Wedding Bar

DIY vs Catered Bar – The Pros and Cons

Custom Beverage Catering Kansas City and Saint Louis Missouri

So, you are looking at venues and realizing there are so many “flavors” in the fine print. Do they allow outside catering? Is there ample parking? Do they have a ceremony space? What does it cost to flip the room? Do they include tables and chairs and linens? How do they handle the bar?

The bar is our area of expertise and after 10 years, we’ve noticed things both good and bad about all types of bar set ups. Hopefully this list will help in your venue decision, and down the road your bar service selection.

Venue Type #1 – Your venue has an in-house bar service. When you book the venue, the bar is automatically booked as well.
In House Bar Kansas City Wedding

Pros: Done and done. Yep, you booked two things at once and for the time conscious bride, this is amazing. If you love the venue, and they have bar service, you can expect that service to be as good as the service you receive from the venue manager. No questions.

Cons: It’s usually your most expensive option of the three. But, it’s important and having it executed well can make or break your reception.

Venue Type #2 - Venue allows outside alcohol but you don’t want to mess with those details.
Embrace the Grape Custom Beverage Catering Kansas City Saint Louis Missouri Weddings

Pros: There are companies who will cater your bar (Embrace the Grape is one of them…shameless plug), and although you have to book them separately from your venue, you will not have to worry about any beverage details on your wedding day. These companies are typically less expensive than the in-house beverage services some venues offer.

Cons: Sell out dates happen. Don’t delay in booking.

Venue Type # 3 - The venue allows outside alcohol and you are a DIY bride.
DIY Wedding Bar

Pros: When it comes to the bar, a DIY bride can go to a liquor store and order the alcohol to be delivered, then hire a bartender separately to serve. This is your least expensive option by far.

Cons: It also comes with a fair share of hassles. You have two vendors to coordinate instead of one, you can easily run out of beverages, but most importantly, you have to remember to supply cups, napkins, straws, garnish, ice, coolers etc. Expect your bartender to show up with a corkscrew and a smile…and sometimes just a smile. You supply EVERYTHING else.

Pro Tip: Get a rough idea of what a beverage caterer would cost so you can compare all options and find what's best for you.

There you go…venues and bars. They really do go hand in hand. Click on the instant quote button below to get rough costs for your day.