It’s time to talk drinks!
Planning beverage choices and quantity can be tricky. We’re here to give you a little guidance based on the ideas we’ve seen and the research we’ve done.
First, let’s look at your options. For alcohol service, you have beer, wine and liquor, and you can do any combination of those options. Most common is either serving beer and wine only, or having a limited liquor selection added to beer and wine selections. Since you can bring your own beer and liquor for Castle Farms events, it is rare that we see a full liquor bar available, as you would have to purchase all of the options and plan for unknown consumption quantities of each.
Most often, if liquor is served, it is limited to either signature drinks (his and her drinks, family favorites for both sides, or drinks that go with your wedding theme) or a few standard options (a rum, a vodka, a whiskey). This gives guests a liquor option without putting the burden on you to plan for more than a few varieties and the mixers that go with them. With beer and wine selections, it’s common to have two or three beer choices and two or three wine choices. For beer, it’s good to have some variety – a standard or light lager, and/or a craft beer for those who like something with more flavor. With wine, you’ll want both white wine and red wine.
If you know your families/friends prefer one style over another, you can have more of that style available, but it is still good to have at least some of both available. With white wines, you can limit it to one selection or have a few options, especially if you know you have guests who like both sweet wines and dry wines. With red wines, you are safe with just one selection, but could get more if you want the variety.
Not serving alcohol, or looking for something else to add? You can get creative with more options! Create a signature drink with punch or lemonade. Set up a water station with fruit-infused waters. For a winter wedding, a hot chocolate bar is perfect.
Next, onto quantity. A standard calculation to begin with is estimating one glass per person per hour. So, you will want to make a good guess as to how many guests will drink beer, how many will drink wine, how many will drink liquor, and how many won’t drink. With beer, this number is a good starting point, and may even be low depending on your family/friends drinking habits and beer selections (light beer usually means higher consumption). For wine, it is a high estimate, coming out to more than one bottle per person depending on the reception length. You can also run a calculation of 3 or 4 glasses of wine per person, to then have a consumption range to plan with. Then, you will want to consider a few variables. Are guests staying in the area or making longer drives following the wedding? This will affect how long guests stay into the evening and in turn how many beverages they consume. Are you providing transportation or are guests driving themselves? If there is not transportation provided, you’ll have more non-drinking guests and lower consumption.
While planning for bar selections and quantity can be tough, we hope the above ideas and suggestions help! There are a lot of resources available to add to this research, too, such as online party-planning websites and serving-size calculators. Take some time for research, talk to your key family members and friends for their favorites, and you should be able to make this a relatively easy task!