Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Buying Booze for Your Wedding (+ Free Planning Spreadsheet!)

One of the best features of The Atrium is they have no liquor license, which means we are responsible for getting/bringing our own alcohol. 

This opens the door for GINORMOUS savings, as we can buy exactly what we want to serve for the amount of people we know will be drinking and the best part – we can return any unopened bottles after the wedding!

But that of course opens another door to a room filled with questions like:
  • How many drinks can I get out of one bottle of liquor?
  • Should we get kegs or bottles of beer?
  • How many glasses of wine are there in a bottle?
  • Will people really drink tequila straight?
  • Does anyone drink gin? 
  • How many drinks do we need to plan on for each of-age guest? 
The list goes on and on and on.

Thankfully, I’m not the first bride with this conundrum and I got a lot of great answers from A Practical Wedding.

Of course, this spreadsheet-loving girl couldn’t pass up this golden opportunity for a tracking and budgeting spreadsheet, so I made one and of course I’m sharing!  See below for some screenshots of my spreadsheet in action, or if you’d rather just go your own way with it, here’s the download link.      

We’re planning on a “worst case scenario” guest list of 250 - 220 adults over 21, and 30 youngins.  So we based all of our numbers on 220 drinking guests.

A Practical Wedding suggested planning for one drink per person per hour of the reception, and two drinks in the first hour.   So… 6-hour reception means 7 drinks per person or 1,540 drinks total.

Once you get over the panic of having to buy that many drinks, you need to figure what percentage of that will be wine, beer, and liquor.  A Practical Wedding suggested a ratio of 20% liquor, 15% beer, and 65% wine. 

Now, we know the majority of guests will not be drinking wine, so we adjusted those percentages to 30% liquor, 40% beer, and 30% wine.

To determine how many total drinks you’ll need for each of those categories, multiply the total number of drinks needed – in our case, 1,540 – by each percentage.  So we ended up with 616 beers, 462 shots or mixed drinks, and 462 glasses of wine. 

Doeblerghini Bunch:  Buying Booze for Your Wedding Drink Calculator
Now, knowing how many drinks you need doesn’t exactly help if you don’t know how many drinks are in a bottle.  I searched all over the place for this information and kept getting varying results – I guess it really all depends on how generous your bartender is! 

But here are the numbers we used to calculate:

1 750mL bottle of liquor with a 1.5oz pour will give us 16 servings per bottle
1 750mL bottle of wine with a standard 5oz pour will give us 5 servings per bottle
1 24-bottle case of beer will give us 24 servings (that was easy)

We decided on bottles of beer for many reasons, but the primary one is that we can save bottles and drink them later, but a half-empty keg, not so much. 

But if you are going with kegs, you can plan on 165 12-oz servings or 124 16oz servings.  For those of you far-removed from your frat party days, Solo cups are 16oz.

Now we just need to figure out what we’re serving! 

The beer variety was the easiest for us to figure out.  Dude’s favorite beer is New Castle, mine is Blue Moon.  So those were definitely on the list.  The majority of his family and mine will drink Miller Lite, and it’s not really a PA party with Yuengling.  We’re planning on buying 8 cases of Yuenging and Miller Lite since they are more or less universally appealing and 5 cases of the New Castle and Blue Moon.  If you’re following along with your calculator, you’ll know that gives us 192 servings of Miller Lite and Yuengling and 120 servings of New Castle and Blue Moon, for a total of 624 servings.

Doeblerghini Bunch:  Buying Booze for Your Wedding Beer List

Wine was also pretty simple since MOH Hoboken are gifting us some of their homemade wine as our wedding gift.  They offered to make 30 bottles of both a Merlot and White Zinfandel!  How lucky we are!!  So that covered 300 servings of wine right there.  To make up the difference, we decided we’d buy a case (12 bottles) each of Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Riesling.  Again, for you calculator junkies – that’s 60 servings per case for a total of 480 servings.

Doeblerghini Bunch:  Buying Booze for Your Wedding Wine List

Liquor was definitely the trickiest because you never know who is going to drink what.  We can guess, but all of that may go out the window on wedding day.  In the end, we decided to go for a variety of the following liquor:
  • Plain vodka – Smirnoff – 5 bottles
  • 1 flavored vodka variety – Smirnoff Vanilla – 3 bottles
  • Scotch/whiskey blend – Crown Royal – 4 bottles
  • Spiced rum – Krakken – 4 bottles
  • Coconut rum – Malibu – 3 bottles
  • Dry gin – Bombay – 2 bottles
  • Whiskey  - Jack Daniels – 5 bottles
  • Pre-mixed margaritas – Jose Cuervo Gold (for my Mom) – 4 bottles
  • Southern Comfort  - 2 bottles (come on, who doesn’t love a Soco and lime!)
Add all those up and we have 512 mixed drinks/shots.  I decided to skip tequila because I couldn’t think of a drink other than a margarita that it would be mixed in to. 

Doeblerghini Bunch:  Buying Booze for Your Wedding Liquor List
So once everything’s tallied, we’ll have a total of 1,616 drinks.  A bit over what we estimated, but it’s better to have too much than not enough, right? 

Here’s the download link again for my calculating and budgeting spreadsheet.  Just plug in your numbers in the orange fields and you’ll be good to go! 

Anyone else out there buying liquor for their wedding?  How are you calculating?  Are you providing a full bar?

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