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DIY Delaware Run vs Alcohol Concierge Package

Updated: Apr 9

Lancaster is graced with so many amazing wedding venues which operate by BYOB when it comes to alcohol, as they do not have liquor licenses. Legally, alcohol can not be included within their venue packages, nor can it be included within catering or bartending packages, meaning that couples have to provide their own alcohol.

In conversations I have with couples about our alcohol concierge package, we often hear, "Well we can just do it ourselves and we will go to Delaware where it is cheaper and has no sales tax." I agree and say that "Yes, you can certainly do it yourself! Though consider this aspect." I then present them with this little story…

I start by showing them a basic price comparison.

I usually select Tito’s, as vodka will be the highest consumed on the bar throughout the night!

Delaware (Close to the PA border)

Total Wines $19.99 

Pesco Liquors $22.99 

Outlet Liquors $22.99

Pennsylvania State Stores

FWGS $21.99 + PA sales tax $1.31 =  $23.30

So yes, depending on where you go in Delaware it may be $3.30 or just slightly cheaper but not by much!  Some places are only cheaper by $0.40 per bottle. Wine you might save a little more with case discounts.

In 2023, weddings we assisted in the 130-150 guest range paid an average PA sales tax of about $150.15 for all of their alcohol.

So in going to DE or MD you save maybe $150 - $200 by not paying sales tax and slightly cheaper items. However, here are a few additional costs that you didn’t take into consideration.

How much time will it take to figure out how much alcohol you need? You can check out a variety of online calculators but will quickly notice each one gives you a different answer. So you are left unsure on how much you really need for your unique event. This will lead you to over order, fearing that the calculators are wrong (which in many cases they are). We'll say this process takes you about 1 hour.

Now placing orders & picking up… we'll say 2-3 hours (depending on how far you live from DE/MD).  

Considering that same 130 - 150 guest count range, orders average about 25-30 cases total (beer, wine and spirits). If a case weight is typically 25-40 lbs, you are picking up and taking home about 800 - 1,000 lbs of alcohol.  

This only adds additional factors into your planning. 800 - 1,000 lbs is half a ton! Do you have a vehicle to carry all that weight? Or will this force you to rent a van? If you do rent a van, that will run $19.99 plus mileage. So about $70-$100. Maybe you have to use multiple cars? Oh and don’t forget about the GAS!  

Now where are you going to store all those cases? They need to be designated a conditioned space where you are not stepping over and having to move them all out of your way frequently. In your basement? Garage? So now you are physically lifting 800 - 1,000lbs of alcohol a SECOND time! This will add another 15-20 mins (more if you have to use stairs).  

Now the day has finally come and you have to get it all to the venue. Again, will you need to rent a vehicle? Now you also have all the other items you have to take with you for getting ready, decorating, you name it. This is the THIRD & FOURTH time you are moving all that alcohol! By this time you have lifted and moved about 3,000 - 4,000 lbs!  

When all is said and done, you will have spent between 3-6 hrs calculating, coordinating, picking up and delivering all that alcohol. What is your time worth? Is your time free? Minimum wage? NO! Especially in the weeks leading up to your wedding your time is at a PREMIUM! The closer you get to your wedding, the faster time seems to go since you have so any last minute details to finish. This only adds to your stress in the weeks before!

So that $150 - $200 you saved by not paying sales tax, did you really save anything when you factor in all the other costs?

This scenario isn’t over!

You had a PERFECT wedding day and now the event is over and you have to load the leftover alcohol all back into your vehicle. Now your planner, caterer or bartending company will likely help you load the vehicles, So no work for you that night! WOO HOO! Now once you get back home you have to unload everything.

Now you have a LOT of UNOPENED ALCOHOL! You ordered heavier than the calculators recommended because you didn't trust those numbers.   Or the store told you the numbers and they are heavier because they wanted a higher sales total. Which of course you added a few bottles to be on the safe side. Do those stores offer returns? If they gave you case discounts, probably not! They might, but they are banking on the fact that you will not go all the way back there to do the returns. So it’s a win them!

Are they right? Will you want to drive all the way back there to do returns? Then what is their return policy? Some have a very short window from purchase to return so if you purchase early to not deal with it the week of your wedding, will you have enough time to return after? Again it is time and gas to consider.

It is true, alcohol does not go bad so you could keep it and throw a couple of parties over the years but you have a couple of HUNDRED Dollars worth of alcohol if not more, just sitting around your house waiting to be used or given away as gifts. And beer can potentially skunk if left in poor temperature conditions for too long!

So in the end DIY and going to Delaware or Maryland, what did it save you? Money? Time? Stress!? None of the above.

Wouldn't you rather hire a company to take all that stress and hassle off your plate? They'll do all the calculations, deal with the stores and order everything and coordinated payment with you and the store, pick everything up, deliver to the venue and then return at the end of the night to pick up and take back anything that can be returned for a refund. So all you have to worry about is what your signature cocktails will be!

Here's a final way to look at it. Say you do it DIY… you now have $1,000+ in alcohol sitting around your house waiting for a party someday and you did all that work which cost you another $100-$200 in rentals, time and gas, not to mention all that lifting and stress! So doing it DIY will actually cost you about $1,200+.

Our service is $1,050. You actually SAVE MONEY using us!

Did you know, Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania ALL have laws STILL on the books that prohibit or limit the amount of alcohol you can bring into the State without a license!  We know most poeple will say... what are the changes we will get pulled over with 20-30 cases of alcohol. Twice!

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