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Expert Advice: The DIY Bar

Coordinator Melissa Barrad gives Tips and Tricks for providing your own liquor for you DIY Bar!

bar-1. Watch for sales.
Take advantage of the one-cent sale at BevMo!, which takes place a few times a year. You can order online or over the phone. they charge under $100 to deliver the day of, and everything that needs to be refrigerated, will be.

2. Don’t serve only what you like.
Be sure to accomodate everyone’s taste – not just yours, bridezilla! Give your planner $100 beforehand in case a guest wants a specific cognac.

3. Don’t assume you can return anything undrunk. Legally, you can’t return alcohol – in the state of California, so you would be considered the seller. So be prepared to enjoy whatever you have leftover.

4. Get Crafty.
“We are a craft beer town,” says Barrad. “Give the guests the flavor of San Diego. In most cases, beer is more cost-effective than mixed drinks.”

5. Avoid letting your cousin bartend.
The California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) doesn’t allow you to throw a bottle of red and white on each table in a bucket – you need a licensed bartender. An objective third party serving will make sure everyone is safe. “If a friend does it, there’s too much room for error. If the wedding is in your own backyard, you might still need liability insurance.” Ask your caterer to recommend a pro.

6. Provide water at the end. Buy a few cases of bottled water and them up at the bar in the last half-hour so you can send your guests off hydrated.

7. Beware Corkage Fees.
A typical wine corkage fee is $10-25 while beer (yes, beer!) is often 50 cents per bottle. Add to the cost of the bottle and 18-22 percent service plus tax.

Important to know: The quickest way to go over budget is to have an open bar all night. Serve pre-reception champagne, or have a specialty bottle for everyone at dinner.

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