Open Bar to Champagne Toast: How to Decide on Adult Beverages

Adult Beverages* at wedding receptions can vary from the simple wine and beer selections to a full open bar to a champagne toast after the cake cutting to a signature drink or a coffee station.

Here are guidelines to help you decide what adult beverages to serve at your wedding reception.

Buy the Right Amount

Punch: 1-gallon serves 24 guests-32-3 ounce drinks with ice.

Coffee: 1-pound serves 60 to 80 five ounce cups.

Champagne: 1 case (12 fifths) serves 50 people (82 drinks).

Liquor: 60 guests at an evening reception will average 180-240 cocktails. Buy 15 fifths of liquor. 80 guests will consume 240-320 cocktails. Buy 20 fifths. Always check with supplier to see if unopened bottles can be returned.

Beer: Domestic brand beer: 1/2 barrel keg contains 15.5 gallons; 1/4 barrel contains 7.75 gallons. Use 10-ounkegce cups-200 cups of beer for the 1/2 barrel and 100 cups for the 1/4 barrel. Imported beer kegs are sized differently so keep in mind that domestic taps may not fit the imported kegs. Season (summer requires more) and tastes of guests also determine quantities.

Open Bar: The average guest consumes 4-5 drinks an evening, or approximately one every hour. Most guests will consume more drinks in the evening and in summer months.

Wine: When stocking the bar, keep in mind that 1/2 of your guests may prefer wine to hard liquor. If dinner is being served, plan on 1/2 bottle of wine per guest and half glasses of champagne for the toast.

White Bar: Serve only vodka, gin, rum, champagne and wine.

*It is always best to have alcoholic beverages served by professionals who mix drinks properly and recognize when a guest has had too much to drink. Understand your legal liability if you have not hired a professional bar tender and allow guests to pour their own drinks.

Linda Leier Thomason is a former CEO who writes freelance business and travel stories, along with feature articles. Her work experiences include a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Find out more about Linda by clicking the “Meet Linda” tab above. Interested in working together? Complete this form below.

©Copyright October 2015 Linda Leier Thomason

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