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Stocking The Bar

Jun 11, 2012 09:20PM ● Published by Anonymous

First, decide what type of bar you plan to offer:

Open (also known as hosted): The hosts -- A.K.A. you and your family -- pay for all drinks, whether it's beer, wine, or a cocktail.

Limited: The hosts pay for a select variety of drinks, often just beer and wine, but sometimes adding in a signature cocktail.

Cash: Guests pay for their own drinks.

Dry: No alcohol is served.

We recommend a limited or open bar, or hosting a dry wedding only if your family and friends mostly don't drink. Cash bars are incredibly controversial and best avoided so you don't offend any guests.

Take this cheat sheet and head to your favorite liquor store to stock up on enough alcohol to last a four- to five-hour wedding reception.

For an evening wedding with an open bar
For every 100 guests that attend, you'll need:

  • 12 bottles of red wine
  • 18 bottles of white wine
  • 120 bottles of beer
  • 4 bottles of vodka
  • 2 bottles of gin
  • 2 bottles of rum
  • 1 bottle of whiskey

For a daytime wedding with an open bar
Guests drink less during the day. For every 100 guests that attend, you'll need:

  • 8 bottles of red wine
  • 10 bottles of white wine
  • 60 bottles of beer
  • 2 bottles of vodka
  • 1 bottle of gin
  • 1 bottle of rum
  • 1 bottle of whiskey

For a wedding with a limited bar (beer, wine, and Champagne)
For every 100 guests that attend, you'll need:

  • 36 bottles of red wine
  • 36 bottles of white wine
  • 30 bottles of Champagne
  • 200 bottles of beer

Extra tips:

  • A good estimate is that each guest will have two drinks during the first hour of the reception and one drink each hour thereafter. Each bottle of wine or Champagne contains five drinks; each bottle of alcohol serves 22 drinks.
  • Don't skimp on nonalcoholic beverages. Offer plenty of bottled water, iced tea, lemonade, and soda for guests who are driving, pregnant, or not drinking for any reason.
  • If you have to supply alcohol, you might have to supply mixers, too. For each bottle of liquor (vodka, gin, etc.), you need three bottles of mixers such as club soda, tonic water, juice, or soda.
  • Take the season and weather into consideration. On a hot summer's day, guests are more likely to order a crisp white wine than a heavy red. The opposite is true for winter weddings.
  • Hire one bartender for every 50 to 75 guests. To save money, you can hire two bartender for the first one to two hours of the wedding, and then cut it down to one bartender as guests stop hitting up the bar every few minutes.

• Last, don't forget the garnishes! Guests will like to garnish their drink with olives, lemon and lime twists, and cherries.

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