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Open bar thru caterer or BYOB?

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So_happy

Brilliant_Rock
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Our caterer offers two bar packages. One for 9pp where they bring the bartender, insurance, and barware but we bring all beverages or one for 22pp where they bring everything for an all-inclusive bar. We will have about 80 guests so that works out to be either $720 + we have to buy all beverages or $1760 and no additional cost. My question is for the extra $1000, is it worth having our caterer bring it all themselves and our guests would have a truly full bar? Because if we BYOB, we''d probably do a beer, wine, and signature drink bar only......plus we''d have the challenge (and anxiety) of buying the right stuff in the right amounts.


Any suggestions? Any experience with this?
 

So_happy

Brilliant_Rock
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Actually, as an asside.........the difference isn''t really $1000 because we would be buying our own stuff if we chose the 9pp pkg.......so let''s say I can buy beer and wine for 80 with $400 (is that even possible? I have no idea yet)..........then the difference is really only $600 between BYOB-ing and not.......

I should also add this is a cocktail reception but on a Sunday night....both things I hear can effect alchohol assumption.
 

tanyak

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2005
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Hi date twin! I had 80 guests, too, and we had a hosted bar of beer, wine and soda and we had plenty. Keep in mind this is what our site charged - you could probably get it for less on your own. We had

One keg domestic beer (200 12 oz glasses) - $150
One half keg imported beer (100 12 oz. glasses) - $85
One and a half cases of mixed red/white wine (108 total glasses) - $200

Just so you know, the beer was hooked up to a tap and served in glasses, like you find at bars. We weren't pumping out of the keg into plastic cups.
Anyway, that's about $435. What's your budget like? For us, $600 would have been a big enough number for us to just stay with beer and wine. For others, that price difference is pretty tiny and they would move ahead to the open bar.

Are open bars common where you are? That also plays in your decision. Open bars are not common in my circle.
 

So_happy

Brilliant_Rock
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Hello date twin :) We both have 80 guests, too..........you know they say that genetic twins do things alike even if raised apart lol. You aren''t a Scorpio too are you? Thank you very much for divulging some costs :) I didn''t know if that was rude or not to ask.

What you paid sounds encouraging. I''d add a little more to that to include sodas and a couple juices for the non-alchoholic drinkers but all in all it sounds do-able. Did you go home with any extras? I think you said your reception was on a Saturday and it was a sit-down, yes? I hear that day of week and eating style bears on the amount of drinking at weddings.

And you are right..........for us $600 would be enough to justify a beer & wine bar only.......but I just didn''t know that would be the case. Now, if that price diff started to get much slimmer.........we might just say to heck with it and let the caterer handle it all :) If we estimate $500 based on your prices and adding a bit then the diff would be $500......that''s still a nice chunk of change to save.

Now.....FI really really really has his heart set on a signature drink (how sweet of him ;-) ) so I wonder how that''ll work out.......probably another $50-$70 for the sig drink supplies? ayiyiyiyiyiyi
 

tanyak

Shiny_Rock
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Hey! We had to buy our stuff through the caterer on site, so we didn''t take anything home. All of this was listed on the final bill we got later. For the wine, we started with a full case, then they opened new bottles as they needed to, so I''m assuming we didn''t waste any wine. I honesty don''t know how much was left in kegs, but I know we didn''t run out.

Our site charge $1 a soda, and our final total for that was $29. Iced tea was included in our meal, which was served buffet style. And our reception was at 8 p.m. on a Saturday - prime drinking time.


I know you can get soda for much cheaper - 12 packs of canned soda are always on sale somewhere. And I''m sure you can also get cases of wine for cheaper than what we were charged. We have a couple of wine superstores in town - I''m bet you do, too. Check with your local grocery stores about kegs of beer. I''m pretty sure one chain around here can order them. The wine guy might know, too.

I don''t know what to do about the sig drink, though.
 

Scooba

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 10, 2006
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I would pay the extra $1000, I think that''s a good price, it will be much nicer, and no hassel to you
 

Tacori E-ring

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
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20,038
Date: 12/16/2006 6:42:55 PM
Author: Diamonds are Hot!
I would pay the extra $1000, I think that''s a good price, it will be much nicer, and no hassel to you
I agree. You are going to have enough things to worry about. It is worth paying a little more for less stress.
 

So_happy

Brilliant_Rock
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Nov 12, 2006
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You''re right, Tacori. The extra $500 could very well be very worth having less stress.

Does it drive anyone a little nuts, tho, that, while perfectly and 100% true, the above kinds of statements are what, in the end, totally put you over budget??

I''m not saying this to criticize Tacori''s and other''s points.......because I AGREE with them..........but it''s sort of been this way from the begining.

We payed an extra $500 to have two photographers at our wedding because it would "totally save us the stress" of figuring out where the heck the poor one photog would have to be at all times to get all the prime shots lol.

We payed an extra $700 on a proper florist (were going to do it all ourselves and budgeted $500 for that so the $700 is on top of that now) because of the "stress it would save us" on figuring out how to store all those flowers the nights beforehand in our teeny apartment, how to fashion them together, and how to design it all in the first place. Now we have a somebody to deisgn, do centerpeices, do beautiful bouquets, KNOW what the heck to deisign for in the first place....


lol. See what I mean? Each time we do this, I cut back elsewhere somehow but I''m runnin'' outta places to cut. In any regard, you all are right and, again, the extra $500 on a full proper bar saves us "the stress" of having to figure out how much uncle joe and aunt jane will drink and will sister cindy even like beer and wine and are we sure best friend jack can even drink alcholol and who do we ask to help us cart this crap around the days and weeks before??? lol.

Did I say that all you PSers are fantastic? You are!! I just love ya! YOU all are my girlfriends in this planning ;-)
 

flopkins

Ideal_Rock
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Nov 15, 2004
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well, first off I''d say both options are reasonably priced, ie $22pp for a full bar is a fair cost for you, IMO.

So that aside, it''s really up to you how you want to do it - You can probably save money by buying your own alcohol. BevMo and Costco both take returns on alcohol, so if you overbuy you can always return unopened stuff. I think the standard estimate is about 1 drink pp per hour. (I think BevMo has a beverage calculator on their website if you want to check this) Anyway, depending on how fancy of wine and beer you would buy on your own, it might be the same cost or it could be less.

Also, I''m sure you could arrange w/your caterer to deliver all the alcohol to them the week beforehand, or some such thing, so you don''t have to worry about it the day of!

All that said, we did have an open bar fully catered. It was just easier. Yes, it cost us extra, but man, we cleaned them out of tequila by the end of the night (There were many *many* rounds of shots) and everyone was quite happy so DH and I thought it was worth it. hehe!

I suppose that is another thing to consider - if you BYO you can control the amt consumed, ie if you don''t want ppl crazy drunk, you can have less alcohol, ya know? But that depends waht kind of guests you will have.
 

tanyak

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2005
Messages
209
So happy, you''re absolutely right about the added expenses. I can''t count the number of times I read different variations of "go ahead and spend the extra money. It won''t make much a financial difference and you won''t be stressed blah, blah, blah." If you follow that advice too many times, it will indeed make a difference in your budget.


My advice is to do what will make you happy and what you can comfortably afford. That''s all you can do, really.
 

Kismet

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 6, 2005
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2,991
We provided our own liquor for our wedding at a cost of about $800 for 100 people(this included full bar, wine before dinner, wine with dinner and champagne toast). Of course this was 8 years ago so prices have probably gone up. However, doing this wasn''t a big deal at all because the liquor store took care of everything. They helped with estimating amounts, they helped us pick out wines, they delivered the original order and they ended up delivering more beer when we ran low. They also took back unopened bottles so if we over estimated it wasn''t any extra money. So my long winded point is that I would definitely talk with some liquor stores in the area and see what they offer.
 

So_happy

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2006
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Kismet~ Wow! What a liquor store :) I hadn''t a clue that liquor stores could be so helpful. I will ask around know now that that is even an option.

I''m getting sort of annoyed at my caterer in that I have to pay $760 AND STILL bring my own liquor if I don''t choose thier $22pp option. And that $760 doesn''t include mixers or sodas etc. Just the ice, barware, bartender, and scoops, and shakers. So, whatever I buy is in addition to $760


I''ve always been a firm believer that caterers will get thier money from you somehow.........very few say they have a minumum to walk out the door.....but boy do they have sneaky ways of making that price higher than makes sense. You all have probably seen it when you''ve got several proposals in front of you from diff caterers and you see.........oh caterer x only charges $5pp for linens and flatware but charges huge labor fees.........and caterer y charge 7pp for linenes and flatware but have lower labor fees..........thank god for Excel because once i plugged in all the variables all but one came out the same within about $200~!!!!
 

Tacori E-ring

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
20,038
Date: 12/17/2006 11:52:10 PM
Author: So_happy
You''re right, Tacori. The extra $500 could very well be very worth having less stress.


Does it drive anyone a little nuts, tho, that, while perfectly and 100% true, the above kinds of statements are what, in the end, totally put you over budget??


I''m not saying this to criticize Tacori''s and other''s points.......because I AGREE with them..........but it''s sort of been this way from the begining.
It''s called planning a wedding
 

flopkins

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2004
Messages
2,025
so_happy - I would venture to guess a significant portion of the cost is their insurance to serve the alcohol.
 

So_happy

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2006
Messages
1,084
an update.........because I know you were all breathlessly waiting for it lol.........

we may go with another caterer who offers a $18pp full open bar package instead. That just makes it too easy. And thier menu is certainly comparable.

All in all, the new caterer''s proposal includes a cake, champagne toast. and the full open bar for $800 less than present caterer.

I''m happy we haven''t deposited anyone yet! Boy.........we''ve got 35 weeks to go..........should I be worried I don''t have a caterer yet???
 
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