(Closed) Alcohol, on consumption or beverage package?

posted 5 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
220 posts
Helper bee

We’re going with a beverage package, even though not everyone will drink the alcohol. I just feel it’s much safer – you never know how much people are going to drink, and you’re better off covered if they want to drink a lot! If you go by consumption you can pretty much assume that people will go for vodka/scotch/etc (if those options are available) over beer or wine, and it will end up costing you more. 


I went to a wedding that was run via a tab, and the tab ran out in the first hour because everyone was jumping on the more expensive drinks because they knew they could.

Post # 4
1251 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

catherinedarcy:  We went on consumption because we thought the packages at our venue were overpriced. We got to choose a better quality of wine and add on extras such as Pimms, moscato, cider etc. and still spend a bit less than had we gone one of the ‘better quality’ packages. Another friend went on consumption after speaking to me and saved $2000 than had she paid the package prices. So yes, it can work out very well!  Particularly if you have a siginificant chunk of non/small drinkers. We just had our venue update us a few times during the night as to how big the tab was getting.  We didn’t have liquor included (it generally is not at Australian weddings, just beer, wine and softies).

Post # 6
1251 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

catherinedarcy:  We had 85 guests, of those I would say we had a few non drinkers and another 10 or so small drinkers. Are you in Australia? Prices in the cities here aren’t cheap so if you are in the US then it will likely be cheaper for you. We ended up going through a bit more alcohol than I had anticipated but it was a good party so I guess people drank up! All up our group apparently drank 6 jugs pimms, 150 beers, 59 ciders, 18 bottles sparkling wine, 61 bottles red/white/moscato, 29 soft drinks and 43 barista coffees. Coffees were a killer for us at 4.50 each (they would have been on top of our drinks package anyway). Cocktail hour started at 5.30ish for us and bar closed at 11pm.  All up the bill was nearly $5k for all drinks. It would have cost at least $1000 more than that to do the package deal for comparable quality wines, plus the pimms, moscato, coffees etc. It was important to us to have really nice wines as we enjoy wine and many of our guests come from one of the top wine producing regions in the world and we had sommeliers and wine makers there as guests. We could have certainly had cheaper wines and spent less if we needed to be more budget conscious.

Post # 8
6334 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

catherinedarcy:  I would say it depends on your guests. Are they likely to consume more than $3k worth of drinks? If so, you’re better off going with the package, but my gut feeling is you may be best doing it on consumption unless you have a few very heavy drinkers.

Our friends are big drinkers but in 4 hours, realistically most would get through 4-6 drinks; unless you’re knocking them back, it’s kind of tough to drink much more quickly. So, let’s say your 43 drinking guests drink 6 drinks each at the upper end of $9: that will amount to $2322. Then let’s say your 17 non-drinking guests each have, say, 6 drinks, at a lower cost of, what, $5 a drink? That equates to another $510. So, your total is $2832 ie nearly $200 less than the package price; and I think I’ve probably bene over-generous in allowing 6 drinks pp, I would say most people will drink closer to 4.

As far as having a tab goes: this is what we’re doing. We’re providing set drinks with the meal, with the option for guests to buy additional drinks themselves if they choose (personally I think 1/2 bottle of wine and a glass of champagne, plus water, should be sufficient lol; but that’s up to them!), and then having money put ‘behind the bar’ for the evening which can be spent on wine, beer and soft drinks. We’re planning to put about £2.5k (about 4.5k AUD) behind the bar and will ask the venue to notify us when it hits certain points (eg first £1k gone; last £500) so that we can monitor it and, for eg put more money behind it if it’s running out quicker than anticipated, or, open it up to spirits and cocktails if it’s going more slowly than anticipated (eg we reach the last hour and still have £1k left; highly unlikely lol)

But yeah, based on what you’ve said I would do it on consumption; I think you’ll lose out if you go with a package unless your drinking friends drink like fishes ie a drink every 30 minutes.

Post # 9
8442 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

catherinedarcy:  We did ours as a package, but I was the only person that didn’t drink; the rest of our guests drink, and 60% were heavy drinkers (i.e. 3+ drinks an hour).  Since more than 25% of your guests don’t drink, I would think a consumption based bar might work out better for you.

Post # 10
7292 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

I would do the math on it. I assumed that everyone would get the most expensive drinks at $9. If you used the package that would come out to 5.5 drinks per person. However, you said only 43 people will be drinking so those people would need to consume 7.67 drinks per person. And that’s if they are only drinking $9 drinks. If you average out the drink price to $7, the 43 drinkers would need to consume 10 drinks to make the package worthwhile. I typically have 5-6 drinks at the most at a wedding but you know your guests best.

We used a package with a per person price, however, we knew almost everyone drank and we only needed each guest to drink about 4 drinks to make up the cost of a tab. 

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