• Giselle Smith

Stock the Bar: Your Tell All Guide to Buying Booze & Renting Glassware for Your Wedding

We have the perfect plan for selecting rentals and glassware for a beautiful bar plus an alcohol-ordering equation to blow your mind and simplify your life. Unlike most of my other posts in this wedding planning series, the ninth post does not have a ton of pictures. Getting people drunk at your wedding doesn't have to be complicated.

Yes Way Rosé all day. Lovely, eye-catching photo by my dear friend Hannah Haston.


Who doesn't love an open bar? While booze is not required for a good time, many couples are excited to offer their guests a selection of their very own favorite beverages. The first thing to consider is the actual bar where the alcohol will be served. Does your venue have a built-

in bar and is it large enough to sustain your crowd? Is there an on site ice machine? We recommend one bar/bartender for every 100 guests who are drinking. If your venue doesn't have a bar or doesn't have a large enough bar, you're in luck! Rental companies have unlimited options. My favorite rental company for beautiful bar options in Kentucky happens to be Canvas Event Rentals and All Occasions.


Next, what will you serve and how much? Many couples choose to stick with beer and wine, but adding signature drinks or a full bar are options as well. To determine the number of beverages needed start with the total guest count and subtract children then divide by 2 as half of your guests will likely be driving. Multiply this number by 5 drinks for the average four hour reception. This is so basic and it is typically right on the money, but I know you're going to buy extra. Whatever you buy extra, be sure it is something you love to drink at home. Overstocking on liquors and wine aren't really a bad thing although beer does expire.


How much alcohol are we talking here? Wine is 5 servings per bottle, so a case is 60 servings and many brides have 1-2 cases of each red and white wine. Liquors should be poured in one ounce servings with mixers such as juice or soda; standard bottles are 750ml or 25 ounces i.e. 25 servings. Kegs or bottles is always a hot debate: Both average $1 per serving, but we prefer bottles because they are much easier to serve and you won't have to worry about returning kegs or renting taps. To keep your beer cold, you can rent large ice chests if necessary.


Here is the life changing equation:

(TOTAL GUEST - CHILDREN) / 2 x 5 Drinks =

# of Servings Needed


Example: (200 Guests - 20 Children) / 2 x 5 = 450 Servings


This could look something like a 6 750ml bottles of liquor (150 servings), 20 bottles of wine (100 servings) and eight cases / 24-packs of beer (192 servings) equaling 442 servings. Paranoia gets the best of me and my bunch drinks more than the average party goers, so I would up that somewhat and do 8 bottles of liquor, 24 bottles of wine and 10 cases of beer for a total of 560 servings.


Side note: Bottled beer photographs better than cans or keg beer in plastic cups and is less clean up than keg beer in glasses. Plus you don't have to worry about tapping a keg.


Glassware is the final step. Most rental companies offer a serious selection of cocktail glasses ranging from high balls to martini glasses plus pilsners for beer and wine and champagne glasses. While keg beer is fine in clear plastic glasses, wine and champagne require real glasses. Unlike most cocktail glasses, wine drinkers are typically fine keeping their glass throughout the evening. For other glasses, expect to rent one glass per serving as cocktail drinkers typically do not return glasses to the bar. If utilizing glassware, extra staff maybe required for bussing tables and rinsing glasses to return to the rental company.


Thanks so much for tuning in for the ninth post in our wedding planning series! If you need some inspiration, check out our Instagram at @_giselle_smith. Be sure to subscribe to the blog to receive monthly email updates. Stay tuned next Tuesday, April 9 for our final post in this series covering how to make the most of your wedding day!


Maybe I'll see you later at the bar! Happy Planning! XOXO


© 2019 by Giselle Smith / Lovely Leaves

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