Everyone knows that one of the highlights of a wedding is the open bar provided by the Bride & Groom, but knowing how much alcohol to order without breaking the bank is key. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to keep the drinks flowing without overflowing the budget.
1. How to calculate how much alcohol you'll need to keep the party going all night long
Best rule of thumb is to calculate 3-4 drinks per guest. Most guests will probably reach this goal and others might not drink at all. If you have a 'fun bunch' much like my millennial friends, perhaps you could average 4-5 drinks per person.
For example a small wedding, up to 100 guests: Average; 12 bottles of champagne, 15 bottles of red wine, 15 bottles of white wine, 20 cases of beer (24 bottles per case), 6 bottles of vodka, 4 bottles of gin, 6 bottles of rum, 6 bottles of whiskey & mixers.
2. Buy wholesale. If your venue allows you to provide the libations, buy wholesale, Costco, Trader Joes, Total Wine etc. Wines I would recommend buying from a local vendor, especially if they could pre-order imports at cost, your guests will be very impressed.
3. KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS. If you do decide to buy 'a little extra' booze, in case any of these calculating methods fail you, at least you could return the excess bottles after the wedding.
4. Signature Drinks. To save money, opt for a signature drink or drinks, with everyone's go to liquor of choice; Vodka or Whiskey. Ask a local mixologist or guru bartender to create the specialty cocktails, best part is you could name the drinks.
5. Provide the cash in advance for the bartenders to your wedding coordinator/planner. If you are a boozy bride and groom you might not want to deal with any cash transactions at the end of the night. Average 2 bartenders at each bar, parties that exceed 175 guests should have 2 bars, meaning you will have to hire 4 bartenders, they usually average about $25/hour.
6. Consider opting out of having a champagne toast. Allow your guests to toast with a beverage of their hearts desire. Save on having to purchase champagne for every guest.
7. Custom beer koozies are a fun way to incorporate a wedding favor for your boozy-alike friends and family. Do not waste your time with branded napkins or plastic cups these will all eventually end up in the garbage, sadly its a great gesture but short lived.
8. Don't forget to add to the list the mixers and garnishes, remember to keep it simple, if you want to keep the bartenders moving along from guest to guest with ease. Too many options slows down the line, plus too many options = more $$ spent.
9. Ice, Ice, baby. Pre-order a shipment of ice to be delivered to the venue 1-2 hours before starting. Most places you order ice from will deliver in a container, if not make sure the venue has extra fridges you could use to store the ice, another option is to bring in coolers.
10. Get your guests home safe. Arrange for evening shuttles for guests staying at nearby hotels. If you want to keep the party going, hire a party bus to transport the guests to an after party.