Guest Blogger: Social Sips – Ways to save money on wedding wine

We are excited to have our friend Nicole from Social Sips as a guest blogger. Nicole will be sharing for experience on various topics related to wine at your wedding over the next few months.  Her first post below are some great tips of ways to save money on wines at your wedding.

When I got married, I wasn’t working in the wine industry yet. If I had been, I would have done things so much differently. Or at least I would have known the right questions to ask when it came to what we wanted to serve our guests for our big day. So many brides have no idea the options that are, or aren’t available to them. And most don’t know that there are ways to make it simple and special without adding unnecessary expense to an already stretched budget.


I’m here to help! Here are some ideas on keeping wine costs down for your big day.


Go With Your Venue’s House White and House Red


This one may seem like an obvious choice but you’d be surprised how many people don’t go this route. Because of their lower cost, people assume that house pours are sub standard and granted, sometimes they can be, but not always! I’ve seen some solid VQA wines as well as quality Italian DOC wines as house pours. It’s worth asking the question, especially if your venue purchases these wines in large formats. It saves a bundle! You might decide to not have these (large) bottles sitting on your guests’ tables, but hey, maybe that’s ok to help keep the cost down.


What’s The Corkage Fee

If you’re getting married at a venue that has a wine list and you decide you want to offer your guest’s something that’s NOT on said wine list, your first question to the venue needs to be about corkage fees. I’ve seen fees as low as $15 and as high as $50 – PER BOTTLE! Yes, always remember that this fee is for each and every bottle opened. So if you’re paying $20 for the wine plus an astronomical corkage fee, it might simply be worth it to take a second look at the venue’s offerings. One of your follow up questions should be: will the venue still charge corkage if you purchase a whole case? Venue’s don’t want leftover one-offs that they can’t sell to someone else. If you buy the entire case from them, it’s a pretty hard for them to justify charging a fee. Which leads me to this: there’s no reason to think that corkage fees can’t be negotiated. Just because something is printed on a sheet of paper or in an email doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate it off of the final invoice.


So Where Can I Find Good Deals?

Ok, so you’ve gotten to the point of knowing you want to serve something unique or fun or that will add something special to your big celebration. If you’re in BC, don’t go to a government BC Liquor Store or chain. Their prices are set in stone at head office and you won’t be able to get a discount. But if you approach a private store and commit to purchasing a full case, you could potentially save a few bucks. You could also ask private stores if they have any end-of-stock bottles. This is somewhat of a riskier move as you’ll likely end up with wines that the store doesn’t want to carry anymore and are trying to clear out. You could end up with a variety of styles doing it this way but hey, who says that’s not ok?


Domestic wineries also offer some good savings options. Aside from the obvious ‘supporting local’ vibe, you get access to different varietals and special vintages that possibly aren’t available in stores. Depending on the time of year, some wineries may be looking to push out last year’s stock in order to get to their new release (hint: here’s where you can negotiate again!) Or ask about their shipping fees. Lots of wineries waive shipping if it’s within the province or again, are looking to push out older vintages.


As a wine consultant, I’m not here to push you to buy the best or most expensive wine. I take pride in ensuring brides are happy with their wine choices and feel that they received good value from their decision. The only way this can happen is if you ask questions, so ask! I’m only an email away and happy to help any way I can.