wedding beer & wine

here is one thing I learned about wedding planning: once you decide on a venue and guest count the amount of money you are going to spend is pretty much set. but while you can't save money you can get more for your money.

for example let's look at the beer and wine.  our venue had two options for alcohol:

  • they provide the beer, wine, and alcohol as well as bartenders for a certain amount per head.
  • you provide the beer and wine to be served and they provide the alcohol and bartenders for a (lesser) amount per head.

now back in college victor and I were both economics majors and are numbers people that model everything. after a very complex spreadsheet we came to the conclusion that the two options would cost about the same because any savings we got by buying our own beer and wine would be negated by the fact that we would need to buy extra (to avoid running out mid wedding). however by going with the "buy your own option" it would allow us to get better quality beer and wine for the roughly the same total price. 



our friends colin and christina work in the wine industry. we bought several cases of "hold back" chardonnay and pinot noir from the vineyard christina works at for a steep discount.

what is "hold back" wine?

when making wine they every so often take a bottle off the assembly line and denote the batch it came from. later on they randomly select some of these bottles for quality control testing. provided there aren't any issues the rest of the bottles are never tested. however they also can't be sold because the label has been "damaged" by the writing. if you know someone at the vineyard (like we do) you can often buy this wine at a steep discount. 


using an eraser i was able to get most of the writing off, it wasn't perfect but it was good enough for us!


we also used colin and christina's industry connections to get a good deal on a few cases of ridge cabernet and iron horse sparking wine. 



by putting in some legwork we were able to serve our guests some pretty amazing beer.

over the course of a weekend we went around to several bevmos (sort of like a Costco for alcohol in California) with coupons and stocked up on a few of our favorite beers: trumer pilsner, ballast point sculpin, anderson valley boot amber ale, and ballast point victory at sea porter.


for the final beer we wanted to do something special. so we drove up to Santa Rosa, meet up with our friends Claire and Andrew, and bought ten cases of the much coveted pliny the elder.


this was a huge hit because pliny is really hard to come by. they only sell it out of the brewery in santa rosa so most of our east coast friends had never had it before. 

finally we got a few six packs of canned beer for the bus ride back/after party. we continued with the was all california theme: anchor steam lager, 21st admendment back in black, more Ballast point sculpin, and it's elusive grapefruit variety.



i spent a good deal of time modeling out how much beer and wine we should buy, then I remember my sister sammie and her husband omkar started to run low on beer at their wedding (resulting in scott going out to pick up a keg). so I said 'f*ck it' and (for once) went willing along with victor's tendency to over buy.

here is how our wine by servings broke down:

wine servings


beer servings

and bus/afterparty beer:

bus beer servings

as expected this was way too much, but it was far better than running out. plus we got to keep all the leftovers:


but it this is the biggest problem we're facing, I'm going to consider us very lucky.

so verdict: we were really pleased with this approach, we felt like it allowed us to serve really nice alcohol for the price of just nice alcohol. 

now just wait until you see how we told people what was on tap!


aunt maggie