Boozing It Up

* This post is the height of irony–I spent an hour pricing out liquor, and I don’t drink. I have NO IDEA if I did it right, because I don’t drink any of these things. But I thought someone else might find it help–just take it with a grain of salt, since I’m not very familiar with anything I’m pricing.

Our venue allows us to bring in our own alcohol. (Yay! This is supposed to be a huge money saver!) So that’s great, but now we have to figure out the details on our own:

  • How much?
  • Of what?
  • From where?

First off, we will be having an open bar. I know that’s pretty standard, but apparently not to my parents. My father really felt we should do a cash bar (?!?). Or at least limit it to beer and wine. We may end up doing beer and wine and a couple signature drinks, but the whole thing was highly amusing. He was really surprised when I said it was tacky.

The coordinator at our venue, as well as a couple of the caterers, recommended Binny’s–apparently they will drop it off, pick up unused/unopened/unchilled leftovers and are great with recommendations. Good plan so far, but I’d like to come up with a relatively realistic estimate of what we’ll need for our wedding (for my budget spreadsheet, of course).

I had budgeted $2000 for alcohol, based on bar packages ranging from $20-$30 per person, and then adjusting down for the cost savings of bringing in our own. WRONG. I ended up coming in around $1000, a welcome surprise!

If you want to do the same, here’s my spreadsheet, with more about my method below.

I used Real Simple’s calculator (“calculator” sounds a little more precise than this is, but it was definitely better than my random guessing!) and generated a suggested list of what to buy. They give numbers for 100 and 150, and I’m guessing our 163 invites will put us around 130, so I split the difference to find the number of bottles to buy.

Summary: 18 bottles each of wine, 25 champagne (I don’t think we will though), 180 beer and 15 bottles of liquor.

To get actual pricing, I needed to know what brands to buy (and as a non-drinker, I don’t have any of that knowledge–I don’t know whats cheap and whats fancy and how much things should cost). My picks weren’t awesome–Shamrock said I chose bad beer, but what do I know! I looked at quotes from caterers that included bar packages and used those brand names to price out the details. For consistency, I used all 750 mL bottles for wine and liquor, and all 6 pack pricing for beer. Buying larger bottles (or greater quantities) is a good way to save money, but it was easiest to reflect it this way–plus then its a pleasant surprise when it all costs less!

Are you able to bring in your own alcohol for your wedding? What kind of savings are you getting?


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