Put the thoughts of your personalized glassware aside and focus on what's in it. Creating the ideal bar at your wedding reception can be a bit tricky. Not only do you want to make sure it’s a well-stocked affair that will keep your guests happy, but you also need to make certain you have plenty so the alcohol flows well through the night. Wondering how much to purchase for your wedding? This quick guide can help.
Take a Look at Your Guest List
Your planning has to start with a quick peek at the numbers on your guest list. Are you expecting less than 50 people? More than 100? In addition to understanding exactly how many people are going to be attending your wedding, you also need to understand how many of those people are likely to be drinking. For example, if you have a guest list of 150, but at least 50 of those are children or underage guests, you only have about 100 people for whom you need to purchase alcohol.
Think About Your Drinks
Before you buy anything, think carefully about what you want to serve to your guests. Will you only have beer on hand? Will you be serving wine? Will you need champagne for the toast? Do you want a few signature drinks? Create your menu before you start grabbing bottles off the shelf at the liquor store.
If you plan only to serve beer and wine, you’ll want to go with a 60-40 split. Make sure you have beer for 60% of the guests and wine for the remaining portion. If you plan to add mixed drinks to that ratio, go with beer for 20% of those attending, wine for 35%, and liquor for the remainder of your guests.
Most wedding receptions last about four hours. The rule of thumb is that within that four hours, you should have at least 5 drinks available per person. On average, a single serving of beer is 12 ounces, for wine, it’s 5 ounces, and for liquor, it’s 1.5 ounces.
Think in economical sizes wherever possible. With beer, a keg is the best possible deal. One keg gives you about 150 servings. Make certain, however, that you choose a brand that is familiar to your guests and will be universally liked.
It’s tough to buy wine in an economical size. A standard bottle holds about 5 servings. The larger bottles usually hold double that number. In most cases, the cheap box of wine isn’t going to be classy enough to serve at your wedding.
Liquor sizes will depend on exactly what you want to serve. If you’re trying to save money, choose a signature drink or two. Not sure what to serve? Ask your bartender for a bit of help. Your caterer may have some ideas too.
Keeping the right amount of alcohol on hand can mean one less thing to worry about on your big day. You may even want to hire a full service bar tending company so you don’t have to worry about buying all of it on your own.
And if you are holding an adults-only wedding, you could even consider giving shot glass favors to your guests. It's a fun little favor that they will use for years to come.
Michelle has been with Wedding Favors Unlimited for nearly 20 years. Starting out in Customer Service, she’s interacted with thousands of Brides helping them navigate every detail imaginable around a wedding. She became a full-time writer for us because she realized he kept getting the same questions over and over and wanted to share them with everyone. Feel free to ask Michelle a question below!