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Cons of Stocking Your Bar at Your Party or Wedding

Stocking your bar can be a great way to save money. A few days ago, I discussed the pros of stocking your bar. Today, I’ll discuss the cons.

It’s harder than it looks

Stocking your bar may seem very easy. However, unless you have a background in bar service, or you have a good friend that does, the details can be overwhelming and they tend to sneak up on hosts. Forming lists, finding vendors, negotiating the best price, scheduling deliveries, taking deliveries, calling when there is a problem with the delivery and making returns adds a number of tasks to your to-do list that you may not have the time or the desire to deal with.

Adds stress to your party day

There are certain tasks related to stocking your bar that must be done on the day before or the day of your party (receiving glassware, liquor and beer delivery, picking up ice* and so on). If you stock your bar, be sure to assign someone (preferably, not yourself) to these tasks.

*A note about ice. Even if your venue has an ice machine, you should have a back up plan. Ice is essential to your bar and you shouldn’t depend on an ice maker that may fail on the day of your party. At very least, find an ice vendor that is near your venue that will be open during your party. That way, if anything happens, you’ll know where you can get ice. Or, find out if your caterer can provide the back-up ice.

Adds Stress During Your Party

Up until the last drink is served, you may be concerned that you will run out of something or that everyone found a drink that they enjoy. A good way to alleviate this stress is to buy more supplies than you’ll need. This might be a good option if your vendor will allow you to return unopened bottles and you have the time after your event to actually make the returns. Keep in mind that you might be tired the day after the party and the last thing you may want to do is load liquor into your trunk and drive to the liquor store.


There is always a chance that something will go wrong and you’ll have to figure out a solution. All sorts of things could happen: the liquor delivery could be late or mis-delivered, the beer could be skunked, the ice machine could break an hour before the party and so on. All of these mishaps are fixable but you, not the caterer, will have to fix them. Whereas, if your caterer manages the bar, any issues or unexpected mishaps will be their headache.


When deciding whether to stock your bar, keep in mind that whether you do so is a personal decision. There are more things to consider than the bottom line cost of your bar. Consider the non-monetary costs that come along with stocking your bar. As with most aspects of planning your event, the cheapest option may not be the best option for your needs. It’ll come down to your personality, your schedule, who can help you and your interest in getting involved in the details of pulling your bar together. Weigh out the pros and cons and decide which option is best for your situation.

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