Help me choose wedding alcohol please!

posted 2 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
Member
235 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

There are a few calculators online that might help (google it!) they look at the time spent drinking and number of guests to make a shopping list. Generally it’s 2 drinks for the first hour or two each, then one drink per hour after that. A bottle of wine is about 6 glasses. 

I think to keep it under budget you might want to scrap spirits and just do beer and wine (I find people drink less that way also). Wines like a sav blanc for a white and a merlot or pinot noir for red tend to be the most popular, but anyone at your local bottle store should be able to help you out with choices if you’re not big drinkers. 

Post # 3
Member
235 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

If you do want spirits why not keep it simple and just do a basic signature cocktail for those who want something sweeter than beer or wine? 

Post # 4
Member
155 posts
Blushing bee

I’m not quite sure where you are located, but I’d highly reccomend going to your local liquor shop and sampling some of the wines avaliable in your particular budget (i.e. $5 to $10/bottle…which may or may not be possible depending on your location). The key thing will be to pick “inoffensive” wines. Unless your guests enjoy their wine, they’re unlikely to care about the particular blend or brand. <br /><br />Also, I depending on where you are, $400 will probably only cover the beer and wine. Do you also need to purchase juices, sodas or mixers for the spirits and non-drinkers?

Post # 5
Member
1762 posts
Buzzing bee

DBS5127

Keep these things in mind:

-I could be wrong, but I thought a bottle of wine was 4 glasses. Six seems like a stretch. 

-I think you’ll need more than two bottles of vodka.

-Kegs of beer could cut down on costs instead of having bottles. 

-If you plan on having a “full bar” you will also need to purchase juices (cran,orange,etc), sodas (ginger ale, coke, seltzer, etc), lemon/lime garnishes, triple sec, sour mix, vermouth, etc, etc…

-$400 doesn’t seem like it’ll cover all of these items, even if the liquor ends up being well brands. A more limited bar may be a better option.

Post # 6
Member
4596 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

For that amount of alcohol, it will be well over $400 – even if you buy the super cheap wine/champagne. I’d go around to liquor stores and start doing some pricing. Just a rough pricing of what I see in stores, I got aorund $420 for eveyrthing (minus the beer), and that still doesn’t include mix-ins as PP’s have mentioned.

You may want to see what people will be drinking and then refigure what to order. For example, a lot of FI’s family drinks Morgan and Windsor. If we were supplying the booze, we would probably need 5-6 bottles of each (no joke) and hope we don’t run out. Most of my friends also drink Morgan, so that would need to be taken into consideration as well.

I don’t see a lot of people drinking champagne unless it’s used for toasts (1 or 2 per table). As for wine, that also would depend on who was/would drink that.

Can you get a keg for beer, instead of having beer bottles? That is usually cheaper in the long run.

Post # 7
Member
564 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

DBS5127:  

Check with your venue to make sure that there is no corkage fee (or what the corkage fee is) if they are serving alcohol that you have brought in and make sure you still come in under budget.

APW had a alcohol calculator http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/01/calculate-alcohol-for-wedding/

I would also suggest serving just wine & beer and having a speciality cocktail (or 2) available – perhaps your and your FI’s favourites?

Post # 9
Member
208 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I’d recommed going to a liquor store in your area and sitting down with them. Most will be able to tell you what quantities you need for that number of people in your area. They can also help you find the brands that don’t taste horrible but still fit in your budget. No need to do all that guesswork yourself when someone else can do it for you!

If done right, you can definitely give plenty of options within your budget if you’re not in a crazy expensive area. Here’s what we did for our reception: We planned on 250 drinkers, and we have ordered enough for 7 drinks per person (the bar will actually only be open for 5.5 hours, but we erred on the high side). We live in the Kansas City area, and alcohol is decently priced here. Not really high, but definitely not the lowest you’ll find. We’re offering Bud Light, Budweiser, Boulevard Wheat, Boulevard Tank 7, 1 red wine, 2 whites (can’t remember the wine brand, but they’re tasty), Scotch, vodka, rum, whiskey, and gin. We went higher end on the rum, whiskey, and gin because we know our families are particular about those. We also ordered all the mixers, cups, and bar napkins from them. Including the $50 delivery fee, we paid $1894.39.

Our rehearsal alcohol is a little bit difficult to compare because we really pared down the offerings. It’s a very very casual dinner, and we planned for 70 drinkers. We’re offering Bud, Bud Light, Boulevard Wheat, and gin (really heavy on the Wheat and the gin). We’ve got about 8 drinks per person plus cups, a couple mixer options for the gin, and ice. Total comes to $414.28. I think you could definitely offer what you want for $400.

I’m sure this is way more info than you needed, but I hope it helps!

Post # 10
Member
208 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I just read your last reply. I was very surprised that a regular liquor store actually turned out to be cheaper than somewhere I could buy in bulk, like Costco or Sam’s Club, so I’d definitely go talk to them even if it’s just to have them give you the quantities. Also, I’d definitely stay away from a keg unless you’re going to offer only keg beer for the whole evening. It’s really hard to go through a keg at a wedding, and it ends up being a lot of wasted money. They’re not usually much cheaper, either, like you said.

Post # 11
Member
5421 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

DBS5127:  How much and what you need really depends on your guests TBH.

If I were hosting and bringing my own I would probably allow approximately 1-1.5 bottles of wine a head for the wine drinkers, 1 glass of champagne each for the toast (10 bottles will be tight with 60 people; you’ll need to make sure it’s poured accurately; I’d probably go with 12), and then 2-3 beers (depending on the size) per hour for the beer drinkers. A lot of my parents friends will easily drink a bottle of wine or 6 or 7 beers over the course of 4-5 hours, and my friends drink a lot more: maybe 1.5-2 bottles of wine plus a few spirits and mixers for the women, and 10+ pints of beer for the men.

As far as vodka etc goes, most people we know just drink beer or wine; so, for us, the quantities you’ve listed would probably be OK; I’d maybe up the vodka to 3-4 bottles, and the whisky to 2, but would leave the gin, tequila and rum as-is (and again, I speak as someone who’s friends drink a lot; one of my best friends drinks about 200ml of vodka BEFORE she goes out, just to get tipsy)

One thing I’d say is I always prefer to over cater; you can usually return unopened bottles and I’d sooner have too much, and have to return some, than run out.

Post # 12
Member
336 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I would try doing Kegs over bottles- just a thought! You could do a couple of different kinds of beer for Kegs. We’re bringing in a Guinness keg for ours!

Post # 13
Member
90 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I would nix all the liquor except the vodka and rum (since you know your family likes that).  Then focus on wine and beer – I see you have almost a full case of champage, is this for a toast?

I would definitely get more wine!  But then again, our crowd mainly drinks wine.  I see your wedding is this month!!  With a summer wedding, I think white wine is important and stick with lighter reds (not cabernet sauvignon unless you are serving steak!)

…incidentally, what are you serving for food?  Important for wine selection! 🙂

Post # 14
Member
155 posts
Blushing bee

mcp8011:  Not to threadjack, but this is what we found too! Our local stores often did bulk discounts that were a lot cheaper than Costco’s prices for the same or comparable products. Where there wasn’t a promotion, however, Costco still comes out front. It’s really all about how much time you have to shop around :)<br /><br />

DBS5127:  It’s good that everything is likely to be on budget, but I’d just warn against really, really, really cheap wine. In my experience, anything below $3 or 3 euros/bottle tends to lead to pretty awful morning afters. Also, a good question to ask is to see whether you can return unopened bottles or cases. If you don’t drink wine or entertain with wine that often, it might help out with the post wedding budget situation.

Post # 15
Member
38 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2015

Don’t go for all, just keep 2 or3 signature drinks for the wedding, it will save your money

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