How to Calculate Alcohol for Your Wedding in Atlantic Canada

How to Estimate Alcohol for Your Wedding in Atlantic Canada

Wedding season in Canada is almost here! According to CBC Life, 67% of weddings in Canada take place between June and September, which means you’ve got some time to plan the perfect party, including the drinks.

One of the trickier parts of wedding planning is getting your alcohol estimate right because the amount of money you spend will depend on the amount of drinks you serve.

But hey, no need to stress! The Clever Barkeep team is here to make sure you’ve got just the right amount of drinks, so everyone’s happy and you’re not left with a bar tab that’s through the roof. 

Different Wedding Bar Options to Choose From

There are different ways to go about your wedding drink bar, and it all depends on the type of guests you’re having.

Of course, you can always have a dry wedding (no alcohol) or a cash bar and have your guests pay for their own drinks, but if you’re planning on providing the alcohol for your guests, these are some ideas:

  1. Open bar: The ultimate most popular option. Guests can order whatever they fancy, and you cover the cost. It’s a surefire way to keep the party lively and everyone happy.
  2. Limited bar: You offer a select amount of drinks or serve alcohol only during certain times, like a cocktail hour or toast. It’s a great middle ground between an open bar and a cash bar.
  3. DIY bar: You set up a bar where guests can mix their own drinks. It’s fun and interactive, but check if your venue has any corkage fees.

No matter what you choose, you’ll want to get your drink numbers right. Running out of drinks is a party pooper, and overbuying can hurt your wallet. “Buy more and return what you didn’t open” is fair advice, but not every store has that option. Remember, the goal is to enjoy your big day, not stress over a booze run!

Review on getting a caterer to take car of alcohol for wedding

We found this honest comment on a forum.

If all this sounds a bit overwhelming, The Clever Barkeep is here to save the day! We’re pros at managing wedding bars, ensuring you get the best value for your money without wasting a drop. Plus, we clean up afterwards, so you can just focus on dancing the night away. Want to know more? Check out our blog on 9 Reasons Why You Must Hire A Private Bartender.

Here’s How To Estimate Alcohol for Your Wedding

Alright, let’s tackle the big question: How much alcohol do you need for your wedding? On average, Canadian couples set aside about 20% of their wedding budget for drinks and bar service. Let’s break it down so it’s super easy to follow:

  • Estimate Your Guest Count and Preferences

First up, how many guests are you inviting, and what’s their drink style? It’s key to figure out who’s likely to enjoy a glass or two and who might prefer something non-alcoholic.

Think about your crowd: Got a bunch of wine lovers? Beer enthusiasts? Or maybe a mix of folks who love shaking things up with cocktails? Remember, we’re only counting the adults here – kids and anyone who prefers not to drink are in a different category.

Guests usually fall into three categories: light drinkers (maybe just a sip during the toast), moderate drinkers (enjoying a steady flow but nothing over the top), and heavy drinkers (those who are there to party hard).

For this example, let’s say you’ll have a 5-hour beautiful wedding of 100 guests and they’re all moderate drinkers.

  • Consider Different Types of Alcohol

Picking the right drinks for your wedding sets the mood and keeps everyone happy. Here’s how to nail your wedding bar lineup:

Studies suggest most folks at weddings go for beer and wine, with about 70-80% of guests leaning that way. The rest might opt for spirits or something a bit fancier.

Here are some tips:

  • Include a mix of beer, wine, spirits, and non-alcoholic beverages to cater to all tastes.
  • Incorporate popular local choices, like local craft beers or regional wines, to give your wedding a local flavor.
  • Consider creating one or two signature cocktails that reflect the couple’s tastes or wedding theme.
  • Ensure there are ample interesting non-alcoholic options for designated drivers and non-drinkers.

Need a hand picking out the perfect mix? That’s what we’re here for at The Clever Barkeep. We’ll work with you to pick out the perfect drinks, from beers and wines to standout signature cocktails.

  • Calculate Alcohol Quantities

Now, let’s talk about quantities. We’ve got some guidelines to help you figure out how much of each drink you’ll need, considering your guest count and the length of your reception.

When calculating the amount of alcohol you’ll need for your wedding, consider the following:

  • People tend to drink more at the start of a party. A good rule of thumb is to count on 2 drinks per person in the first hour and 1 drink per person for each following hour.
  • Break down your event: How many drinks will you need for the cocktail hour, dinner, and the dance party afterward?
  • Don’t forget the toast! A glass of champagne for each guest is a must for that special moment.

Imagine you’ve got a 5-hour party with 100 guests who are mostly moderate drinkers. Here’s a simple way to break it down:

  • 2 drinks per person in the first hour = 200 drinks
  • 1 glass of wine during dinner = 100 drinks
  • 1 drink per person for the next 3 hours = 300 drinks
  • Plus a glass of champagne for the toast = 100 drinks
  • That brings you to a total of 700 drinks for the whole celebration.

If the priciest drink on your menu is $6, then you’re looking at 700 drinks x $6 = $4,200. That’s your ballpark figure for a crowd of 100.

Considering the average wedding cost in Halifax is $30,000 and that couples spend around 20% of their budget on alcohol ($6,000), this is a pretty accurate way to estimate alcohol for your wedding.

Add a little buffer (about 10-15% more) to your drink count to avoid running dry, especially if you know your crowd loves to party.

Not a fan of math? No problem– our professional estimation services have got you covered. The Clever Barkeep is here to help. We’ll do the math and make sure you’ve got the perfect amount of drinks, so you can focus on the fun stuff, like, you know, getting married!

How to Budget for Alcohol

Budgeting for your wedding alcohol doesn’t have to be a headache. Let’s break it down so you can get the best value without cutting corners on the fun or flavor.

A good mix for a varied crowd is 40% wine, 30% cocktails, and 30% beer. From our 700-drink example for 100 guests: Plan for 100 champagne toasts, 240 wines, 180 beers, and 180 cocktails.

Keep in mind that:

  • Beer lovers are picky! Offer a mix of domestic and imported to satisfy different tastes.
  • Buy more white or rosé in the summer, and more red in the winter. Adjust your wine choices based on the season of your wedding.
  • Cocktails can be a hit, especially if they’re well-crafted and unique to your celebration.

Now, let’s determine how many bottles of each you may need:

  • 1.5 oz is the standard shot size.
  • A standard 750 ml wine bottle typically holds around 4 glasses of wine, and each case of wine contains 12 bottles.
  • Champagne = 6 servings x 750 ml bottle.
  • Liquor = 19 servings x 1 lt bottle
  • Beer = 1 serving x 1 can
  • Cola, tonic, and sodas = 12 servings x 2 lt bottle
  • Water bottles = 1 serving x 1 bottle
  • Juices = 6 servings x 1 lt bottle

So, How Much Alcohol Do I Need for a 5-Hour and 100 Guests Wedding?

Let’s go back to our example of having a wedding with 100 guests. We already stated you’ll need around 700 drinks; 100 will be champagne, 240 wine, 180 beer, and 180 cocktails. Now, how many bottles of each should you buy? Here’s an estimate:

  • Champagne (750 ml) – 17 bottles
  • Red Wine (750 ml) – 30 bottles
  • White wine (750 ml) – 30 bottles
  • Liquor (1 liter) – 10 bottles
  • Beer – 180 cans or bottles

Note: Don’t forget to buy juices, sodas, water bottles, mixers, garnishes, and everything you’ll need to make beautiful and delish cocktails and mocktails for your non-drinking friends.

Tips on How to Keep Wedding Alcohol Costs Under Control

  1. Compare prices and consider buying in bulk. Some suppliers offer discounts for large purchases.
  2. Check return policies for unopened bottles. This can save you money if you overestimate your needs.
  3. Consider a shorter cocktail hour or reception. Less time means less drinking and, therefore, less alcohol needed.
  4. Stick to 1-2 signature cocktails, wine, and beer. This not only makes your event classy but also simplifies your alcohol needs.
  5. If you’re on a tight budget, you can forego hard liquor. Offering just wine and beer can still provide plenty of variety and enjoyment for your guests.
  6. An afternoon wedding typically leads to lighter drinking compared to an evening event. Plus, a brunch wedding can be chic and save you 15% in drinks.
  7. Guests tend to drink less in colder months. Plus, off-peak season weddings can come with other cost savings, too.
  8. Align your alcohol choices with your wedding style. A casual outdoor wedding might lean more towards beer, while a formal evening affair might call for fine wines and sophisticated cocktails.
  9. Cocktails with premium spirits like whiskey, vodka, and gin can add up quickly. Opting for simpler, yet delicious alternatives can help keep costs down.

How The Clever Barkeep Can Help

Why stress over your wedding’s alcohol details when you’ve got The Clever Barkeep on your side? We’re located in Dartmouth, NS, but we serve the entire Atlantic Canada. (or any part of Canada if needed).

We’ll perfect your drink menu and ensure compliance with local laws. We’ll also make sure your celebration is memorable, stress-free, and perfectly catered to your tastes and preferences!

Here’s how we can elevate your wedding bar service:

  1. Personalized consultation: Our team offers one-on-one consultations to understand your vision, preferences, and guest demographics. We’ll help you craft an alcohol plan that aligns with your wedding theme, guest count, and budget.
  2. Expert estimation: Say goodbye to the guesswork. With our expertise, we provide accurate alcohol estimations, ensuring you have just the right amount for your celebration.
  3. Curated drink selection: Whether you’re looking for local craft beers, wines, signature cocktails, or a diverse range of non-alcoholic options, we’ve got you covered. Our team stays updated on the latest trends and local favorites to recommend a selection that will delight your guests and complement your menu.
  4. Licensing and compliance: Navigating alcohol regulations can be tricky, but we’re here to help. The Clever Barkeep ensures that your wedding complies with local laws, handling any necessary permits or licenses, so you can focus on enjoying your big day.
  5. Seamless coordination with venues and caterers: We work closely with your venue and caterers to ensure seamless alcohol service. From setup to breakdown, our team coordinates every detail, ensuring that your bar service integrates flawlessly with the rest of your event.
  6. Professional bartending services: Our skilled bartenders are mixologists, entertainers and professionals trained to enhance your guests’ experience. Expect impeccable service, delightful drinks, and friendly interactions, all tailored to your wedding’s unique vibe.
  7. Budget optimization: We understand the importance of staying within budget without compromising quality. Our team provides transparent pricing and cost-effective solutions, helping you make the most of your wedding alcohol budget.
  8. Post-event services: After the last dance, you won’t have to worry about the cleanup. The Clever Barkeep offers post-event services, ensuring that the bar area is tidied up and that any unused alcohol is handled according to your preferences.

Ready to get started? Book an event date now, and let’s make your wedding a celebration to remember!


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