Event Help: Drink and Alcohol Planning


I’m all for DIY on most things, but on some things, it pays to pay.

Take for instance bartending and your wedding.  The most affordable option by far to save you stress and money is to locate a venue that provides open bar in their event rental.

But I understand that it isn’t always in the budget to pay for the service, or even available for some dream venues.  So in that case you have a few options.

  1.  Forget about alcohol altogether.  If this won’t cause a riot, eye rolls, or guests to leave, go for it.

  2. Offer beer and wine only, serve yourself options.  Only recommend for a responsible crowd!

  3. Offer a signature drink, plus the option of beer and wine, PLUS hiring a bartender.

So here are some tips to save you money no matter what option, or series of options you choose.

  1.  If you are hiring a bartender, have the bar open for only a few hours instead of for the entire event.

  2. Keep your receipts!  You can often, but not always, return unopened bottles of wine and liquor to retailers.  Ask before you make your purchase.

  3. Give Aldi a try.  (You didn’t think I wouldn’t mention Aldi in here right?)

  4. As stated above, offer only beer and a few wine options.

  5. Also mentioned above, offer ONLY a signature drink.

  6. Know your guests, and only allocate for the beer drinkers, and wine drinkers.

  7. If you go the liquor route, only choose a few options.

  8. Research some mobile bar services.  It might be cheaper than you think by the time you compare, and think about the stress of having to DIY.

  9. Tweak your reception time of day.  An earlier reception requires less pressure to have a full selection of options, where as an evening affair almost always requires the social assumption of alcohol.

  10. No champagne toast.

  11. You do you.  The best way to save on alcohol?  Buy no alcohol.  There are their to see you, after all….

How Much?

Wine drinkers estimate 4 (5 oz) glasses ea.   A standard 750 ml wine bottle holds 25.4 oz which equals just about 5 glasses per bottle of wine.

# of wine drinkers X 4 = # of glasses of wine           # of glasses of wine ÷ 5 = # of bottles needed

Beer drinkers estimate 4 beers per person.    # of beer drinkers X 4 = # of beers

Non Alcoholic Drinks:

You’re not obligated to offer a full selection of non alcoholic drinks either.  Pick a few common options, and have plenty of water.

Remember the coffee, and the water for the coffee.  Unless you or someone you know already has a full size coffee urn, most people have single cup brewing systems and surprisingly this option is cheaper/ easier to allow guests to brew it themselves.  Keep water nearby to allow for frequent refilling or assign someone this job.

How Much?

Estimate 4 gallons per 25 guests.   So if 50 guests will drink lemonade estimate 8 gallons of lemonade or more.  I would estimate more water to be on the safe side, and obviously if you are in an outdoor, warm environment, estimate a higher quantity to keep your guests well hydrated!