Wedding Reception Forum

Bringing own alcohol?

Has anyone brought their own alcohol? was it worth it? and about how much did you budget for it? We are expecting around 200 people.

Re: Bringing own alcohol?

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    My cousin purchased all the alcohol for his wedding of about 160, and he said it was a substantial savings to do it that way. Your venue/caterer should be able to assist you in coming up with a count.
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    We did.   We had 140 people and budgeted $3k. 

    The liquore store allows us to return any unopened bottles.  So in the end we paid about  $2500 or so.  That includes all beverage including bottles waters, sodas, etc.

    BTW we had a top shelf bar with a huge selection.  We are alcohol snobs.  We could have easily spent less if we had fewer options and not top shelf brands.

    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
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    Our wash is included in the price of dinner ($5 a person for wash),  but we have to provide the alcohol and pay the bartenders (1/100 people).  Our caterer/venue suggested a liquor store that offers buyback for unopened liquor bottles, cases of beer, and wine bottles.   They deliver the items cold, for free, the day of the wedding.  I've read everywhere that you should budget about one drink an hour.  I priced out cheap/expensive beer (bud light, guinness, micro brews, cider)  at a popular liquor store in Chicago (i.e. giant liquor store), and middle of the road liquor. I determined that at most, each bottle/shot would be $1.5, with average being about $1.2.    I figured on about $7.5/person drinking.   The liquor store I am working with thought my estimate was a little high, and they said to plan for about $6 per person.   We are planning on 350 guests, and not all guests will drink and not all guests will drinks 5 alcoholic drinks.   Martha Stewart and real simple both have drink calculators to determine how much to buy.  The liquor store we are buying from also makes suggestions.
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    We will be doing our own. We are only serving wine/champagne, though (neither of us like the idea of our friends drunk in front of our families). Budgeting depepends entirely on what you want. But FI, who bartends, figures on a bottle of wine serving 3-4 people, if that helps.
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    Our caterer told us it'd be about $600 for beer and wine for about 120 guests, I think.
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