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Here's How Much the Average Couple Spends on Alcohol for Their Wedding

Time to budget for your booze.
maddy sims the knot associate editor
by Maddy Sims
maddy sims the knot associate editor
Maddy Sims
Associate Editor
  • Maddy writes for The Knot, with a specialty in beauty, sustainability, mental health and inclusivity.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Maddy wrote for several different publications, including Insider, Bustle, Real Simple and Apartment Therapy.
  • Maddy has a Bachelor's degree in magazine journalism and a Master's degree in health, science and environmental reporting (both of which are from Northwestern's Medill School ...
Updated Apr 02, 2020

Whether you prefer an ice-cold beer, a fresh rosé or an aged whiskey, odds are you'll be providing your guests with alcohol at your wedding. As such, you may be mulling over decisions like determining the cost of alcohol for your wedding.

While we're for all types of weddings (dry, "bring your own" and open bar are just a few options), a majority of couples—92 percent to be exact—end up serving alcohol at their weddings. So how much do these couples spend on booze? We found the average cost of alcohol at weddings, based on data from all over the country. 

According to an internal study, the average amount of money spent on a reception bar/liquor was $2,300. It might seem like a big chunk of change, but most couples deem it as a worthy expense, especially after they see their guests sipping signature cocktails and having fun on the dance floor.

Open bars were a big hit at weddings in 2019 with 54 or over half of all couples offering guests an open bar (complete with beer, wine and liquor) at the reception. In other instances, about 24 percent of all couples went the route of serving beer and wine at the wedding without an open bar option. Something to keep in mind is some venues don't allow liquor on-site, so if it's important to you to serve a mezcal concoction as your signature cocktail, then factor that into your venue hunt.

Finally, those signature cocktails are still popular with three in 10 of all 2019 couples serving their own rendition at the reception. (That's up from 24 percent in 2018 and 12 percent in 2008.) And if you need custom drink inspo, consider our favorites like lemon drop champagne punch or blackberry whiskey lemonade.

The biggest drop-off in alcohol options at the wedding is the presence of cash bars, which continues to decline in popularity. Just five percent of couples who exchanged vows in 2019 opted for this particular choice. In short, there are many different options available if you and your partner want to have a boozy celebration.

Despite the discrepancies in types of bars at weddings, there is one thing that 50 percent of all respondents had in common: a champagne toast. Whether couples married in a forest, a backyard or a ballroom, one-half of all couples who wed in 2019 raised a glass of bubbly at the reception. 

Whatever option you choose, just make sure your guests who are imbibing know how to get home safely. Don't forget to tip your bartenders too, as they'll be working hard to keep your guests satisfied and happy.

And, if you're planning a dry wedding, you're certainly not alone. As our study found, eight percent of couples who married in 2019 chose to abstain from serving alcohol at the reception, which helps eliminate the cost of alcohol in your wedding budget too. 

Our take? Do what's right for you—whether that's having a full-service open bar or serving your most creative mocktails. After all, your wedding day is really about celebrating you and your partner's love with friends and family. Cheers to that!

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