(Closed) Budget Planning for Open Bar??? Tips/Advice???

posted 9 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
2695 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

I would ask your caterer for some help on this.  My brother’s wedding the caterer gave us a formal to work from based on number of guests. 

When I do parties I figure 4-5 drinks per person.  Then take your number and figure about half will drink beer the rest mixed drinks/wine.  Go ahead and count everyone the same because if you have a person that drinks 1 beer then someone else will make up their difference.

Post # 4
6572 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2010

4-5 drinks?! not to stereotype (well actually that’s exactly what i’m doing), you also might want to know your crowd. us jews don’t tend to drink much, and the majority of our guests will be jewish, so we’re not expecting a huge bill.

Post # 5
2695 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

@artbee- if you have a party for 4 hours that is one drink an hour.  And yes you do need to know if who your crowd is.  But that is why I said some people will have 1 drink and others make up the difference.   

Post # 6
4480 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: March 2010 - Calamigos Ranch

Yeah, I’d say 4-5 drinks may be a bit too much depending on your crowd. Do you have a lot of young people? Old people? Religious people? Those will all affect your numbers if one group outnumbers the others. I can’t imagine having more than 2 drinks at a wedding, especially if I have to drive home afterwards ;). Talk to your caterer for help approximating the cost!

Post # 8
1573 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

we are doing only wine and beer and a champagne toast that’s it but open bar


that’s how I managed

Post # 9
37 posts

I had a full open bar and it was a blast!  But I also realized that after the fact…..with beer and wine people would have gotten just as drunk and saved us the liquor bill haha

Post # 10
202 posts
Helper bee

We will have our guests (mostly out of town) stay at a hotel in walking distance so we are encouraging the (safe) consumption of alcohol.  With that, my 70 year old grandma can probably keep up with my 22 year old cousin so all bets are off on how much to budget.  Instead of using a restaurant, we’re hiring a bartender and buying our own liquor.  This way we can limit the variety and buy in bulk!

Post # 11
92 posts
Worker bee

I like this calculator because it lets you classify how many you have of each light/moderate/heavy drinkers.

http://www.evite.com/pages/party/drink-calculator.jsp’ defer=’defer

My family tends to have a glass of wine or two or will drink on special occasions.  My fiance’s family on the other hand can seriously put away some alcohol.  4-5 drinks per person over the course of 4+ hours seems pretty reasonable to me.  Don’t forget when it’s open bar, people may get more drinks from the bar than they actually consume.

The Knot reports the average for 100 guests as follows:

  • Beer: 5 to 6 cases
  • Whiskey: 1 liter
  • Bourbon: 1 liter
  • Gin: 2 to 3 liters
  • Scotch: 2 liters
  • Light rum: 1 liter
  • Vodka: 5 liters
  • Tequila: 1 liter
  • Champagne: 1 to 1 1/2 cases
  • Red wine: 2 cases
  • White wine: 3 1/2 cases
  • Dry vermouth: 1 bottle
  • Sweet vermouth: 1 bottle

Our reception site allows us to bring in all our own alcohol.  Right now we’re planning on spending  about $600-700 for 75-100 mostly adult guests.  Two kegs at $70 each, $400 for liquor + mixers, $150 for sparkling wine for the toast, and 1 case each of red and white wine.  This is all highly subject to change as we finalize our guest count and budget.  I feel like we may be we way overestimating, but I like to budget over and be prepared.  ABC liquor store will take back our unopened bottles.

Post # 12
3125 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

4-5 drinks at a wedding? 1 an hour is not too much – people i know tend to go buck wild at weddings!  I feel like we are doing 7+ pp.  Cocktail hour, dinner, dancing? booze, booze, booze. Woops!

Post # 13
206 posts
Helper bee

I have to agree with Melissabegins, I cant remember a wedding where I only had 3-4 drinks the whole time (sheesh what does that say about me). The wedding I was just in we easily all drank 8-9 drinks and then went out afterwards… I would think its better to overestimate.  People love to let loose and drink more than they typically would at weddings, esp if they are not the ones paying for it.

Post # 14
2695 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

I just found the drink calculator on evite.com.  I see that someone else had posted it already.  I did a test of 150 people, 50 light drinkers/50med drinkers/50 heavy and then beer and wine.  It said 300 cans of beer and 60 bottles of wine.  You can usually get 4 glasses of wine/bottle.  So if you do the math that will give each person 3.6 drinks. 

Like I said in my first post I always figure 4-5 drinks per person for all parties I host.  I end up with 1-2 cases of beer and a few bottles of wine at the end of the night. But I would rather have some left over then not enough.

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