Whilst most wedding reception venues will come with a fully stocked bar, if you’re not planning on having a cash bar or want to keep a lid on the booze budget, stocking the bar yourself is the way to go!
We’ve taken out the guess work on how to stock the bar at your wedding. Keep reading for quantities, cocktail serving ideas and links to our picks of the best booze available to buy online at the best prices. Chin, chin!
Before we get to the booze, let’s get the formalities out of the way. Your reception venue may charge a corkage fee (basically the fee you pay for allowing them the pleasure of opening your bottles of booze for you), so don’t forget to include this in your overall budget. In order for this list to be beneficial to you remember:
- This is a conservative list – if you know your guests are heavy boozers, feel free to increase the quantities
- Our list is based on a typical reception of 80 adults
- We’ve estimated that each guest will consume two drinks per hour at a standard wedding reception lasting 4 hours
Stocking the Bar
Ale, Beer or Lager: Draught – 2 kegs
Whiskey: 1.5 litres
Gin: 3 litres
Vodka: 10 litres
Rum: 3 litres
Tequila: 1.5 litres
Champagne, Cava or Prosecco: 3 cases – 12 bottles in a case
Red wine: 3 cases
White wine: 5 cases
Tonic: 2 cases
Soda water: 2 cases
Cranberry juice: 5 litres
Orange juice: 5 litres
Triple sec: 1 litre
Fizzy water: 2 cases
Still water: 3 cases
Fizzy drinks: 4 cases
Cocktails, Shots & Mocktails
Not everyone at your reception is going to want to drink the same thing. Keep it varied to keep everyone happy; you’ll have guests who’ll love a cocktail. Creating a signature cocktail is a lot of fun and a memorable way to put a stamp on your reception. Your guests could go to the bar and ask for the bride’s drink or the groom’s brew, for instance. And don’t forget the mocktails for your tee-total or pregnant guests!
The Best Bargain Booze for Your Bar
Booze can get pricey. Especially when you’re buying tipple for 80 adults ready to let their hair down and have a good time. We’ve gone through to find the best booze at the best prices, so all you have to do is add the bottles to your cart and get ready to party!
Rubis Chocolate Wine/Liquer – the Unusual Treat
Rhubarb and Ginger Edinburgh Gin – the Sweet Summer Tipple
Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve Scotch Whisky – the Classy Booze for the Dads
Crystal Head Vodka – the Quirky Classic
Kraken Rum – the Pirate’s Liquor
Jose Cuervo Especial Reposada – the Party Starter
Veuve Clicquot Champagne – the Posh Potion
McGuigan Black Label Merlot – the Sophisticated Sipper
McGuigan Black Sauvignon Blanc – the Zingy Refresher
Wedding Bar FAQs
What’s an open bar?
An open bar is the most expensive bar you can have. It gives your guests full control over how much they drink and can leave you with a hefty price tag at the end of the night. If money is no object and you want to make sure your guests drink until they drop, an open bar is for you.
What’s a cash bar?
A cash bar is usually met with mixed receptions. A cash bar is fully stocked with all the booze your guests could wish for, with one catch: they have to reach into their pockets and pay for every drink. If you’re penny-pinching or want to keep guests who tend to get a bit rowdy when under the influence under check, this can be a tactful way to keep the peace.
Can we pay for some of the drinks?
Many couples nowadays like the idea of footing the bill for one drink and a Champagne, Cava or Prosecco toast. You’ll need to issue your guests with drinks tickets that they’ll redeem at their bar for their free drink. All other booze has to be paid for from their pocket.
Will our guests expect booze?
Your guests may very well expect a booze up, but if this isn’t the type of environment you want for your big day, then don’t feel pressured to deliver! If you’re tee-total or want to keep the drunken shenanigans to a minimum, there’s nothing wrong with having a dry reception. Of course, warning your guests beforehand is the most courteous way to keep the booze at bay. Simply add a line on your invitations to say that booze will not be served at the reception.