42 responses

  1. Hillary
    January 16, 2013

    I have to say, I wish we were getting married at a venue that let us stock our own alcohol. We visited a few venues that would allow this option, but the venue we absolutely fell in love with won’t allow it. We talked about it and, at the end of the day, it was more important for us to pony up a little more $$$ to get married at a place we really love (and save that money elsewhere)!

  2. hannah
    January 16, 2013

    We had a signature cocktail along with champaign passed throughout the cocktail hour and reception.
    hannah recently posted..Married Life

  3. kalli
    January 16, 2013

    bottles chardonnay? i think i could polish that off myself…..was that enough for all of the guests?

    • Meghann
      January 16, 2013

      We had more of a beer and liquor crowd, the wine was barely touched.

      • nicole juderjahn
        October 7, 2013

        how long was your wedding?

  4. Beth
    January 16, 2013

    I wish my reception venue would let us bring our own booze. Our open bar is the biggest part of our wedding budget, I think; $30 a head, which includes 6 hours of drinking. Unfortunately we also have to pay for the open bar for any kids over the age of 10, which seems reallly strange to me. I’m glad you were able to work things out for your wedding!
    Beth recently posted..Back from Hiatus

  5. Lindsay
    January 16, 2013

    I’m pretty sure we go through more beer than that at our annual Super Bowl party! And I live in a tiny two bedroom apartment…so at most we can fit 20 people. No one ever leaves drunk, and only a few people leave tipsy. I’m wondering if any of your guests had more than one drink!

    • Kristy @ Kristy’s Health Revolution
      January 16, 2013

      That’s more than a half keg of beer — you’re telling me 20 people can drink half a keg during a football game….??
      Kristy @ Kristy’s Health Revolution recently posted..“Wild” Wednesday!

      • Lindsay
        January 16, 2013

        Yup!

      • Kristy @ Kristy’s Health Revolution
        January 16, 2013

        Well, that is truly impressive.
        Kristy @ Kristy’s Health Revolution recently posted..“Wild” Wednesday!

      • alyssa
        January 16, 2013

        We had a superbowl party for 22 people in my 2 bedroom apartment last year and killed half a keg in no time. And we had champagne, too! Don’t underestimate the liver of a 20-something!

    • Meghann
      January 16, 2013

      WE had a lot of liquor to balance out the beer consumption.

      • Lindsay
        January 16, 2013

        So…you had enough for some people to have a beer and a mixed drink?!

      • Meghann
        January 16, 2013

        There was enough for everyone to have as much as they wanted. We didn’t put a limit on the bar. We had a mix of heavy drinkers, not-so heavy drinkers, and everything in between. There was plenty of alcohol to go around (more than enough!), trust me.

  6. Kristy @ Kristy’s Health Revolution
    January 16, 2013

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is super helpful.

    Can you tell me if you had a lot of “drinkers” at your wedding? I’d say my wedding will be about half and half — some pretty heavy drinkers, some teetotalers and most in-between.
    Kristy @ Kristy’s Health Revolution recently posted..“Wild” Wednesday!

    • Meghann
      January 16, 2013

      We had a mix. Let’s just say that the majority of the folks that were still dancing when the party ended were feeling pretty good, but we also had an older crowd that didn’t drink much.

      • Kristy @ Kristy’s Health Revolution
        January 16, 2013

        Great!! That sounds about like my crowd. Seriously, this is SO helpful for me. I was thinking about doing beer and wine only, but after reading this, I feel like this is totally doable on my budget. I pinned this, I hope it gets passed around Pinterest because as much as I’ve looked, I couldn’t find anything like this. Thanks again!
        Kristy @ Kristy’s Health Revolution recently posted..“Wild” Wednesday!

      • Meghann
        January 16, 2013

        The mixers were honestly the trickiest part. We bought way too much of the fruity stuff, most folks stuck to plain coke and diet coke and whatever. 🙂

  7. NYC Fit GIrl
    January 16, 2013

    Thanks for the breakdown! I think if I ever have a wedding where I bring my own alcohol I will refer back to your post 🙂
    NYC Fit GIrl recently posted..Something Crazy

  8. N
    January 16, 2013

    Hi Meghann!

    OK, so thanks for this post. As I plan my own wedding and plan to bring in my own drinks, this is very helpful. Can you discuss how much you had left over in more detail? We are anticipating about 120 guests, and are doing about the same amount of beer, more wine, but substantially less liquor even though we have a liquor-drinking crowd. It would be helpful to know exactly how much you had left over liquor-wise (seriously, this would be AMAZING to know).

    Thanks in advance!! And welcome back from the honeymoon!

    • Meghann
      January 16, 2013

      I wasn’t there when they closed the bar down after the reception, so I’m not 100% positive what was left in detail. From what I gathered guests favored the rum and whisky for liquor (maybe 1/2 a handle left of each? maybe less?) and were lighter on the vodka and tequila (almost a full handle left?).

      • N
        January 16, 2013

        Thank you so much for your response! This is helpful to know 🙂

  9. Maureen
    January 16, 2013

    I had an afternoon wedding, so we just supplied wine on each table. Anyone who wanted the hard stuff at 1pm was going to have to pay for it themself. LOL
    Maureen recently posted..January Joiners

  10. Sloane @ Life Food and Beer
    January 16, 2013

    We had a small wedding (60 guest) and we had 22 bottles of wine and a 2 small kegs of craft beer plus a couple cases of bud light. I only had one bottle of wine left and a little beer in one of the kegs. I was so sure we had way to much!!
    Sloane @ Life Food and Beer recently posted..What day is it??

  11. Chelsea @ CardioandCocktails
    January 16, 2013

    My fiance and I definitely had the same open bar convo even before we got engaged, we have always wanted our wedding to be a big party! At our venue, we decided to go with beer and wine, with cash bar for liquor. The after party will be at one of the hotel bars and we are considering drink tickets for people then. Your guests looked like they had a great time!
    Chelsea @ CardioandCocktails recently posted..Crockpot Salsa Chicken

  12. The Many Thoughts of a Reader
    January 16, 2013

    We had almost double the amount of people at our wedding and the majority are huge drinkers. My husband’s family has their own drinking song. Family weddings get a tad out of control. Thankfully, when we got married almost 6 years ago!!!, for an open bar at our venue it was only 10 dollars a person which was a steal in my opinion based on our heavy drinking crowd.
    The Many Thoughts of a Reader recently posted..February Group Read Suggestions

  13. Nicole@TheKidlessKronicles
    January 16, 2013

    Nice job on the bar. It can really break the bank!

    The Kidless Kronicles
    Nicole@TheKidlessKronicles recently posted..Tuesday 1.15: Meltdowns

  14. Katie @ A Full Plate
    January 16, 2013

    Such a great idea. When the time comes for me to get married I definitely want to go this route! I’ve organized fundraisers before where we’ve had to buy our own alcohol and we got cases of beer and wine at Total Wine. Not sure what the price would be compared to WinnDixie, but they also let us return any unopened bottles. Of course for a wedding I can see where it’d be nice to keep some, but if you wanted to save some more money it’s nice to know you can return it!
    Katie @ A Full Plate recently posted..First Hibachi Experience and Delightful Dunedin

  15. Katie @ Peace Love and Oats
    January 16, 2013

    I definitely think an open bar is necessary for a wedding. I have a friend planning her wedding and she’s not having any alcohol… I’m trying to keep my mouth shut. Not my wedding!
    Katie @ Peace Love and Oats recently posted..WIAW–San Francisco Style

  16. Dione
    January 16, 2013

    We didn’t stock our own bar and ended up going with the venue’s bar. If you made it out with everything under $1000…you did AMAZING!! We had a day wedding and our tab was just over $2000 (for only 100 guests!). Hmm…come to think of it…maybe my family/friends are just big drinkers. 😉

  17. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed
    January 16, 2013

    I’m dreaming of a venue where we can bring in our own alcohol! I’m also dreaming of getting a ring soon 😉 Must remember this post for the future!
    Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed recently posted..My Whole21–Days 1 through 6

  18. Morgan
    January 16, 2013

    Thank you so much for posting this list! My fiance and I are in the (very) early stages of planning and this list is super helpful. Now that we have the most important reception item figured out (lol!) it’s on to the menu! Oh yeah, the food… so daunting!
    Morgan recently posted..Windproofing 101 or The Indestructible Craft Fair Display

  19. LMM
    January 16, 2013

    In Oz, most weddings/events I go to do half and half – they put on beer, wine, sparkling wine and soft drink, but any spirits (what we call liquor) is usually paid for by the person who wants it. Aussies are big beer and wine drinkers, most will only hit the spirits towards the end of the night after they have had their fill of beer/wine.
    LMM recently posted..Nineteen days away

  20. Danielle @ itsaharleyyylife
    January 16, 2013

    thanks for this post! at my venue I have to bring my own alcohol and I had no idea how much it would cost! This gives me a great idea!

  21. cindy
    January 16, 2013

    I think this would help other couples stocking an open bar:
    How many hours was your reception?
    Total guests and percentage of drinkers (e.g, any kids/minors in attendance?)
    Did the caterer supply any non alcoholic drinks?
    How many bartenders did you hire? (That line looks long)

    For any other brides looking to stock an open bar: Buy alcohol at a place that allows returns for unopened wine. Keep an eye out for BevMo!’s twice a year buy one/get one for 1 cent sale.

  22. Angela
    January 16, 2013

    We stocked our own bar, it saves so much money! We also just had beer and wine which made it pretty easy too. 🙂
    Angela recently posted..Random Thoughts

  23. Army Amy*
    January 17, 2013

    I think stocking your own bar (if your venue allows it) is a great option. It can be cheaper and you can tailor it to your guests.

    I don’t think weddings need to have alcohol to be fun, though! I think it depends on the crowd. If you are party people and your friends are too, it makes sense to offer drinks. But it can be so, so expensive, so I don’t expect alcohol to be served when I attend a wedding.*
    Army Amy* recently posted..The Girl Who Gets Shizz Done

  24. Samantha
    January 17, 2013

    This is a GREAT idea and such a money saver!! Definitely going to look into this option for my own wedding someday. Thanks for including posts like this, and not being shy about mentioning pricing – so helpful!
    Samantha recently posted..NYCRuns Hot Chocolate 10K Race Recap

  25. Katie
    January 17, 2013

    It definitely is nice that when you stock your own bar you get the leftovers if there are any! Definitely a plus.

    Our venue supplied the bar for us and they said they’d allow us to bring in our own special items if we had them (like, if we wanted to serve a certain type of wine that they didn’t have there), but we just went with what they had. To keep the price down on the open bar, we had them display the “lower shelf” (which really wasn’t bottom shelf) liquor behind the bar instead of the high price bottles. If someone ASKED for something pricier (like, say…Crown Royal or Grey Goose, etc.) they were served that, but we put the lower priced options in everyone’s faces in the hopes that they would go for them instead. Most people did I think!

    Also another way to cut back on the open bar price is to not do a champagne toast. I know a few friends who paid for everyone to get a glass of champagne to toast with, and I’ve witnessed SO many glasses go untouched because not everyone wanted it! A shame!!!
    Katie recently posted..Snowcat shift: dressed down

  26. Sam
    March 14, 2014

    This post is a godsend!!!!! Planning a wedding for next august and we’re stocking our own open bar. I’m happy the cost isn’t as much as I had calculated out! We have 120 people and I calculated 1 drink for every person (including children (no children aren’t drinking! I just mean it gave some wiggle room in the budget)) and I nearly died of a heart attack. Your number is much more reasonable. Another bonus is that most liquor store near where I live allow you to return unopened bottles. So that’s a plus 🙂

  27. Lindsay
    September 4, 2014

    I just wanted to add my 2 cents, because when I was stocking my bar for our wedding, it was hard to find any good info on how much to get… We had around 45 people from 3-7 pm and another 30 people showed up for the rest of the night — 7-1 am. We bought waaaay too much booze and ended up returning about $550 to the LCBO. Here’s what we used and had left over (open bottles);

    Bacardi White – 1750 mL – 2/3 remaining
    Capt Morgan Spiced – 1750 mL – 3/4 remaining
    Appleton’s – 1750 mL – 1/2 remaining
    Wiser’s – 1750 mL – GONE
    Smirnoff – 1750 mL – GONE
    Sauza (Tequila) – 1140 mL – 3/4 remaining
    Bombay – 1750 and 1140 mL – GONE
    Crown Royale – 1140 mL – 1/2 remaining
    Assorted liqueurs were opened by barely touched! (Jager/Disaronna/Blk Sambuca/Southern Comfort)

    I also had 16 cases of assorted beer (Coors/Corona/Keith’s/rickard’s White/Bud Lime, etc) and we have about 8 cases left.

    I also had 120 bottle of wine and was giving them out by the handful by the end of the night (probably only used 20 bottles for drinks).

    The pop (mix) was waaay too much as well! We had about 16 cases assorted and still have about 12 that we didn’t use! Biggest sellers were Tonic, Pepsi/Coke and ginger ale. I had bought 6 bottle of Clamato and only opened one.

    Hopefully this helps someone while stocking their bar! Email me for more info

  28. Lindsay
    September 4, 2014

    I just wanted to add my 2 cents, because when I was stocking my bar for our wedding, it was hard to find any good info on how much to get… We had around 45 people from 3-7 pm and another 30 people showed up for the rest of the night — 7-1 am. We bought waaaay too much booze and ended up returning about $550 to the LCBO. Here’s what we used and had left over (open bottles);

    Bacardi White – 1750 mL – 2/3 remaining
    Capt Morgan Spiced – 1750 mL – 3/4 remaining
    Appleton’s -2 X 1750 mL – 1/2 remaining and 1 GONE
    Wiser’s – 1750 mL – GONE
    Smirnoff – 1750 mL – GONE
    Sauza (Tequila) – 1140 mL – 3/4 remaining
    Bombay – 1750 and 1140 mL – GONE
    Crown Royal – 1140 mL – 1/2 remaining
    Assorted liqueurs were opened by barely touched! (Jager/Disaronna/Blk Sambuca/Southern Comfort)

    I also had 16 cases of assorted beer (Coors/Corona/Keith’s/rickard’s White/Bud Lime, etc) and we have about 8 cases left.

    I also had 120 bottle of wine and was giving them out by the handful by the end of the night (probably only used 20 bottles for drinks).

    The pop (mix) was waaay too much as well! We had about 16 cases assorted and still have about 12 that we didn’t use! Biggest sellers were Tonic, Pepsi/Coke and ginger ale. I had bought 6 bottle of Clamato and only opened one.

    Hopefully this helps someone while stocking their bar! Email me for more info

Back to top
mobile desktop