You have your menu set and now you need to think about the important stuff. Fun juice!
To simplify some things I am breaking it down for you. This is informational even if you are having a hotel wedding or at a facility that offer alcohol because you still need to order the amount for your guests. They can throw out a number to you but let's face it, they don't know your crowd and how they drink and they are in the business of making money so you might end up with more than you need.
There are several options to choose from. I tell my clients to at least offer one alcoholic drink for your guests that's hosted and host all non alcoholic drinks. It's like inviting people over to your house and not having anything in your cupboards if you don't have something other than water.
Types of bars to consider:
Beer, Wine, Soda
Signature Drink / Soda
A combination of the above
It's a better idea to hire a bar service for your event than it is to try to break the bank having every mixer and alcohol under the sun to offer your guests. So look to your caterer if you can. In MN there are strict laws about who can serve alcohol at events and it's very tough to get a liquor license which is why so few caterers and venues have them in comparison to the amount of caterers and venues out there. There are lots of liability issues when it comes to alcohol as well as laws. I believe in MN that it is legal to give alcohol away and not charge for it but it does still make you liable if your residence is the location that the liquor is being given away at. If it's a venue, they become liable which is why most venues now require wedding insurance, like wed safe, of their couples.
Now that you know the rules let's stock your bar.
Musts: Whiskey / Gin / Vodka/ Rum
Optional: Tequila & Baileys
Mixers: Tonic/ Juices / Club Soda/ Soda / Lemon / Lime
Sodas: Sprite or 7 up & Diet Versions / Coke / Diet Coke/ Mtn Dew
Coffee Station: Regular and Decaf
Beer: Two types of beer a light beer and a regular.
Bottles are more expensive than keg beer but if you don't have an experienced bar tender serving the keg can get wasted. Typically there are 167 16 oz glasses in a keg. However if you do bottles you wont need the extra glassware unless your wedding is black tie.
Wine: One red wine and one white at the very least. However it also depends on where you live on what you want to offer. I have found that n MN a lot of people enjoy sweet wines. So adding a Moscato in there might be good too. Per bottle there are 4 servings.
Champagne is optional: Also, you don’t have to do a formal toast , people can cheers with what ever they are drinking but it is fun to use champagne in a signature drink during a cocktail hour.
How much do you need?
Full Bar: Based on 100 guests over 6 hours.
One Serving of something alcoholic, per guest, per hour.
600 servings total.
50% Beer= 2 kegs or 16 cases
25% Wine = 3 cases
25% Liquor = 2 bottles of each type of liquor
3 bottles of each kind of soda
200 bottles of water
Beer/ Wine/Soda Bar:
50% Beer: 2 kegs
50% Wine: 7 cases
2 bottles of each soda
200 bottles of water
Things to take into account.
- Time of day and year. A morning or luncheon wedding will require a lesser amount of alcohol than a afternoon/ evening one. In the summer people get thirstier. Beer and wine go more quickly.
- Know how your guests drink. At least your family.
- Your serving ware. Mason jars are very popular right now however they do hold more therefore if you are letting your guests use them expect to run out of liquor or receive a big bar bill. Also pay attention to the venue or caterer's wine glass size.