7 Ways to Save Money on Wine for Your Wedding
These pointers can save you hundreds of dollars.
There are the fun parts of planning a wedding. Incorporating Southern traditions, wedding dress shopping, and spending quality time with your merry maids, to name a few. Then, there are the stressful parts. If sticking to your budget in the wine department has you gasping for, well, more vino to calm down, read on. Here, seven savvy tips for saving money on wine for your wedding.
1. Speak up to score a steeper discount.
Yes, it's okay to haggle. "Wineries and wine stores will often discount, or even heavily discount wine when purchased in bulk. Normally a single case can carry a discount of at least 20%, but if you're buying wine for a wedding, you should be getting a more significant discount than that," says Mark Aselstine, Founder of Uncorked Ventures. "My best advice: shop around. A local wine store can work with you to find something cheap and heavily discounted based on their relationships with distributors. As an example, I had a customer order a pallet of wine. He ended up paying $58 a case, instead of the $32 per bottle that was being advertised on the website. The discounts won't always be that good, but it doesn't hurt to ask."
2. See if you can return unopened bottles of wine.
"Buy your wine from a liquor store that will permit you to return unopened bottles and make sure your servers are meticulous about not opening a new bottle if another bottle of that wine is still being poured," suggests Logan Allec, a CPA and owner of personal finance site Money Done Right. (Try this out if you're buying from a wholesaler, too.) Also worth noting, if you bring your own wine, beer, and liquor to your wedding venue, you'll likely have to pay a corkage fee, says Allec, but this can still save you a significant amount of dough compared to having an open bar.
3. Consider serving boxed wine.
"Boxed wine, baby!" exclaims Amy McCord Jones, owner of Flower Moxie. "They are lighter and less breakable than cases of wine, cost breaks down to less than one-dollar per glass, and you can easily transfer the liquid gold into a glass wine carafe, so no one is the wiser."
4. Only serve one wine.
"Instead of offering a red and white option, offer a light red blend that would satisfy both palettes. For example, have rosé during the warmer months and pinot noir during the colder months," advises Melinda Redling, Director of Catering and Conference Services, Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore.
5. Or mix and match.
Your guests will never know this move stretches your budget. "Often, restaurants and hotels are attempting to deplete their excess inventory of wine selections that are no longer included on their current wine list and will offer them at a lower cost. The offerings may be a mix of different varietals and vineyards which can provide for an interesting experience for guests," says Buddee Clinton, Director of Catering at Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington D.C.. "A wine tasting bar during the cocktail hour is a great opportunity to sample the wine selections and pairing with the seasonal hors d'oeuvres selections. During dinner, each table could be served different selections which can be noted on the menu card, with descriptions of the varietal offerings and the vineyard's story."
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6. Get married at a vineyard.
Vinophiles, take note. "Some vineyards include bottles of wine that they produce on-site in their packages, or sell them to couples who book with them for a discounted rate. If not, ask for it to be negotiated into your contract," suggests Emore' Campbell, Owner of Emore' Campbell Events.
7. Go big.
In terms of bottle size, that is. "Consider offering magnums of wine, which are usually available at a lower price than traditional 750 ml bottles of wine. Though the varietal selections may be more limited, the more popular varietal choices are available and usually at a much lower cost," shares Clinton. "The magnums of wine can also be decanted and served in decorative carafes or decanters, which are more attractive and easier to serve."