(Closed) For those of you who bought your own alcohol:How much $$$?

posted 7 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
7173 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I bought about $500 of hard liquor and $500 on wine/beer it was WAY too much for my 125 guests (I was buying for 200 at the time – and, even still, that would have been too much.  I think you could easily get away with 1/2 that amount.

EDIT TO ADD:  look around for sales, etc – I ended up buying it at the grocery store and they were having a killer sale – plus, with this store, if you buy more than 6 bottles, you get a 10% discount – so total score.  

I bought: vodka, gin, rum (dark, light, malibu, spiced), tequila, whiskey… those were the most popular.  I also bought: amaretto, bailey’s, cognac, apple & peach pucker, vermouth, irish whiskey, seagrams 7, kahlua, scotch… I think that’s it (plus, oj, cranberry, pineapple juice, passion fruit juice, tonic, club soda, coke, diet coke, 7-up)…. 

Post # 4
3572 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Our caterer told us it will cost between $1K and $1500.  Any unused alcohol that hasn’t been opened can be returned.

Post # 5
5890 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2012

@oracle: what was your breakdown of types of alcohol and how many bottles, if you don’t mind?  i realize you may not remember exactly

Post # 6
1986 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I’m wondering as well.  I plan on hiring a bartender too.

Post # 7
1820 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I bought beer, red and white wine, champagne, non-alcoholic options, and the makings for Cape Cods (vodka-cranberry) for 100 guests.  I think I spent about $1,000.  We went through all of the wine, but had A LOT of leftover beer.  Keep your receipts and buy from a place that lets you return unopened cases/bottles.

Just in case you are curious, our sparkling wine was $17/bottle (Louis Bouillot cremant de bourgogne rose perle d aurore – amazing!).  Beer was about $20/case (we had Red Hook ESB, Sam Adams, and Pacifico) from BevMo.  White wine was $8/bottle (Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier) from Total Wine.  Red wine was $17/bottle (Zynthesis Zinfandel) from BevMo – but we bought it on the 5 cent sale, so each bottle was really only $8.50.  Vodka was Stoli we bought at Safeway on sale – I think it ended up being $40 for 3 handles.  Cranberry juice, Coke, Diet Coke, ginger ale, and sparking water from Costco was around $50 total.

ETA more:  I second looking for sales!  We found a 20% off coupon for Total Wine in the newspaper and saved a ton, plus took advantage of BevMo’s 5 cent sale, etc.  Plan ahead and you can find great deals. 

Also – check with your caterer about hiring a bartender.  We found that hiring someone though them was much cheaper than going through a staffing company.

Post # 8
7173 posts
Busy Beekeeper

@Mrs. Meowerson:  I think I have a photo of it on my phone somewhere… I went to the store after working out one morning and was cracking up at my 6:30am purchase…

I think I did all big 1.75 L bottles (or however big those large bottles are)

4-vodka (we only used 1 1/2)


and 1 of everything else mentioned above (big bottles of all the rum and jack – regular sized bottles of everything else)

I really thought I’d fly through the vodka, and was surprised at how much rum I went through.  If you can – talk to whomever the bartender will be to get ideas for what drinks they like to make.  If you can get a few solid mixers (that are compatible with different drinks) the bartender will mix up lots of different drinks (for those that don’t know what they want).

Also – because we had an open bar, the wine was barely touched (everyone opted for mixed drinks and pretty much seemed to stick with them through dinner).  I think our wine service at dinner sucked – a friend told me they weren’t repouring frequently (only came around once)… which could also be why we had so much left over wine.

As for beer – I think we did 2 cases of two types light beer (total 4 cases light:  Bud Light, Coors Light), and 5 cases other beer (2 types – Newcastle & Heiniken) – and I think we have at least a few full cases left.  To our surprise – most of the beer drinkers opted for the liquor.   

For the wine – I think we did 5 case of red (merlot) and 4 cases of white (chardonay)… I’m guessing here, can’t exactly remember.  The good thing is we bought them from BevMo when they had their 5 cent wine sale and they will return all unopened 5 cent wine sale purchases.  We had at least 3 cases of red left and 2 cases of white.  We had 15 tables – so, it seemed as though 24 bottles of each (for our 125 guests) was more than sufficient for dinner service.

I couldn’t return unopened liquor, though – FYI.  Might be different from state to state.  Inquire where you purchase.  I have a stash of liquor coming out of my ears – and Darling Husband gave a ton of alcohol away (he kept telling people to take stuff home with them – (of the ones that were helping us pack up at the end of the night)) 

We had 6 hours of bar service.


Post # 9
14495 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

We spent around $600 for 120 people.

We had

1 case red – Charles Shaw ( Trader Joes two buck chuck)

1 case of white – Charles Shaw

2 bottles Jack

2 bottles of crown royal

2 bottles bacardi light rum

2 bottles tequila

1 baileys irish cream

1 bottle grey goose vodka

1 bottle smirnoff vodka

1 bottle johnny walker

1 bottle yager

1 bottle x-rated vodka fusion

1 bottle cheap peppermint schnapps

1 keg beer

and a bunch of mixes

I went through our list and made a list of what I knew that everyone drank and we purchased based on that, customized for our friends and family.  I knew that his sister and my dad only drank baileys so I added that in.  I also knew that none of our friends drank gin so I took that off a normal list.  I knew that our friends are not huge shot drinkers so I bought one bottle of yager for the Bridal Party guys who do drink that.  I like x-rated, so I had to have that and the only shots that Darling Husband drinks are cheap peppermint schnapps. Etc.

Post # 10
829 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

About $1k. 

We had 60 people.  2 cases of red wine, 3 cases of white wine, 1 case of champagne, 84 canned light beers, and 3 5 gallon kegs (serve roughly 50 each keg, 2 were home brewed, other was a local brew).  All of our friends are heavy drinkers.

left over:

1 case of red

1.5 cases of white

all of the champagne was opened, and we only drank about 9 bottles, had to throw the rest away

1/2 keg of local brew

30 or so canned light beers

Post # 11
60 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

I’m not sure on the overall cost of our alcohol but when we got to a year to go we started buying 6 bottles of wine each a month when we each got our wages, with just short of 6 months to go we have all of our table wine and now we’ve started on the Champers for the toast- it doesn’t seem as bad as paying out £1k in a lump sum! x

Post # 12
3049 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

We estimated for 150 people. We weren’t allowed to have liquor, so that saved money. We spent about $400. We had two kegs (Budweiser & Bud Light) for $93 each. We got 3 extra cases of beer (just in case) for $18.90 each. We got 1.5ML bottles of wine: 10 Chardonnay, 5 Merlot, and 10 Zinfandel for $5.38 each.

What we had left over: Two cases of beer (we got to keep) 1 Budweiser, 1 Bud Light. 6 bottles of wine (we got to keep) 5 Chardonnay, 1 Merlot.

Post # 13
5890 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2012

oh i have another question for you all (OP, i hope you dont mind- if you do, just tell me and i can take it down)- did you guys close the bar during dinner? if so, did more people drink wine that was served with dinner?

Post # 14
14495 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

@Mrs. Meowerson:  I had an evening wedding with 120ish people and left it open all night.

Post # 16
271 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

We are just planning on beer and wine and champagne toast

Guest List:  200 Adults

Kegs: 3 x$120 each = $360

Wine: 8 cases Red 5 cases White x $10/bottle = $1560.00 (But I work for a wine importer, so my cost will be a little less)

Champagne: 6 Cases x $8/bottle = $576

We are having tons of people help set up Friday night and the reception is on private property and we have no end time.  PARTY ALL NIGHT!

We will certainly have left overs, but better safe than sorry.

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