am also considering purchasing liquor for my wedding, though currently I’m not sure we’re saving much money by doing so, since our caterer’s per person charge is not very expensive.
I would check with your venue to see if they have a relationship with any vendors. My venue has a relationship with Sam’s and Binny’s where the two companies will deliver directly to the venue and pick up anything leftover the next business day and automatically credit our account.
Make sure your caterer gets big ice tubs to chill the beers (or keep them cold!).
Also, to figure out how much wine and beer to purchase, Evite has a calculator that will estimate what you should purchase, based on the number and type of drinkers you’ll have (heavy drinking, light, etc). I would then check with someone at the liquor store to see if the numbers sound correct.
Does anyone have any information on the size of bottles of liquor to buy? I was thinking how 1.75L bottles might be hard for the caterer to pour out of, and that I should buy only smaller bottles?
Post # 7
The Editrix — You may want to start by outlining what your guests choose to drink. Are they mostly beer drinkers? Do you have a relative who will only drink their brand of liquor? Are you wineys?
Starting there will give you an idea of what to focus on.
We don’t need to provide our liquor but our venue says they offer a list of beers and we pick 3 kinds of domestic and 1 import, they only serve premium alcohol.
Post # 8
Costco!! You can return unopened bottles of wine.
Post # 9
@ MissCremeBrulee: I would buy the bigger bottles even if they’re harder to pour. The cost is so much higher for smaller bottles the trade off isn’t worth it to me.
Post # 10
Make sure whereever you decide to buy your alcohol from takes returns. Ours will take anything back as long as it has the label on it and is not opened. We are not charged a restocking fee.
Post # 11
Just be careful with the return of white wine – they usually dunk them in ice and water to chill them and most places won’t let you return wine even if the label is damaged.