(Photo Credit: Anne Wilmus Photography)
As a host, it is customary to provide alcoholic beverages to your wedding guests. Because many guests come from out-of-town, stay in a hotel, and provide a gift, it is frowned-upon to have a “cash” bar at your wedding.
Many hotel venues will provide a package that includes all bar items, but there are many venues that require you to provide your own alcohol. If you are providing your own alcohol for your reception, there are many items to consider and prepare. For a 4-Hour Bar, there should be enough for 2-3 drinks per person. For a 5-6 Hour Bar, there should be enough for 5-6 drinks per person. (Obviously, this is an average number, but do think about your guests and how much they will drink.) Consider whether your guests will drink more wine, beer, or liquor. 11 lbs. of ice per 10 people is suggested.
MONEY-SAVER: You will save money by having a Wine and Beer only bar. Liquor adds to the cost along with the many mixers and garnishes that are required. But, if you’d like to have liquor/mixed drinks, consider having one or two “Signature” drinks rather than an open menu. If you do decide to limit your bar, it is nice to provide a “MENU” of items or drinks that are available. The menu can be framed and sitting on the bar.
Type of Alcohol
|Wine||26 ounce bottle||5 Servings|
|Wine||Cases (12 bottles)||60 Servings|
|Champagne||1 Bottle||6 Servings (in flute glass)|
|Champagne||1 Case (12 bottles)||72 Servings|
|Liquor||26 Ounce bottle||17 Servings (1 ½ oz. each)|
|Liquor||40 Ounce bottle||25 Servings (1 ½ oz. each)|
|Domestic Beer||½ Keg (15.5 gallons)||165 Servings (12 oz. cups)
200 Servings (10 oz. cups)
|Domestic Beer||¼ Keg (7.75 gallons)||82 (12 oz. cups)
100 (10 oz. cups)
|Imported Beer||½ Keg (10.7 gallons)||114 (12 oz. cups)
137 (10 oz. cups)
NOTE – Domestic taps do not fit imported kegs.
Suggested Liquors – Vodka, Gin, Rum, Scotch, Vermouth, Kahlua, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Grand Marnier, Amaretto, Sambucca, Brandy, Cognac
Bar Tools Needed – Sink, garbage, coolers for beer cans/bottles, ice storage, corkscrew, bottle opener, can opener, ice tongs, shot glasses, sharp knife, cutting board, long spoons for mixing, cocktail napkins, toothpicks, straws, cocktail shakers.
Suggested Mixers – (there should be appx 3 mixers per bottle of liquor) Milk, Orange Juice, Cranberry Juice, Tomato Juice, Soda Water, Tonic Water, Lime Juice, Lemon Juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire, and Pepsi or Coke Products
Suggested Garnishes – Olives, cocktail onions, sliced oranges, sliced lemons, sliced limes, and cherries
An alcohol license may have to be purchased for your chosen location if you are bringing your own alcohol. A certificate of insurance may also have to be purchased – this relieves the venue of any liability if something should occur on their property that is due to alcohol consumption.
Caterers may offer a beverage/mixer package, which is nice to take advantage of if you are providing a full bar. You may want to consider using an alcohol company that offers full bar packages while taking care of delivery and all items involved – it limits your stress but can definitely add to your budget.
YOU DO NOT WANT TO RUN OUT OF ALCOHOL! Alcohol that is unopened is able to be returned, so it is better to have too much than not enough.