Reception Drink Calculator: Stock Smart
Make sure your reception bar doesn't run dry
By Jen Whitten
Cost is major concern for most brides and grooms. They want their guests to have an amazing time, but they do not want to bust the budget in the process. Receptions, especially those with open bars, are potential money traps if you do not stock smart when it comes to the alcohol. Rather than serving subpar liquor, calculate the required amount to ensure that your guests receive quality and that you don't run out before cutting the cake.
- What You Need to Know
- What are your drink preferences?
- Are the guests primarily family or mainly friends?
- Are there any religious or cultural traditions about drinking alcohol at weddings?
Estimate a head count. You cannot order or purchase alcohol or any other drinks until you know how many people will attend. Set your RSVP date early enough to meet any order deadlines your venue or distributor give you.
Remember the time of your reception before placing your wedding alcohol order. Guests typically drink more at an evening wedding than they would in the morning or afternoon. Expect more drinking in warm weather than cold.
Think about your guests. Will there be primarily family members in attendance who do not drink? Do they only drink beer and wine? Understanding the drinking habits of your guests allows you to better stock your reception bar.
Consider how much each person can reasonably consume. A rule of thumb for party drinking is two drinks per guest in the first hour, one drink per guest for every hour after.
Set a limit on the amount of alcohol to serve. This is your wedding, not a toga party at the fraternity house. People are there to celebrate your happiness with you, so do not feel as though you must provide an endless open bar.
Serve a signature wedding cocktail. You can control the amount of alcohol in a mixed drink recipe, so consider offering a tasty cocktail with as much mixer content as liquor to save money.
Figure how many bottles you need. The typical serving of liquor in a mixed drink is 1 to 1.5 ounces;the standard 750 ml liquor bottle holds about 25 pours at 1 ounce or 17 pours of 1.5 ounces. The same size wine or champagne bottle holds 6 pours of 4 ounces each. The standard 12 ounce beer bottle is a single serving.
Limit the variety of liquor. Do you really need one of each kind of liquor available from your venue? Select only the most popular kinds of alcohol to serve. Giving fewer options to your guests cuts down on the number of half-empty bottles at the end of the evening. This is especially important if your reception hall charges a corkage fee to open each bottle.
Consult your budget. Liquor brands vary in price and quality. Determine the best quality you can afford once you know the amounts to purchase. If you require large quantities, don't forget to ask for a discount for bulk purchases.
About the Author
Jen Whitten is a freelance writer and worked in the event and wedding planning fields.
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