Liquor, Wine, and Wedding Receptions
You can save a lot of money by purchasing the alcohol for your own wedding. However, there are many factors to consider. Is it even allowed? How much? What kind? Open bar? Cash bar? Beer? Champagne?
Without proper planning, this money-saver could turn into a major hassle on a day that needs to be perfect. We’re here to help!
First thing first: Call Liquor Cabinet (228-467-8360) to set up a consultation at no charge and without obligation. While we have pulled-off some last minute miracles, we can offer you better options and greater savings if you contact us at least 2 weeks before your wedding day. Our step-by-step process will guide you through all of the logistics behind planning your big day.
Things to Consider
Venue – Make sure your venue allows you to bring in your own alcohol.
Time of day and day of week – The time and day of the week of your wedding will influence the amount of alcohol people consume. For example, you’ll need more alcohol for a Friday night wedding verses a Sunday afternoon wedding. You’ll go thru much more chilled white wine for a warm summer day wedding and may not need a red wine at all.
Guest Preferences – You probably have a good idea as to whether or not your friends and family will drink more wine, hard liquor, or beer.
Environment your hoping for – Are you planning for a formal affair or a big party?
Budget – Of course, cost is one of the biggest factors in your decision-making process. Not to worry! We’ve got good options for every budget.
Types of Bars
Open Bar – is when you prepay for your guest to enjoy unlimited drinks for a set duration. This is the most expensive but may be the best option for a worry-free wedding day.
Cash Bar – is where you have a full bar but instead of you paying for the drinks, the guest pay for the drinks as they consume them. Great idea for fundraiser or charity event. Very bad idea for a wedding. It’s like inviting friends for dinner and charging for the meal!
Limited Bar – is when you pay for all the alcohol, but limit the selection (thus controlling the cost). Perhaps you serve only beer and wine. Or, you serve some alcohol but not every alcohol. You shouldn’t fret about catering to everyone’s preferences. After all, this is your day and what you serve should reflect your personality. Another option would be having champagne for toasts, beer and wine for dinner and a signature cocktail (or two).
The Signature Cocktail – having a signature or themed cocktail is very popular in modern weddings. Not only is it a great way for you to set the vibe on your wedding day, it’s a great way to control the amount (quantity and types) of alcohol purchased. You’ll save by buying in bulk. We’ve got some great ideas!
The Bartender – if your planning on more than 10 guest, hire a professional bartender. Uncle Ernie behind the bar is a bad idea. Trust us! A professional bartender stays sober and can actually save you money by properly managing inventory. You may be tempted to cut cost here but it would be a mistake – not to mention a potential/probable total cluster! We can recommend a good bartender. You’ll thank us later!
How Much Alcohol to Buy?
This is where we can really help. We should discuss all of the options during the consultation but here are some general tips and guides.
What type of bar did you decide on? Are you serving beer and wine only with a champagne toast? Will you offer a signature cocktail and if so, what will it be? Will you limit the number of spirit options and if so, what types and what brands will you offer? Even with the most lavish budget, it’s a good idea to only have one option for each type of alcohol served. For example, one light beer, one regular beer, one vodka, one bourbon, one white wine, one red wine, etc. When folks are drinking on-the-house, they tend to choose the more expensive option anyway. You’re typically better-off buying just one good vodka in bulk rather than one vodka for martinis along with a well-brand for mixing.
Quantity – depends on the number of guest, how much you will be serving and how long you will be serving – but it’s still just an estimation. Needless to say, it’s better to have too much than too little.
Champagne toast – one bottle for every 8 guest. You don’t fill toast glasses. Instruct servers to fill glasses 1/3 of the way. One hundred guest = 13 bottles of champagne.
The standard rule of thumb for the amount of beer, wine and liquor to purchase is to assume that every guest will consume two drinks during the cocktail hour and one drink per hour after that, however, only you know if the “standard” applies to your friends/family.
Wine – the average glass is 5 oz
750 ml standard wine bottle = 25.4 oz, or five glasses
1.5 liter wine “magnum” bottle = 50.8 oz, or ten glasses
3 liter wine bottle or box = 101.6 oz, or 20 glasses
5 liter wine box = 169 oz, or 34 glasses
Liquor – the average shot is 1 and ½ oz
750 ml standard bottle (fifth) = 25.4 oz, or 16 shots
1 liter = 33.8 oz, or 22 shots
1.75 liter/Half Gallon (Handle) = 59.2 oz, or 39 shots
Extras – If you serve liquor, you’ll need to consider garnishes. You can get very fancy here but it all depends on what your serving. Lime, lemon and olives are basics.
For each 750 ml of liquor, you’ll need 3 (1 liter or 24 oz) of mixer.
Common mixers include soda, tonic, cranberry, cola, sprite, ginger ale.
Ice – estimate 1 pound of ice per guest or 1½ per guest if also chilling bottles.
Sound complicated? We can help you thru it! Call or come by Liquor Cabinet – Bay St. Louis