I’m sure when you picture your wedding you envision you and your love toasting with a glass of bubbles. Or a heaving dance floor where everyone has a drink in hand boogying into the night. It’s a celebration after all! For those that do drink, beverages are a huge consideration when planning your wedding. Are you having the standard beer, wine and sparkling- or are you going all out with a custom cocktail list curated just for you? The level of importance varies from couple to couple. But a question we hear often is can we BYO beverages for our wedding?
The answer very much depends on your venue, but the question you need to be asking is should you! There are soooooo many things to consider. Your wedding is far different from a backyard BBQ after all. It isn’t as simple as setting up buckets with ice and a few of your favourite drinks! So, for your guidance, we have created a pros and cons list of everything you need to know if you are considering a BYO beverage wedding!
Pros of BYO Alcohol
Being able to select specific brands and beverages of your choice
For the couple who have their favourites, whether it be a Pinot Noir from your favourite winery in the Yarra Valley or imported Gin from Japan, having BYO alcohol really allows you to specifically curate a list of beverages that your catering company may not have access to. Or if they do, because it is not a regular supplier of theirs. So it may cost a little more for them to get their hands on it. Being able to carefully choose the beverages on offer at your wedding does have a huge appeal for those who have a specific taste. Not to mention if your family happens to own and vineyard or your brother brews his own beer. Being able to drink this at your wedding may be all the more sentimental and special for you.
If you have a large number of guests that don’t drink
When you reflect on your invited guests you might find there is a large number who don’t drink. So if you have a full catering package but half of your guests don’t drink alcohol, then you won’t be getting the best value out of it. This is when BYO may be the option for you! You can supply less alcohol without the worry of it running out, and focus more on non-alcoholic beverages and therefore save yourself some money.
Cons of BYO Alcohol
What do you do when the alcohol runs out?
It’s 9:30pm, your wedding isn’t ending for another 2 hours and your bar staff have just notified you that they are completely out of beer and champagne. The nightmare moment every BYO couple dreads. Sadly it’s a regular reality. A professional caterer or beverage service company comes in over-prepared. They want to guarantee you that they will not run out of alcohol on the night, so they bring even more than they know they will need. They are professionals after all and have worked out down to a fine science how much they need to cater for specific numbers, no matter how heavy the drinkers. This is a safety net that you have when you choose to go with an established company.
For you, on the other hand, I’m guessing you haven’t planned too many huge events in your life. You might not be sure how long it takes people to drink through a few cases of wine. So it is likely that mid wedding you may need a trusty friend (who hasn’t been hitting the booze), to duck out and pick up more alcohol should you run out. No one wants to have to leave mid wedding! A way to try and avoid this is to over-buy, but that often leads to spending far more than you budgeted. So much for saving money with BYO!
Organising service of the drinks.
Remember when I said this isn’t just a backyard BBQ? You are going to need to consider who is prepping and serving drinks to your guests. This doesn’t just start when your guests arrive, drinks aren’t just magically cold. Beverage staff are usually on-site 1 to 2 hours early unpacking and icing all of your drinks. Ensuring that when someone pops that first bottle it is nice and chilled. There is nothing worse than a warm beer am I right? They are also pre pouring and prepping glasses of wine and champagne. Making sure that as soon as your guests walk in they are able to get their hands on a drink to toast to the happy couple in record time. So if you do hire wait staff, you aren’t just hiring them for the duration of the event. You need at least 2 hours prior and an hour after to ensure they have enough time to set up and pack down.
You also need to remember that whoever you organise to serve your drinks will need to have a valid RSA to make sure the service is legal. So getting your friends to help out is a no unless they are qualified. Now you might be happy to have minimal staff and only bottled beverages, but who is picking up all of the empty bottles? It is so important to ensure you have enough staff to be doing roving clears of the room. Imagine getting your amazing photography back from the day, only to have every table in shot cluttered with empty bottles and glassware. This leads me to my next point.
Bringing in all of your own bar equipment and glassware
Now let’s not forget all of the equipment needed to serve. I’m talking buckets, bottle openers, knives for any garnishes, and the all-important glassware! It isn’t just a matter of one glass per person. You’re lying if you say you aren’t guilty of grabbing a wine from the bar at an event and leaving it on a table, only to forget exactly where it is, and just getting another one. We all do it. That is why beverage service companies bring more than you need. They also have staff on constant rotation picking up empty glasses. Making sure they are washed, sparkling and ready to be used again.
Ok while you may feel BYO could save you money, let’s not forget something that is also worth a lot. Your time! BYO alcohol means that you will need to make time usually the day before or the morning of your event to drop off all of the alcohol you have been buying and hoarding over the fast few months. Your venue can’t store it for you all that time, they have multiple events a week. You’d hate for someone to accidentally drink your speciality Gin imported from Japan! So while you planned to be relaxing the morning of your wedding, you or someone close to you will need to run out and buy 10-15 packets of ice to drop off. Or be pre-cutting lemon and orange wedges for garnishes.
Ultimately the choice is yours! We hope this little insight has prepared you with some of the great and not so great points of doing BYO beverages. You may feel the BYO option is a great way to save money. Just make sure you’ve really weighed up both sides to see if it is the right option for your day.
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Nudo acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to the land. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders both past, present and emerging.
Nudo is a dynamic team of planners and designers (and shoulders to lean on), effortlessly guiding you through your wedding journey step by step. Taking the time to understand your vision and what matters most, whilst also taking care of the million small (and sometimes tedious) details that you don’t have the time for. And when the day comes, we bring it all together to create the kind of experience your guests will rave about for years.
If you’re looking for a wedding planner and stylist in Melbourne and would love a team of dreamers and doers on your side to guide you through the journey step by step, drinking glasses of bubbles, and making wedding planning fun, then head to our contact page to chat to one of our friendly team.