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Stocking Up the Wedding Bar:  5 Simple Tips to Survive

Stocking Up the Wedding Bar:  5 Simple Tips to Survive

Wedding Bar Menu

Photo Source: Cedar Wood Weddings

The drinking goes beyond the traditional toasts in a lot of weddings nowadays. That’s why the wedding bar is a separate matter to worry about from food and catering.

Stocking up a wedding bar is challenging. It doesn’t only depend on your headcount, but more importantly, on the number of your guests who are drinkers, what they drink, and if they are they allergic to any liquor or mixer.

These are matters every couple must face when planning a wedding because in the end, even if you choose not to serve alcohol to your guests, you still want an unforgettable reception, right? You really have to be careful and not overestimate or underestimate. Alcohol usually plays a part in the most momentous events of a wedding.

Look at some tips down below and see how they apply to your planning.

What Are Your Options?

The Bride Box explains the 5 types of set-up you can adapt during the wedding. Here is a summary of the basic options:

  1. Open Bar – The most expensive type because guests can order a variety of drinks so you have to pay for many kinds of alcohol. But you’re assured that there’s one drink for every guest.
  2. Cash Bar- Basically, you make guests pay for their own drinks. Cost-effective but not a usual practice.
  3. Limited Bar – You make a certain number of drinks available for free. In many weddings, it’s usually beer and wine. Some also have a certain quantity of hard drinks. An affordable compromise to numbers 1 and 2.

Your budget determines a huge chunk of your decision. So for example, if you’re really on a tight budget, maybe the cash bar is your best choice. But if you’re really against it, maybe you can have a limited bar but only for a certain number of hours.

It's all about finding a way to make your budget and preferences work.

Wedding Bar

Photo Source: Brandon Kidd Photography via Found Rentals

Know Your Guests

Who drinks wine? Who hates wine? Who loathes beer? Who wants punch?

You have to face these questions if you’re determined to set up a bar that’s friendly to everyone’s tastes.

If it’s a huge wedding where you’re not really familiar with everyone’s tastes, stick to beer and wine first. If there are groups in your wedding guest list that really have defined alcohol tastes, sneak in a bottle or two for their table if you can afford it.

Wedding Bar SignWedding Bar Sign

Photo Source: Rustic Wedding Chic

Ask Your Caterer for Help When Rationing Your Supplies

These people are in the business of feeding other people so they’re your go-to people when it comes to rationing booze. However, they don’t know your crowd the way you do. They don’t know who drinks wine, who chugs beer like a dehydrated athlete, etc.

Plus, a lot of catering services charge double when you buy alcohol directly from them. If your caterer allows, you can get a copy of their drinks list based on your number of guests, shop for your own supplies, and just have them serve it in the wedding.

Use Online Alcohol Serving Guides

Thank you internet for endless resources! This alcohol appropriation infographic from The Fifth Group Restaurants and Bold American Events is for 100 guests in a 4-hour reception that serves wine, beer, 6 types of liquor, and various garnishes and mixers.

This is a really great guide, but your most reliable wedding bar guide is still your crowd. It might not be enough if you have an adults-only reception for 100 guests and all of them are heavy drinkers.

Wedding Bar

Photo Source: The Edges Wedding Photography via Style Me Pretty

Be Prepared to Spend a Little Extra

This is a universal wedding tip but when everyone starts having fun and you want to liven up your crowd more, you might give in to the temptation of purchasing more alcohol. It has happened in one too many parties where the alcohol consumption was underestimated. Keep a certain portion of your wedding funds for this.

If your caterer happens to be your bar service, have them prepare extra bottles but advise them not to uncork them unless really needed. This way, you don’t have to pay for extra bottles that you do not consume.


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