(Closed) alcohol wedding costs; open bar & cost-effective options. thanks!

posted 5 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
Member
838 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

How many people are you having and whats your budget for booze?

ETA: really Id just do beer and wine. Having one signature cocktail is kind of confusing- makes it seem like liquor is an option when its not. You can also just use call brands (in between top shelf and well). You also dont have to go for a fullll open bar but just stock the bare basics – vodka, bourbon, gin, rum. For mixers- tonic, soda water + colas, cranberry juice.

Post # 3
Member
1178 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

Being able to supply your own alcohol is awesome, you’ll save so much money! We have the same deal at our venue and we plan to do beer, wine and a couple signature drinks so we don’t have to stock a whole complete bar.  Just beer and wine would be totally fine too.  Skipping the champagne toast is definitely an option.  Don’t call attention to it and I doubt anyone will notice or care.  Same with the top-shelf liquor. I know some people can notice the difference but i personally wouldnt.  I would do whatever it takes not to have any sort of cash-bar deal.  I am of the camp that thinks it’s rude to ask your guests to contribute toward the cost of your wedding.

Post # 4
Member
4881 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

View original reply
cb450k7:  Providing your own alcohol will help you keep costs down. We did this for our wedding of 127 guests:

1 type of red wine

1 type of white wine

The ingredients for two signature cocktails – but not pre-mixed, so they could be combined in other ways (i.e., one of the cocktails included rum, so a person could have a rum and coke if they wanted to; likewise, one of the mixers was lemonade – so you could order just lemonade if desired).

Coke/Diet Coke

Iced Tea

Water

1 keg light beer

1 keg darker/reg. beer

Everyone seem more than pleased with the choices. We had a ton left over too – some went to the after party at the hotel, the rest we kept. I would estimate we spent less than 2,000. We don’t go crazy with the liquor brands (mid-range, not top-shelf), since they were going to be used for mixed drinks.

Also, there are calculators online that will estimate how much you need, just FYI.

Post # 5
Member
6938 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

One thing that’ll help is the supplying your own booze part. Many stores (like Binny’s) allow you to return any unopened, unchilled liquor. So that way you can return what you don’t use. However I also think just serving beer and wine is totally acceptable. I advise against having an open bar for only X amount of hours. That’ll confuse your guests and probably cause people to overindulge while it’s free in order to avoid spending money later.

What is normal in your social group? Is it always open bar with any liquor you want?

Post # 6
Member
193 posts
Blushing bee

We are going to serve one glass of champagne for the toast, two glasses of wine to dinner and after that the open bar will be open for three hours, that’s plenty I think. There will also be no liquor drinks available at the open bar (unless you pay for it yourself) only wine, beer, soda and a signature mocktail for those who doesn’t drink alcohol. The open bar tab for us will cost $1900 for 50 people which I think is reasonable? I’m not sure, haven’t gotten married before. 😛

Post # 7
Member
256 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

We are doing our own bar setup to, being able to buy your own alcohol does save tons!

We have made a few booze runs to costco.

We are having about 80 guests and have the following

a red wine, a white wine (costco had a sale that if you bought 6 or more bottles they were only $4 a piece!), jack daniels, margaritas (costco gold margarita), 805 beer, corona, coke, sprite, 2 flavored teas and water.

Post # 8
Member
776 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2016 - Magnolia House

I am getting married next week and I have 100 guests, 80 of which are over 21. So we based our figures on 75 because several of us don’t drink. We were told 5 cases of beer and 7-10 bottles of wine. We are having a cocktail hour and 4 hour reception but they shut the bar down 30 minutes before its over. We are also having coke, sprite, tea, lemonade and water (Provided by the venue). 

Thankfully my venue allows us to bring our own alcohol in. saving us soo much but we do have to pay for a bartender and off duty police officer (Required by our city ordinances) So our total cost on the beer/wine has been $200 then we have $500 for the bartender and $150 for policeman. So all in all not too bad.

We have opted to skip the champagne as my coordinator said usually they announce the toast is coming up and people will get whatever drink they prefer. 

I would skip the signature drink, mostly because here you have to pay more for a liquor license if hard liquor is provided, plus i don’t want to deal with some of the people we know who can’t handle hard liquor. I thought of doing a sangria punch but its just easier this way.

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by kellijo13.
Post # 9
Member
2803 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

Signature drinks can get costly. 

We opted for a beer and wine open bar, as most guests and ourselves only drink beer and wine.our budget was $2500 for the bar, so we stuck to that and only are offering it for 4 hours. We are considering doing a tabbed bar for later in the night. Its silly to pay for the open bar for 150 guests when only like 25 are left at the end. 

We are making cocktails available for purchase.

Post # 10
Member
838 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

View original reply
kellijo13:  Hi I dont mean to poopoo your plan, but do you mean 7-10 cases of wine or bottles? 10 bottles of wine is only 40 glasses.

Post # 11
Member
776 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2016 - Magnolia House

View original reply
sparklesalways:  The paperwork I got said bottles, in fact I got that same paperwork from 2 different venues I looked at. I can take another look but thats just what I was told. One venue told me that people go way overboard on alcohol and she said they have to pack up a ton to take back home so they go off of what is typically consumed. 

 

ETA: Maybe that is based on us being light drinkers. looking at google it recommends 26-30 bottles…so maybe we need to buy some more 🙁 thanks for catching that!

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by kellijo13.
Post # 12
Member
398 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

If the venue allows you to bring your own booze, then that’s definitely the cheapest option. It’s perfeclty fine to limit it to wine and beer–no one will mind that, particularly if you’re non-drinkers, and a champagne toast is totally not necessary. If you provide free wine and beer, your guests will feel totally taken care of and you won’t look stingy or inconsiderate. Since you’re non-drinkers, maybe ask around to your closest family what their favorite beers and wines are.

Post # 13
Member
36 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: December 2016

You can also think about supplying your own alcohol if your venue will let you do this! Have a “stock the bar” party, and pay your venue for the cost of serving and a bartender! That would save your mountains! 

Our venue has a package that includes a 4 hour open bar (well alcohol) in the price, so we lucked out. Otherwise, we would have chosen the bring your own option!

Post # 14
Member
6938 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

View original reply
kellijo13:  That’s very strange. One bottle of wine has 4 glasses in it. So at the most you’ll have enough for 40 people to have ONE glass. Seems low to me. Especially since it looks like you’ll only have wine and beer at your reception anyway? Plus 5 cases of beer is only 120 beers. For 4 hours that also seems low for 80 guests. You’re not even allowing for 2 beers per guest. I’d take another look at your numbers. 

Post # 15
Member
9791 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

If you provide the booze, then it’s cheap.  Use an alcohol calculator online to see how much you would need to buy based on your guests.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with just having beer and wine and skipping liquor.  To be honest, don’t get cheap liquor.  It’s disgusting and I would rather just be offered beer and wine.  You don’t need a champagne toast, people can toast with anything.  If you want to offer liquor, then offer a full bar with the basics (vodka, rum, whiskey, gin) but get some decent alcohol.  Cheap liquor is gross.  Since it is so cheap to bring your own, I wouldn’t limit the time on the open bar.  Either do just wine and beer or go all out and get beer, wine, liquor and leave it open all night.  I would skip the signature drink, it won’t be any cheaper than just getting the basic liquors and mixers and letting your guests drink something they actually like (versus some gross signature drink that is too sweet or too something).

View original reply
sparklesalways:  sounds low to me as well.

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