In addition to the venue, DJ or band, and food, the drink service is often one of the most important elements at a wedding reception. While not all weddings will have an open bar, all couples planning a traditional wedding should know what will be the best option for providing drinks to their guests. Other sites may make it seem like there is a simple formula to calculate how many drinks you will need for a wedding but it’s a little more complicated than that. The overall size of your wedding, number of adults, hours of open bar, how many types of alcohol will be available, what types of beverages are offered, and more will factor in to how many drinks of each type of beverage will be consumed.
Our conditional formula accounts not only for how much alcohol to buy for each type, it also considers for how much water and soft drinks such as soda, sweet teas, and juices to purchase as well. We also allow couples to add a buffer, or modifier, to purchase more or less than our suggestion to give a little cushion in case of overconsumption by guests. For example, our Alcohol and Beverage Calculator may suggest to purchase 20 bottles of liquor. After adding a 10% buffer in case guests are extra thirsty at the reception, the calculator will increase the estimate to 22 bottles of liquor. The buffer modifier will also boost the estimates for water, soft drinks, beer, wine, hard liquor mixers, and Champagne. This allows a couple a little room for buying error. The buffer allows you to conservatively make sure that there are more than enough drinks to go around. As a bonus, you can always return the leftover unopened containers for some money back if you overbought.
Couples should check with venue management. Lots of venues will allow you to provide your own alcohol and beverages to stock an open bar. Sometimes a vendor, caterer, or bar service provider may offer an accommodating bar rental package with accessories. With that option you wouldn’t have to purchase drinks through the vendor for an open bar but they may require that you hire a bartender and charge other additional fees. Depending on the specific details of your unique wedding reception needs, it will often be a cheaper alternative than hiring a bartender to run a conventional unlimited full open bar in which the vendor provides all of the drinks.
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