August 14, 2014

Ask Ashley: All About Alcohol

As Meagan and I head to Las Vegas for a long weekend and some overdue girl time, it seemed fitting to answer some of the questions about wedding booze I have been getting lately.  You crazy kids want to know all about alcohol, and as luck would have it, I have quite a bit of knowledge to share on the subject.  Lets just say years of study are finally paying off!

What kind of alcohol should I have at my wedding?
The majority (approximately 80%) of weddings have a beer and wine bar.  Some couples like to also include some kind of specialty cocktail in lieu of a full bar, in fact, check out some of these delicious options for Fall!  But that doesn’t mean you can’t go with a full bar if you want to.  Here’s what you need to know:

A Full Bar typically includes one light beer, one dark, a red wine, a white wine, possibly champagne,, vodka, gin, whiskey, tequila, rum and basic mixers like soda, tonic, and juices.  Want to include more?  Go for it!

For wine and beer, I recommend selecting a maximum of 2 red wines, 2 white wines, 1 sparkling and 3 beers.  You can certainly do less, but I don’t suggest doing more.  People like options, but too many just cause confusion and a longer wait time at the bar.  

How much alcohol should I have for my wedding?  

Typically you’ll want to calculate one drink per hour, per person during the reception.  Obviously some people may drink more and some people may drink less, but this is a good average.  

Lets talk about serving sizes.  Wine: There are 5 servings in one bottle of wine (only 4 for those of us with a heavy hand) and one case of wine contains 12 bottle- or 60 servings.  Liquor: one 750 ml bottle of liquor (a fifth) equals 18 1.5 oz servings.  A handle contains about 40 servings.  Beer: A bottle equals one serving.  A pony keg has about 82 beers in it and a full size keg has about 165.  Remember when buying beer, you have to return kegs even with leftover beer.  Leftover bottles on the other hand will keep just fine for you to drink at your leisure.  

Depending on the type of bar you are hosting, you should follow these ratios:
– Full bar: 20% liquor, 15% beer, 65%wine
-Beer and wine only: 20% beer, 80% wine.

When you do the math, it works out like this:
100 wedding guests x 5 hours = 500 drinks
500 x 0.2 = 100 beers or 9 12-packs
500 x 0.8 = 400 glasses of wine.  Divide by 5= 80 bottles.  Divide by 12= 7 cases

Split up the cases of wine between red, white and sparkling.  It;s always good to consider the time of year.  Red wines will typically be more popular in the fall and winter months, while whites tend to be more favorable in the spring and summer.  

When in doubt, consider your guest list and their preferences/ drinking habits.  Don’t want to do the math?  Hire us to do the calculations and all the other planning for you too!

Do we have to have champagne for the toasts?
Absolutely not! In fact, a lot of champagne is wasted on toasts at weddings- which if you ask me is a travesty.  Save the Champagne!  A lot of people don’t like champagne and only take a sip or two and leave the rest to be dumped by the wait staff. All those poor bubbles go to waste!  Instead, invite your guests to refill their drink of choice before toasts begin. If you do decide to do a champagne toast, let the servers know to only fill the glasses half way (and change your calculation to 8 servings per bottle (100 guests divided by eight servings equals 13 bottles). People can always request another glass if they choose.  
Do you have questions about your upcoming wedding or event?  Leave a comment below or send me an email at!

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