Things to consider when serving alcohol at your reception.

wine rack ice sculpture























Photos by Birdsong Photography

Your reception menu has been selected, and your centerpieces will be breathtaking. It’s time to focus on what your guests will be drinking!  Add a personal touch to your bar menu by choosing a signature cocktail. Pick a drink that stars your favorite liquor, matches your color scheme, or just sounds delicious. Simple Right?? With  the numerous options and variations for serving alcoholic beverages: a full open bar where you pay for your guests to drink as much as they wish; an open bar for the first hour, followed by a cash bar where guests pay for their own drinks; cash bar only; beer and wine only; nonalcoholic beverages only; or any combination thereof. Ugh, you can see how this could become very confusing!! Follow these tips and you are sure to  have a great time with plenty of beverages to cater the masses.

Signature cocktail menu

Things To Consider: If you plan to serve alcoholic beverages at a reception site that does not provide liquor, make sure your caterer has a license to serve alcohol and that your reception site allows alcoholic beverages. If you plan to order your own alcohol, do so three or four weeks before the event. If you plan to have a no-host or “cash” bar, consider notifying your guests so they know to bring cash with them. A simple line that says “No-Host Bar” on the reception card should suffice.

In selecting the type of alcohol to serve, consider the age and preference of your guests, the type of food that will be served, and the time of day your guests will be drinking.

On the average, you should allow 1 drink per person per hour at the reception. A bottle of champagne will usually serve six glasses. Never serve liquor without some type of food. Use the following chart to plan your beverage needs:

Beverages: Other Amount based on 100 guests:
Bourbon 3 Fifths
Gin 3 Fifths
Rum 2 Fifths
Scotch 4 Quarts
Vodka 5 Quarts
White Wine 2 Cases
Red Wine 1 Case
Champagne 3 Cases
Other 2 Cases each: Club Soda, Seltzer Water, Tonic Water,
Ginger Ale

If you are hosting an open bar at a hotel or restaurant, ask the catering manager how they charge for liquor: by consumption or by number of bottles opened. Get this in writing before the event and then ask for a full consumption report after the event.

Embrace today with Love, Life and Style

Sharon Holm