Buying your own booze for your wedding can be a really fun and cost effective way to serve-up your guests. You can have full control over which drinks flow on the day, and, if you’re really clever, you can set up your very own bar which will allow guests cheap and cheerful bevvies whilst covering your original booze purchase cost.
If your venue is dry hire, or they let you bring in your own alcohol, you will need to ensure that BYOB is a viable option by checking all limitations first…. is there a corkage charge involved? Are there staff at the venue to help serve, or do you need to manage this yourself? Do they let you use their storage, ice, ice buckets and fridges? After you’ve figured this all out, it will soon be apparent if this option is cost effective for you.
If you decide to go ahead and venture down the BYOB route, then firstly, hooray! And secondly, you will actually need to figure out where you will buy the booze, and how much of it you will need!
Here’s some helpful hints and tips to get your started…
Screw Top or Corkscrew?
Always try to buy screw top bottles of wine and prosecco – this will save you (and your staff) SO much time and will make storage solutions much easier once opened. If not, make sure you buy a minimum of two corkscrews per table for your staff and guests to use.
Organic and Vegan Options
Ask your wine supplier for organic, vegan, and low sulphite wines to choose from for your big day. This will keep all guests happy (and also; organic, low sulphite wines are hangover helpers!). Your guests will be mega impressed – and really thank you for it the next day! (Majestic do great wedding wine options that tick all of these boxes, btw.)
Refunds on Unopened Booze
Ask your supplier if they do ‘sale or return’ agreements on large sales. This means the supplier will buy back any unopened bottles or cases of booze from you. I know Majestic operate this policy, however the labels must be intact and the bottles can’t have been left in ice buckets prior to returning (i.e. the labels can’t have any marks or water damage, and the bottles must be in a re-saleable condition).
Check that all the price totals you are working towards include VAT and delivery. Also check whether there is any glass hire options with your purchase (if this is something you need to manage).
On that note… And this is not a sponsored post for Majestic btw…! But!! They are the go-to wedding supplier for supplying your own wedding wine, and I know they do free glass hire with their bulk wine purchases.
Although not wholly eco, it’s advisable to always have a stash of plastic glasses and cups, especially for the evening drinks. Some venues don’t issue glasses after a certain time, or if you are having a dry hire wedding, it’s likely the quantity of glassware you have will be limited. Something easily stackable and recyclable for water, at the very least, is highly advised.
Ice Ice Baby!
Remember to buy or hire ice buckets (I have some good links to some on my recommended shopping lists page under the ‘dry hire’ section at the bottom). You will ideally want small ones for each dinner table, and will definitely need large floor standing ones for behind your bar. Also remember to order timed ice deliveries. If you’re getting married in London, Arctic Ice will do split deliveries throughout the day to save half of it melting! This definitely makes life much easier, even if your venue has any freezer storage space.
Ensure you have a good bar team, with certain members of staff allocated to serve welcome drinks, replenish top-ups, fill up in time for toasts and speeches, make sure there are people circulating to offer table service, washing glasses, and of course tidying, clearing and cleaning up!
Your caterer can often add this on at an additional charge per staff member, or else you can hire your own hospitality staff via Temp Tribe (my go-to).
Where, What and When?
It’s super important to ensure your bar team know what each bottle is for, as in, what part of the day it needs to be served and kept for. It definitely helps not to have too many, and where possible, streamline the stashes into 3 categories – fizz, white and red.
Keep the Boxes!
Keep the boxes that all of the booze came in so that you can use them to put the empty bottles back in for recycling and also just general tidying up. Don’t let your bar/caterers break them down! Keeping the boxes is also mega handy for returning booze to the supplier if they do operate a ‘sale or return’ agreement.
Disposal of Empties and Waste
Remember to buy or hire rubbish bins to easily get rid of empty bottles, cans and mashed up lemon slices from drinks. The clear away is quite a big part of supplying your own booze! And you can never have enough bin bags. Ever.
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