No On-Site Booze? No Problem! How to Plan for a BYOB Venue

Lindsay Hite of Readyluck

Photo: Lindsay Hite of Readyluck

BYOB wedding venue? Yes, please. It's a perk you'll want to take advantage of so you can choose your own bottles and save money, too. But how do you predict what 150 people might drink on your wedding night? We turned to Megan McDermott, an event planner with Binny's Beverage Depot, to break down what you need to stock the bar and keep the party going.

Estimate 7.29 Drinks Per Guest

"We typically recommend about two drinks per guest for the first hour, and one drink for each hour after that," McDermott says. More specifically, McDermott advises you estimate each guest will be served 7.29 drinks during a six-hour open-bar reception (or 2.4 glasses of wine, 2.49 cocktails, and 2.4 beers, to be more precise). For 150 guests, that means you should stock the bar with six cases of wine, 22 bottles of spirits, and 15 cases of beer. Worried you'll end up with too much? You're not alone — people tend to overbuy by about 20 to 30 percent, McDermott says. Still, that's a much better problem to have than running out of white wine halfway through dinner.

Stock Up on the Crowd Pleasers

You may be a gin and tonic kind of girl, but that doesn't mean all of your guests are too. The most popular liquors are vodka, bourbon, gin, and rum, in that order, McDermott says. Go easy on the gin, she advises. It's not as popular as it once was.

...And Crowd-Pleasing Mixers, Too!

A well-stocked bar is only as good as its mixers. McDermott says to stock up on the standards (tonic water, club soda, and ginger ale), soda (Diet Coke and Sprite), juices (cranberry, orange, and grapefruit), and vermouth (sweet and dry). Consider adding ginger beer to the order — it'll come in handy if someone will be concocting Moscow Mules or Dark & Stormy cocktails behind the bar. And don't skimp on the extras: Bitters, cherries, olives, lemons, and limes are all welcome additions.

Seek Out a Customizable, Returnable Package

That way, you'll have a say in what types of alcohol and brands you purchase. For example, most couples include chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and pinot grigio in their white wine order. With a customizable order, you can make sure the chardonnay bottles outnumber the others if that's the drink of choice for most of your family. Finding a company that's return friendly will help you unload the unopened bottles post-wedding, so you can get some money back rather than be stuck drinking your wedding leftovers for years to come.

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