The wedding reception is a time to celebrate the union of two people who love each other very much, and what better way to celebrate than with a few (or more than a few) drinks? But when it comes to stocking the bar, it can be difficult to figure out exactly how much liquor, beer or bottles of bubbly you’ll need for the reception. You don’t want to end up with way too much, while running out would also be a disaster and leave your guests less-than-satisfied. Here are a few options for getting it just right:

How to plan the bar for your receptionEstimate
The average consumption of alcohol at a wedding is about one drink per hour. So if you have 100 guests attending your wedding, this is the amount of alcohol and cocktail napkins you’ll need on average:

  • Vodka: 5 liters
  • Beer: 5 to 6 cases
  • Champagne: 1 to 1.5 cases
  • Red wine: 2 cases
  • White wine: 3.5 cases
  • Whisky: 1 liter
  • Bourbon: 1 liter
  • Scotch: 2 liters
  • Light rum: 1 liter
  • Cocktail napkins: 300 (3 per guest)

Don’t forget to stock up on mixers as well, like fruit juice, soda and water so guests can order whatever drink they can think up. If you have any unopened bottles after the reception, you can ask the liquor store if they’ll take them back. Oftentimes, they’ll agree in order to make a big sale. Remember to check out some custom cocktail napkins for a fun addition to your reception.

Open bar
Who doesn’t love an open bar? This is the most traditional option for wedding receptions and is also the most gracious approach. With this type of bar, guests don’t pay anything at the wedding, but it’s also the most expensive for the bride and groom. Guests can essentially order any drink they would like – and there’s no limit.

Limited bar
If an open bar is a bit too pricey for your budget, a limited bar may be the better option for your big day. You can offer your guests a selection of beverages, like beer, wine and mixed vodka drinks. You can even set up certain times for guests to get drinks, like before the reception and an hour after dinner.

Cash bar
At a cash bar, your guests will have to pay for the drinks they buy. However, it’s recommended that you stay away from this option. Think of it as inviting your friends and family over for dinner, then charging them for any drinks they have at your house.

What type of bar will you be having at your wedding? Share your thoughts with us!

Photo credit: Bash Please