In my work helping couples find their wedding venue, we naturally end up talking about the bar and how bar packages work. Couples often ask me whether they can bring their own alcohol. The short answer is it depends on the venue. The MAJORITY of venues do not allow BYO. Because of liquor license requirements and liability issues, they must provide all alcohol. And actually, not just alcohol but all beverages.
The handful of venues that do allow BYO wine and hard alcohol are banquet halls or venue spaces that are not hotels. At those venues you’re required to hire a licensed and bonded bartender (in other words even if the venue allows BYO alcohol, you can’t have a friend or family member manage the bar for you). The bartender will be required to provide a copy of his/her valid license. You can bring in your own alcohol purchased from wherever you like.
As for hotels and resorts, some venues make an exception to the BYO rule, with wine.
ProTip: best practice is 1 bartender for every 75 guests.
There are a handful of venues that allow you to bring your own wine (no hard alcohol), including hotels. The venues charge a corkage fee per bottle. It’s usually in the range of $18/750mL bottle. When you consider that the average glass of wine at an Indian wedding venue is about $9 (at mid-range venues; not luxury hotels and resorts), and a 750mL bottle of wine serves about 6 drinks – that’s worth it.
How They Serve Your BYO’d Wine Matters
You have to dig deeper though. One venue we work with allows BYO wine, but not in the way you’re thinking, where you’d supply the wine bottles and the bartender will serve as guests approach the bar. What this venue does with donated wine bottles is have the servers approach each person at their table — champagne toast style.
Now that you don’t want, because some people will accept the glass of wine simply because it was offered. They might just take a few sips and not drink the rest, which is a waste of money.
To be honest, over the last two years I haven’t come across any couples who do this. You go through a lot of trouble to buy and transport the wine. And don’t expect to get any of your wine back.
- DIY venues allow you to bring your alcohol
- Hotels and resorts may allow you to bring your own wine, and wine only, and they’ll charge a per bottle corkage fee
- This is something to talk about when you’re at the negotiation stage with your venue – not upfront. Upfront do your own math and figure out about how much money you think you’ll save. You can use the numbers above to figure out what will work for you.
- Don’t forget to consider the value of your time when thinking about cost, as it’s not just about cash expenditure but if you supply your own wine you have to store it, transport it to the venue and have some accounting for it – all things that will take up more of your time.
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! 🙂