a lot of folks say there are three key things that make a great wedding: the music, the food, and the drinks. with the music already covered and the food chosen as well (more on that later), the beverage situation also had to be discussed with the reception venue. now, i’m not saying that in order to have a great reception that alcoholic beverages are a must, but the general culture of our family and friends is that we like our drinks and we like to keep ’em comin’! so the question on this one wasn’t “are we going to have drinks?” – it really was “what kind of drinks and how many shall we have?”
after deciding adult beverages were a must-have for the reception, for us it really came down to what we could afford. now, i think we’re luckier than most in that we are getting exactly what we want as far as the drink menu goes, and the reason i say that is because alcohol can get expensive, and very quickly! what you will find out if you haven’t already is that many venues have a drink (and also food) minimum, and that number is often higher than you’d expect. some venues might have a reasonable beer and wine menu (which i think these days is more than enough for your guests), but the second you throw in hard liquor that cost can jump up, which is understandable if you think about it. if your venue doesn’t offer beverage services, another option you might encounter that i think is intimidating at first but actually pretty cool is the venue that is byob. the reason i say intimidating at first is because it might be hard to fathom how you will figure out how much booze to buy for your guests. it’s never happened to me, but i imagine the bar running out of booze could be a quick buzzkill for any reception. however, do not worry because there are several ways you can “calculate” how much each guest will likely drink and from there determine how much to buy in total. i’ve even heard that if you buy, say, a case of beer from costco but don’t open it that you can return it. well, that’s pretty awesome!
my overall suggestion in this regard to any couples planning their wedding would be to only do as much as you want and as much as is comfortable in your budget. sure, what guest wouldn’t want top shelf this and barrel-aged that? but if the feel of your reception is something more casual (think a backyard bbq with coolers of local brews) or unique (i’m still hoping i’ll get to go to a brunch reception with bottomless mimosas and bloody marys), then do you! remember, your wedding day is a reflection of you and the things that make you happy, which might not necessarily jive with all your guests. but at the end of the day, it’s not really about the drinks anyway, right? 😉