Post # 1
My venue allows me to bring in my own alcohol and hire a bartending service of my choice, so I am trying to figure out which route to go as far as what to supply my open bar with. When we originally were planning a destination wedding, the venue we picked only allowed wine and beer, so we had to be fine with that. When we decided to scrap that plan and have a local wedding instead, we thought we would still just do beer and wine. But I don’t drink beer and wine isn’t my favorite. I gravitate towards cocktails. So we decided to add liquor to the list. I am now trying to figure out what kinds of liquor to supply to make sure we have enough (along with mixers and garnishes) to be able to make a nice selection of cocktails of the guests choice. I was reading in some other places a few people mention that they had more liquor drinkers than they thought. I am wondering if this is true for others.
I would say most of our guests are beer drinkers, but that is also because we don’t stock a full bar of liquor at our family holiday parties or backyard BBQs, so perhaps at a wedding where the option of a cocktail is there, they may go for that. All of our cousins and their dates and our friends and their dates will all be between the ages of 21-30 and that makes up probably half of our guest list of 120. I am thinking they may be more into liquor than say my future in-laws or grandparents or all my great aunts and uncles, but that’s an assumption. I was also recently at a wedding where a lot of people were drinking mixed drinks or beer. Not many had wine in their cups. Most of their guests were under 30.
Did more people drink liquor at your wedding than you had thought? Or did your mostly beer and wine drinkers tend to stick with what they usually drink even when liquor was an option? How many different types of liquors did you have at your reception? What kind of liquor was the biggest hit with your guests that you noticed?
Post # 2
Most of our guests drank beer as we assumed they would. However, we used a liquor store that has a party/wedding department whose policy was that as long as we ordered thier recommended amounts of alcohol we could return anything unopened. They had us fill out a form with some questions and were actually pretty dead on with thier numbers so I would talk with whatever liquor store you plan on using. Our also delivered to our venue so we didn’t have to worry about picking it up ourselves.
Post # 3
Yes. We had top shelf liquor and went through a lot of it, particularly vodka and scotch. If you are concerned you can limit to beer, wine and a few featured cocktails versus a fully stocked bar.
Keep in mind that bar consumption may appear higher at a wedding even if people aren’t drinking more–drinks get set down on tables and cleared or abandoned while people are visiting or dancing and a guest may just get another.
Post # 4
While many people did drink wine and beer, I noticed coolers were more popular than I would’ve thought (I find many of them too sweet personally, but Woody’s coolers, Bacardi’s, Mike’s Hard etc were all popular choices). I also found people tended to do rounds of shots – at our wedding there were several rounds of Sicilian Kisses (my husband’s Italian, lol I don’t even know what’s in these shots). Sheridan’s & Tequila Rose were also popular shot choices. Mixed drinks tended to be fairly traditional- Long Island Iced Tea, Margaritas, Daquaris, Jack & Coke, Rum & Coke. Pina Colada’s also seemed to be popular but ours was a beach themed wedding so this may have skewed the choice. Seasonal drinks definitely.
Post # 5
I have no idea as the liquor was provided by the venue and we went with the hourly rate or whatever rather than “by consumption”…but I will say I saw a lot more tequila shots happening than I would have anticipated for a Sunday night wedding lol.
Post # 6
We haven’t gotten married yet…and our package includes an open bar, so I can’t talk from wedding experience. However, from other party experience, what we’ve done is had beer and wine stocked really well, and then had 1 or 2 different signature cocktails pre-mixed so that there was still liquor, but it wasn’t a fully stocked bar. also, as one PP suggested, you can try to find a liquor store that will allow you to return unopened bottles.
You have options, but I wouldn’t go crazy
Post # 7
During dinner, I noticed the men drank beer and the women, wine.
For the rest of the night, they took advantage of our top shelf open bar and preferred the cognacs, whiskeys and vodkas.
Post # 8
We were able to bring in outside alcohol purchased from a local store. They provided guidance on how much beer, wine, and hard liquor we needed for a reception of our size and length so we deferred to the experts.
We were not surprised by what we had leftover – hardly any liquor, some wine, and a ton of beer. When our friends hanf out, most people have mixed drinks or wine, not beer. Go with your gut on what your crowd drinks – if you have a Bud Lite group, they are probably going to drink that at your wedding, not Cabernet and Moscow Mules (or vice versa).
Post # 9
We had 135 guests- approx 110 drinking. Our bartending vendor instructed us to get 7 handles of liquor. 2- Tequila, 2- Whiskey, 1- Vodka, 2-Rum. 6 Bottles of Wine (3 Red, 3 White). 4 cases (24) of beer.
We did not run out of anything except our Import Beer (Dos Equies). But we did nearly run out of Red Wine. We were down to the last half bottle. (DH family likes their red wine…)
We Had full bottles of Rum, White Wine, and Tequila left over. Our liquor store allowed us to return these for a refund.
I will say that Darling Husband and I barely got to drink at our wedding. We were so busy visiting and greeting people, I went up to the bar once all night, and ordered another bottle of water. I had a few sips of my specialty drink (Paloma), and a glass of champagne all night.
Post # 10
I am not married yet, but I went to a wedding last year that had a bar situation similar to yours. What this couple did was offer three cocktails, two red wines, two white wines, prosecco, and three beers. The three cocktails they offered were a bourbon cocktail (very popular, and they ran out of this after about an hour and a half…it was delicious), a gin and tonic, and a vodka cocktail (don’t remember what it was?).
My point being, that I think offerring a few cocktails with all the garnishes etc., rather than trying to accommodate every single persons drink preferences worked really well for them. Also, often times, a package store might take back whatever unopened liquor you don’t use.
Post # 11
- Wedding: April 2017 - City, State
At our wedding the liquor was by consumption and provided by the venue. I didn’t see a lot of beer but I did see a lot of wine and whiskey, but that’s our crowd, especially when there’s an open bar involved.
Post # 12
We decided fairly last minute to have a super limited selection of liquor, so we didn’t buy much. We had 3 handles of vodka and 3 handles of bourbon. We had 180 guests. Aaaaand we ran out before the end of cocktail hour. It was crazy. We had a TON of beer and wine though, since that was what we were planning offering exclusively until last minute, so we didn’t run out of either of those.
Post # 13
find a place that buys back the unopened bottles.
Post # 14
Yeah, as a lush and former bartender for a venue I can tell join that open bar + happy celebration + people getting hotel rooms or having a Dear Daughter = lots of drinking, even from people you don’t think will drink because celebrating is fun. With my crowd probably vodka, bourbon, and rum in that order but tied pretty closely, with gin a distant fourth.
Post # 15
Interesting. I would nix the rum, add gin, do Scotch and bourbon for the whiskey, and add WAY more vodka. Seems like most people I know either drink vodka or Scotch.