Budget Weddings

How Much Booze Do We Need?

Hey all, not sure if this is the place to post this but it seems somewhat relevant. Also I already made this post under a friend's account by accident and she asked me to remove it and deleted her account.

Anyway, we live in Ontario, Canada and are looking at a gorgeous garden venue in Newcastle, ON. They have an approved caterer that we must use, and she is lovely and well known in the area. However, neither the venue nor the caterer provide the alcohol that we need for our bar.

The venue does, however, provide us with certified bartenders, all glassware, and any mixes and condiments that we need. The bartenders and glassware are included in the rental fee, and they charge for the mixes and condiments based on consumption. They say that typically ranges between $3-$5 per person depending on your group's usage.

This all seems reasonable to me, however I am wary about having to provide our own alcohol. I have been looking at calculators online but I'm still not able to grasp how much I should expect to spend.

Our wedding will be about 90 guests which will include some light drinkers but mostly people who really drink. We will be serving booze for 6 hours (1 of which is cocktail hour) and it will be an open bar.

Anyway, to make a long story longer, I just want to know if providing one's own alcohol is a common thing? Does it save money or end up costing just as much/ more than when the venue or caterer provides it? Finally, how do you know how much to buy? The worst possible thing that could happen would be to run out of booze!

Thanks!!

Daisypath Wedding tickers
bohobrideCA

Re: How Much Booze Do We Need?

  • Hey all, not sure if this is the place to post this but it seems somewhat relevant. Also I already made this post under a friend's account by accident and she asked me to remove it and deleted her account.

    Anyway, we live in Ontario, Canada and are looking at a gorgeous garden venue in Newcastle, ON. They have an approved caterer that we must use, and she is lovely and well known in the area. However, neither the venue nor the caterer provide the alcohol that we need for our bar.

    The venue does, however, provide us with certified bartenders, all glassware, and any mixes and condiments that we need. The bartenders and glassware are included in the rental fee, and they charge for the mixes and condiments based on consumption. They say that typically ranges between $3-$5 per person depending on your group's usage.

    This all seems reasonable to me, however I am wary about having to provide our own alcohol. I have been looking at calculators online but I'm still not able to grasp how much I should expect to spend.

    Our wedding will be about 90 guests which will include some light drinkers but mostly people who really drink. We will be serving booze for 6 hours (1 of which is cocktail hour) and it will be an open bar.

    Anyway, to make a long story longer, I just want to know if providing one's own alcohol is a common thing? Does it save money or end up costing just as much/ more than when the venue or caterer provides it? Finally, how do you know how much to buy? The worst possible thing that could happen would be to run out of booze!

    Thanks!!

    A good rule of thumb would be to calculate, per person, two drinks for the first hour and one drink an hour after that. So for 90 guests first hour (90*2)=180 + remaining 5 hours (90*5)=450 for a total of 630 drinks. Now if you know you have more big drinks you may want to adjust up, but that's a good starting point. 

    Are you brining wine and beer or liquor drinks as well?
  • katsandtattskatsandtatts
    10 Comments First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    member
    edited May 2016
    charlotte989875 said:

    Are you brining wine and beer or liquor drinks as well?
    We'll be serving everything; beer, wine, and liquor!

    Daisypath Wedding tickers
  • I would research a bit for stores (although in Ontario ... it is all provincial correct) that allow for unopened bottles to be returned. Some stores are picky and will only take back full cases while others are fine with single bottles. If you can return unopened, overbuying is recommended.

    For wine, I would choose 1-2 red types and one white type. People are all over the map with what they prefer. I might start with looking at selections that you enjoy and then ensuring that they are complimentary to foods that you will be serving. A pinot or cabernet is often middle of the road for a red and a sauv blanc is typically a good white choice. Chardonnays can be polarizing.

    Beer, consider splitting it into 2-3 categories. Have a nice light domestic type beer (think Canadian) and then 1-2 different choices like a darker brown/amber/stout and perhaps a craft type beer with a bit more hops. Again, start with things that you like and then see how they might compliment the foods you are serving.

    Liquor is a bit more tricky. You can limit things to serve 1-2 types of signature cocktails or if you know your crowd, you might only have rum, vodka and whisky. Have a lot of tequila fans ... might be something to add.

    I would also talk with your venue about what is typically consumption for the size of your party. That might help a bit with numbers.

    sophieme
  • SP29SP29
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    LCBO will allow you to return un-opened bottles of wine/liquor. I am not sure about The Beer Store, but call them and ask.

    Thus, buy a bit more than you need, let the bartenders know your plan (they should understand this concept) so they aren't opening up multiples of everything. Then return what you don't use.

    Bringing in your own liquor isn't uncommon; depends on the venue.

    Sticking to wine and beer would be cheapest. At least one red and one white option, but if you can, 2 of each would be awesome. As for beer, 2-3, different styles. Then for your liquor, unless you know there is a "family favourite" you can stick to basics- vodka, rum, gin, whiskey.
    scrunchythiefcowgirl8238
  • SP29 said:
    LCBO will allow you to return un-opened bottles of wine/liquor. I am not sure about The Beer Store, but call them and ask.

    Thus, buy a bit more than you need, let the bartenders know your plan (they should understand this concept) so they aren't opening up multiples of everything. Then return what you don't use.

    Bringing in your own liquor isn't uncommon; depends on the venue.

    Sticking to wine and beer would be cheapest. At least one red and one white option, but if you can, 2 of each would be awesome. As for beer, 2-3, different styles. Then for your liquor, unless you know there is a "family favourite" you can stick to basics- vodka, rum, gin, whiskey.
    The LCBO recently modified their return policy. You can return unopened glass bottles, but they will no longer allow returns on plastic bottles. This is the reason why: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/more-lcbo-bottles-seized-by-police-after-man-buys-vodka-bottle-filled-with-water-1.3405313

    OP purchase extra (in glass bottles) and then you can return it.
    image
    SP29
  • Also remember to figure in those that won't be drinking which can alter the quantities some... 
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • In Ontario you need to find out if your license allows you to buy your own alcohol. You will have to purchase your own license, you cannot use the venue's. This can run you about $25 - $75, not including what the venue will charge you. 

    https://www.gtha.com/Portals/0/PDFs/Leg Updates/Application for SOP.pdf

    MesmrEweernursej
  • SP29SP29
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    ahyatt87 said:
    SP29 said:
    LCBO will allow you to return un-opened bottles of wine/liquor. I am not sure about The Beer Store, but call them and ask.

    Thus, buy a bit more than you need, let the bartenders know your plan (they should understand this concept) so they aren't opening up multiples of everything. Then return what you don't use.

    Bringing in your own liquor isn't uncommon; depends on the venue.

    Sticking to wine and beer would be cheapest. At least one red and one white option, but if you can, 2 of each would be awesome. As for beer, 2-3, different styles. Then for your liquor, unless you know there is a "family favourite" you can stick to basics- vodka, rum, gin, whiskey.
    The LCBO recently modified their return policy. You can return unopened glass bottles, but they will no longer allow returns on plastic bottles. This is the reason why: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/more-lcbo-bottles-seized-by-police-after-man-buys-vodka-bottle-filled-with-water-1.3405313

    OP purchase extra (in glass bottles) and then you can return it.
    Good to know!
    ahyatt87
  • Buying my own alcohol (and returning the unopened bottles) saved me thousands. You gotta think of what it costs for bar prices vs. a bottle. A bottle of wine might cost you $12, whereas each glass at a bar might be $10 each, so $50 for that same bottle!

    The less options you have the easier it is to buy stuff. I did 2 whites, 2 reds, a prosecco, and only 2 liquors (we had 2 signature drinks, but people could use the liquor for other mixed drinks as well). Because you don't want to run out of any one item you essentially have to over-buy everything.
  • It helps to know what qualifies as a "drink" as well. Here's a breakdown:

    Beer-12 oz classifies as 1 drink (so think each unit per case is a drink) Most beer comes in cases of 24. Full kegs typically hold about 7 cases of beer or 168 12 oz glasses.

    Wine-4 oz glass classifies as 1 drink. Most bottles are 25 oz so you can get 5 full glasses/btl. A case of wine typically comes with 12 bottles, so each case of wine will get you 60 glasses of wine.

    Liquor-1.5 oz of liquor classifies as 1 drink. Most liquor bottles contain 25 oz so depending on how strong you are making your cocktails, you can use that to measure.

    Hope that helps! Caterers and venues typically have gigantic mark-ups for booze, so you are probably better off buying your own, especially if this is not a service they willingly offer you.

    Ashley

    Knottie1463251842
  • This sounds reasonable and is having sense. 
  • We provided our own booze and it ended up costing $690 up front (just for the booze, mixers were provided by the caterer).  We were able to return some unopened bottles so in the end I think the cost was $580 for 130 people.  We had two kegs of beer, wine, and liquor.  I would ask your reception venue for some advice on how much of everything to get based on the size of your wedding.
  • My caterer said she'll offer me good wine at a budget price if I want, and if I want to return it, she can surely help me with the unopened ones. But her offer is 100$ more than I buy it myself based on calculation, but I have to return those by myself. Considering the troubles I'll go through, I think I'll stick with my caterer.
    missJeanLouise
  • My caterer said she'll offer me good wine at a budget price if I want, and if I want to return it, she can surely help me with the unopened ones. But her offer is 100$ more than I buy it myself based on calculation, but I have to return those by myself. Considering the troubles I'll go through, I think I'll stick with my caterer.
    Hi Knottie#s, you may not have noticed, this thread was started in May of 2016 and the last comment was in March. We consider this a “dead thread” . The OP has probably already had their question answered and may already be married at this point, so we encourage only posting on current threads or starting a new one yourself. Welcome to The Knot, change your name, and stick around. A lot of tried and true advice here. :) 
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