Post # 1
Ok, we knew from day one that we were having an open bar at our reception and that we would be fronting the cost. I always knew it would be a large ticket item, but holy crap! I didn’t imagine I’d be spending $1000 on alcohol! So we’ve decided that we have to figure out some way to cut the costs. I’ve never bought alcohol for a huge event, so I’m not sure how bulk costs go, but what are some tips and tricks to saving a bit when you’re buying the alcohol? We’re looking at around 150 people and I’d only planned on serving beer (kegs possibly?) and wine, but I’m open to suggestions because, truly.. I’m a tightwad 🙂
Post # 3
I spent about $800 on liquor for our wedding–125 people. We bought kegs (the venue wouldn’t allow glass bottles) and wine and also did two signature cocktails. Kegs were about $100 apiece, the hard liquor was about $20 a bottle (i bought three huge bottles from Sam’s Club), also about 24 bottles of wine at $5.50 each (yay Trader Joe’s!) and then the clear plastic cups and some napkins. You can buy double barrels of wine from Sam’s Club or even do boxed wine (i know, the horror). Some of the boxed wine isn’t too shabby, though.
Beer and boxed wine is probably the cheapest, though. You can get away with probably 3 kegs and maybe 10 boxes of wine?
Post # 4
Kegs, boxes of wine, a few cases of domestic beer, a few boxes of coolers (i would say one rum based, one vodka based), the biggest jugs of spirits you can find, and remember, they don’t have to be premium liquor! I’d say vodka, whiskey, rum & tequila would be sufficient to have behind the bar.
Also, to cut down on costs, maybe you could do a wine/beer with 2 or 3 mixed drinks as the only offerings, instead of stocking a full bar. If you aren’t fussed with a champagne toast, then skip it; guests can toast with whatever they’re currently drinking at the time and most won’t even notice the lack.
Another way to do a full bar without it getting expensive is to offer the standard, plus 2 “fancy” cocktails (like a martini) and the rest just mix with soda or juice (like rum & coke, or screwdriver). That way you don’t have to buy fancy syrups or flavourings or even certain types of alcohol (like triple sec, or goldschagger, for example).
I’ve heard other bees buy from places that let them return unused alcohol after the event, I’m sure someone will tell you exactly where.
Also, a quick google search for “per guest consumption wedding” will bring up lots of info on how much of each thing is recommended.
Post # 5
We’re just doing beer/wine/champagne to save costs.
Post # 6
If you have a Trader Joes you can get $3 bottles of wine there that is still really tasty!
Post # 7
Trader Joes!!!! 2 buck chuck…yummy
My Future Sister-In-Law bought from there and ended up with A LOT left over
Post # 8
@Embug024: i also second the kegs, they can be reasonably priced and hold alot of beer 🙂
Post # 9
If you’re looking for wine discounts you could do one of the following things:
– Go directly to winemaker websites or winemakers themselves. Sometimes they give you volume discounts. Save on the shipping by picking it up at the place.
– Look into $2 buck chuck. It’s a low-end brand of wine that you can get from the winemaker or at a Trader Joe’s. If you’re on the east coast(like me) it becomes $3 buck chuck for shipping purposes.
– Don’t do high end liquour. If you have mostly wine and lower end liquour you can save significantly.
– Make friends with a distributor. At my reception we’re having open bar all night. THis would not be possible without us knowing a distributer. He’s getting us all our wine AT COST. As a gift to us for our wedding. As a nice backup the inn we are having the reception at has it’s own bar, so if we run out of booze for some reason or guests want high end booze, they go right into the inn’s bar to get it.
– Think about a signature drink(s). You will save lots of money if you do only wine and maybe two or three signature drinks, limiting what you serve guests and what you have to buy for booze.
Post # 10
Here’s my take on 2 buck chuck. If you are going to use it, try to do it as Sangria. Real wine drinkers won’t touch the stuff as everyone knows it gives the worst hangover. At least sangria would make it a tad more interesting.
Bevmo has a large sale from time to time with a buy one, get one for a penny.
Sam’s Club and Costco have super great deals on vodka and a great brand of vodka w/tonic will be much appreciated if you have real drinkers at your wedding.
As an older bride and long time drinker, i’d prefer a bottle of cheaper beer than any 2 dollar trader joe brand. This is just my opinion and you can do whatever b/c it is YOUR day. 🙂
Post # 11
@Embug024: If it makes you feel better we had the same number of people and our open bar was almost 5 grand.
I would say kegs and cases of wine are definitely your best bet. Will you be hiring a bartender to serve? If not I would be careful about havign bottles of liquor available for people to pour for themselves.
Post # 12
Look around in your area for liquor stores that will take back any unopened bottles so you can get your money back if you overbuy.
Post # 13
Do you have any farms in your area? We found a great price on cases of wine. Also Sam’s Club has huge bottles of liquor. We are only doing beer/wine/and a few huge bottles of Jack and Rum. My uncles love Jack and Coke and drink it at any event. I refuse to spend thousands of dollars on alcohol to be pissed out or thrown up at the end of the night.
Post # 14
You could also try a signature cocktail and wine and beer. Then you’ve got your alcohol but you’re limited. Like if you two really like mai tais or soemthing fun like that.
Post # 15
Thanks all! We’re having a bartender to keep people from using up what little liquor we do get. I assume Sams Club is about the cheapest place to buy liquor? Does anyone know if they take returns or anyone else that does? I hate to buy too much and have 10 bottles of liquor setting around.
Post # 16
My Fiance and I actually just bought a bottle of all the white and red wines from Trader Joe’s to try them out… they aren’t that bad! I mean, they aren’t fantastic by any means but they aren’t absolutely terrible. The wine I prefer to drink is usually between $15-20 a bottle, but if you spend that kind of money at your wedding you’re going to be spending a LOT more. We might actually go the Trader Joe’s wine because at $3 a bottle, you can’t really beat it. If people are avid wine drinkers and don’t want to drink the wine, then I say peace be with them. When you have to pay for your wedding on your own (which we are), cutting down on expenses is important – especially in this economy.
Break it down in dollars – that is what has helped me.
At 150 guests, say half of your guests drink wine and they drink an entire bottle.
Trader Joes $3 = $225
Better wine at $20 a bottle = $1500
That usually seals the deal for me when I’m having a hard time making decisions.
A local liquor store is giving us 10% off everything and will buy back whatever we don’t use at what we purchased it for. You might want to check locally because a lot of places will cut you a deal like that.
Also, i don’t know if you have a Woodman’s but we do up in Chicagoland and you can get a bottle of Grey Goose for $23 — pretty inexpensive ! GL!