Today lets talk liquor licenses. In all provinces you will need a special event license (SEL) or permit to sell or provide liquor at private events, such as weddings. I have rounded up all the info you will need to get your special event liquor license in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. All provinces are pretty similar but do hold some differences. So, lets get to the info so you get to the party!
In Alberta it will depend on the type of private event you are holding for what specific licence you will need. The two types are if the liquor is provided for free to guests (open bar) or if the liquor will be sold to guests (cash bar).
If liquor will be provided free to guests
If your wedding is an open bar to all your invited guests, and you will be providing liquor free:
- You will need a private non-sale SEL licence.
- The fee for this licence is $10.
- You can apply online using the AGLC Special Event Liquor Licence online application.
If liquor will be sold to guests
If your wedding is a cash bar, and guests will be paying for liquor service:
- You will need a private resale SEL licence.
- The fee for this licence is $25.
- If you are an individual, not-for-profit group, or municipality, you can apply online using the AGLC Special Event Liquor Licence online application.
To find out more information and more on your responsibilities for your event, see addition information here.
In British Columbia you will need a Special Event Permit (SEP), formerly known as Special Occasion License (SOL). A Special Event Permit allows the host to serve or sell liquor at an event in accordance with BC’s liquor laws and regulations. Event hosts are responsible for the safety of their guests.
Special Event Permit (SEP)
- Private Special Event: $25.00 licence fee per day/location.
- You can apply online at Special Event.
- All individuals hosting or serving liquor at an SEP event – including family events – are required to complete a Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) training program.
- A Special Event Server (SES) certificate is required for all events under 500 guests
- A Serving it Right (SIR) certificate is required for events over 500 guests
To find out more information and more for your wedding or event, see additional information on Liquor Regulation and Licensing.
In Saskatchewan permits are required for any wedding that will be serving liquor.
Special Occasion Liquor Permits
- Special Occasion Permits are required for anyone serving alcohol at a special event such as a wedding, cabaret or fundraiser. Special Occasion Permits are issued by all SLGA liquor stores, private retailers and SLGA Head Office in Regina. Certain types of permits must be approved by SLGA’s Head Office in Regina.
- All applicants for special occasion permits should apply at least 10 days in advance of the scheduled function to ensure adequate time for processing.
To find out more detailed information concerning your wedding special occasion permit head over to the SLGA website.
In Manitoba a social occasion permit is required if you are planning to sell or serve alcohol at a one-time special occasion such as a wedding. A social occasion permit is needed anytime liquor is for sale or served anywhere other than in a licensed establishment or in a private residence.
Social occasion permit:
- Online at MyLGA.ca
- At our LGA Permit Department at Unit 10 – 1146 Waverley Street
- At any Liquor Mart, liquor vendor or specialty wine store
- Apply at least 10 business days before your event. If you apply at a Liquor Mart, liquor vendor or specialty wine store, you must return to pick up your liquor after your permit is issued.
If you are looking for more information on if a cash bar or open bar is right for you feel free to read this post on Cash bar vs. Open bar.