When you are planning your wedding reception, there are two main things you may be juggling: making your dreams come true and staying within your budget. Simply removing aspects from your reception like food or décor is unreasonable, so how can you plan your event in a way that doesn’t cost you more than you’re prepared to spend? One solution that has saved many brides and grooms significant amounts, is bringing your own booze to the reception. Instead of requesting this service from vendors or your venue, save thousands of dollars by buying and providing your own alcohol. If this sounds like a great idea, here’s what you need to know about BYOB at your wedding.
Advantages of BYOB
A Huge Way to Save on Costs
Finding a venue that allows you to purchase your own wine, beer, and liquor can save you thousands of dollars. Think about it—for many venues, you need to pay about $40-60 per person for an alcoholic drinks service. That means, if you have 200 people at your wedding, you’re spending around $10,000 just for alcohol! Plus don’t forget the gratuities which can notch up another 15 % on top of the bar tab. When you BYOB, you can shop the exact options you want, and hunt down specials and deals, to save yourself money. There are many apps available to help you determine how much and what to buy. If you over purchase, you can always return unopened bottles, especially if you purchased from the LCBO.
You Have More Control
When you can make decisions on items like food or alcohol, you’re giving yourself a lot more control over your reception. You need the freedom to choose the kind of alcohol you want served, at prices that fit within your budget. If you’re trying to keep costs very low and are worried your guests will feel like you’re being cheap on the wine, create your own labels and your guests won’t think twice. BYOB allows you to save up to 75% on the cost of booze—and that’s a lot of money!
Things to Think about if You Are Considering BYOB
Now that you’re ready to BYOB, here are some things to consider.
Liquor Laws and Insurance
Before stocking up at your local liquor store, be sure to understand Ontario’s alcohol regulations. Some locations may prohibit a BYOB policy. Find out if your venue allows you to provide your own alcohol and will assist you with procuring the correct permits and liability insurance for yourself and your guests.
A popular option for couples is to have an open bar, which allows guests to choose what they want to drink without limits. If you are bringing your own alcohol, this option can get quite expensive and you could risk running out of specialty items unless you buy extra, hoping to be able to return some. Another option for BYOB is to offer a limited bar. Choose to serve only wine and beer, and a few select cocktails or drinks. Cash bars, where you ask you guests to buy their alcohol is a less attractive option and venues may prohibit a cash bar.
Stock Two of Everything
After determining how much alcohol you need for your reception, take some time to figure out what types of drinks to serve. You should generally offer two choices of everything:
- Wine: one red option and one white
- Beer: one light option and one darker
- Liquor: one clear option and one brown. But you know your guests, plan accordingly.
- Sparkling wine for toasts (one bottle per eight guests)
Mixers and Garnishes
As you budget your alcohol, be sure to include mixers and garnishes and ice into your budget. Items like soda, tonic water, juice, and club soda should be available to supply your bartender and enable them to make the right drinks for your guests. Lemons, limes, olives, maraschino cherries, and other options should also be included if they are part of your drink option recipes.
When using the BYOB option from smaller providers or vineyards and craft breweries, find out if they allow you to return alcohol if the bottles are unopened.
Decorate with Ice Buckets
Warm drinks are a big no-no at your reception, so be sure to keep plenty of ice on hand. You can use them as part of your decorations as well—place decorative buckets or troughs on every table so the bottles can be kept cool. Make sure your serving staff monitors the buckets to ensure the ice is always frozen and fresh.
Valuable Tips for BYOB
- Start by using bottles from opened cases first (inform your bartenders)
- Buy small bottles of specialist spirits or liqueurs. Don’t end up with an opened 40 oz bottle that just had one shot poured!
- Find out what to do with leftover alcohol.
- Plastic or acrylic cups are okay to use!
- Most caterers will help you out with qualified staff that can run your bar for you.
BYOB at our Wedding Venue in Caledon, Ontario
Choosing a venue that allows you to BYOB is one of the biggest ways to save on your big day, so if you are looking for a beautiful destination that also helps you to cut costs, Cadogan Farm Estate is the choice for you. At our wedding venue in Caledon, we encourage couples to provide their own alcohol and our caterers are happy to run the bar for you so you can focus on your guests. The cost of servers is usually built into our catering plan, so let us know if you want to benefit from this economical solution!
We are a premium wedding and event venue in Caledon, one of Ontario’s most breathtaking areas. We cater to couples looking for a unique and elegant country barn venue to host their wedding. Our venue is situated on a 200-acre farm estate, and our amenities are unrivalled in the industry. We offer exclusive access and total privacy, so you can have an intimate event with your loved ones. For more information and to book an appointment, call us at (905) 584-0955, or send us an e-mail.
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This post was written by Gina