All You Need to Know about Your Wedding Day Bar

Start with a spoon full of colourful creations of exotic, personalised signature cocktails; add a dash of pink champagne; throw in an ounce of fresh lemonade and finish off with a splash modern mixology. And what do you get? A reflection of couples throwing caution to the wind and being adventurous in finding ways to express their joy and creativity through drinks served at their wedding. The bar is a spot where most of the guests will probably spend a significant amount of time, which is precisely why it’s a great place to add a burst of colour and originality.  Why not serve some unique bar snacks like vodka-soaked watermelon balls in antique ice cream glasses or Grand Marnier-infused apricots, or why not try gin & tonic iced lollies and ice cubes with a berry or frozen fruits or flowers inside.  Consider printing your signature cocktail recipe right on your coasters or beverage napkins, or have the menu sandblasted onto Perspex for a more contemporary look.

These may sound like some fun and inspired ideas, but for many couples, when you should be relishing in that post-wedding glow, the bar bill can sometimes become quite an expensive headache after the wedding. So since this may be one of the first parties you are throwing for 100 of your closest friends and family, here are some insightful tips from Wedding Concepts’ Kate Rawbone on how to control your wedding bar spend.

Tips on subtly controlling your wedding bar spend:

  • If you have the option, work with a reputable bar company. Not only is their stock priced similar to that of a local sports club, but they charge on-consumption prices for spirits – so you only pay for what you drink – not the whole bottle. They also have strict opening and closing stock policies – don’t be shy to ask them about this
  • For pre-dinner drinks, limit the choice of drinks to wine and beers, a signature cocktail or punch, and soft drinks. Save the spirits for later!
  • Keep the cocktails simple – the more ingredients, the higher the cost per drink
  • A delicious punch works well as a replacement for cocktails, but again, you don’t need 5 spirits as part of the core ingredients – keep it simple
  • Know that it’s OK to request that guests pay for their own spirits. You are not funding binge-drinking habits – this is a classy occasion and not a frat party
  • If you have an open bar – limit the wine selection to maximum 1 or 2 options per varietal, you don’t need 6 different types of white wine

So how many drinks do you need to stock a bar for a wedding with dinner and dancing?

First things first, know your different serving sizes:

  • 1 bottle of wine = 4 servings
  • 1 case of wine = 6 bottles
  • 1 case of beer = 24 bottles
  • 1 x 750ml bottle of liquor = 17 single shot servings
  • 1 full sized keg = 160 – 165 beers

By working with 100 adult guests, knowing that some people drink beer, others prefer wine and some will stick to sparkling wine all night – the general rule is 1 drink per adult per hour. This is calculated with the understanding that some people will drink more and others will drink less. The bar ratio should be 1/3 beer, 1/3 wine, 1/3 liquor, with about 1 bottle of sparkling wine per 7 guests for toasting.  With these equations – you should have some leftovers, but then at least you do not run the risk of running a dry bar for the better half of your reception! Happy Planning!