Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Get your drink on

Having an open bar is something that is important to me, my fiancee and both are families, that being said, having an open bar is freaking EXPENSIVE! There are many choices out there, and in the end it doesn't matter what you choose as long as you are happy with it in the long run. So I've been told by the world wide web that these are my choices:
  1. Cash bar - Nope.
  2. Have wine & beer - Nope I don't drink beer & there is only so much wine I can handle, so if I don't care for events that only have wine & beer then why would I subject my guests to only those choices?
  3. Have open bar for an hour or two then switch to cash bar- Nope, I want my guests to come and celebrate with us & not have to pay for anything at the reception, 1/2 of them are coming from the east coast and spent a good amount of money on a plane ticket & hotel, so I don't want them to fork over some more money.
  4. Open bar. Yup this is the only choice. It's expensive but it's something that was #1 on our list of things we want from a venue.
So now what? Now we have to decide whether we pay per person which can range anywhere between $30-$60 for a 5 hour reception or whether we pay per drink which can range anywhere from $6-$12, I think what we are going to have to do is go through our guest list and estimate how many drinks everyone will have and based on those calculations decide whether we pay per person or per drink. We also may decide on a venue where we can bring in our own alcohol and for that I will be using a drink calculator! Here are some that I have found:

  • Evite.com has a good one where you put the percentage of light, medium & heavy drinkers & then it tells you the how much alcohol, wine & liquor you need, but it doesn't tell you what type of liquor you need.
  • perfectplanning.net has one that includes alcohol, wine & liquor but also has how many soft drinks you will need.
  • thatsthespirit.com not only tells you how much alcohol, wine & liquor you need, but also tells you the average price you are going to spend on buying it.
Here are some recommendations for a wedding reception with 100 guests:

Real Simple:
  • Red Wine: 12 bottles
  • White Wine: 12 bottles
  • Champagne: 20 bottles
  • Beer: 120 bottles
  • Vodka: 4 bottles
  • Gin: 2 bottles
  • Rum: 2 bottles
  • Bourbon: 2 bottles
  • Scotch (blended): 1 bottle
USA Bride:

Beer:9 Total Cases

* 3 Domestic cases
* 3 Imported cases
* 3 Light cases

Wine:5-8 Total Cases

* 3-4 Chardonnay cases
* 1-2 White Zinfandel cases
* 1-2 Cabernet Sauvignon cases


* 1-2 cases

Hard liquor

* 5 liters vodka
* 3 liters gin
* 2 liters rum
* 2 liters scotch
* 2 liters bourbon
* 750ml vermouth
* 3 liters kahlua

Others to Consider (1 liter of each)

* Bailey’s Irish Cream
* Grand Marnier
* Amaretto
* Sambuca
* Brandy
* Frangelico
* Chambord

the knot has some averages:

  • Beer: 5 to 6 cases
  • Whiskey: 1 liter
  • Bourbon: 1 liter
  • Gin: 2 to 3 liters
  • Scotch: 2 liters
  • Light rum: 1 liter
  • Vodka: 5 liters
  • Tequila: 1 liter
  • Champagne: 1 to 1 1/2 cases
  • Red wine: 2 cases
  • White wine: 3 1/2 cases
  • Dry vermouth: 1 bottle
  • Sweet vermouth: 1 bottle


  1. Oh! I have a post scheduled for tomorrow about the cost of liquor at a wedding!!! I usually offer up a recipe, but this time just the facts...

    I'm going to link you up too!!!

    Great post!

  2. we are doing an open bar and this really helps me out!! thanks for posting!!


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