How Much Alcohol for a Wedding
How much alcohol for a wedding? And what type of bar should I opt for? If you need answers to these questions, check out our tips and solutions on the topic of weddings & alcohol!
There is nothing like alcohol to liven a party up. As a wedding is a celebration, it is usually a given for the bride and groom to provide drinks for the whole party. If your wedding is already near, then surely you are now figuring out the number of glasses at wedding needed. It may vary from couple to couple, but you need to be prepared – it is pretty embarrassing to be caught with not enough glasses for everyone!
First, you need to study the guests you will be having over. It will help you buy the right amount of alcohol for your reception! Of course, champagne for everyone for the main toast is mandatory. And it's better to find out your guests' preference: your sister might be a big fan of cocktails; your dad might be aching for some scotch; your college friends might still be chugging beer like there is no tomorrow; and then, there are the kids and guests who don’t drink alcohol at all. Calculating the ratios of different types of drinks will give you a rough guideline. There is also a guideline that you guest should have 1 drink allocated to them per hour of your reception party.
Second, you need to do the math. If you have a wedding of, say, 200 guests with 170 alcohol drinkers, and now it's important to figure out the ratios of different types of drinks. 1/3rd of your guests might be light drinkers of cocktails and mixers, another 1/6th would enjoy whiskey, and the other 1/2 would be beer fanatics.
Also you'll need to know how many drinks can a bottle of alcohol make:
A 750 mL bottle of wine can have 4-5 servings
A 750 ml bottle of Champagne can have 12 servings
A 750 ml bottle of liquor can make 20 drinks
A 330 mL bottle of beer is for one person per hour
A Keg can hold 165 servings
Using a calculator, you can now determine that you have about 57 cocktail and mixer drinkers, 29 whiskey or scotch drinkers, and 85 beer drinkers. Always remember to round up!
57 cocktail and mixer drinkers divided by 20 drinks per bottle, means you should get 3 bottles of mixer drinks.
29 whiskey drinkers divided by 16 servings per bottle, means you should get 2 bottles of whiskey.
85 beer drinkers means 85 bottles of beer!
Finally, if your reception is 3 hours long, the final count should be:
3 bottles of mixer drinks x 3 hours = 9 bottles of mixer drinks
2 bottles of whiskey x 3 hours = 6 bottles of whiskey
85 bottles of beer x 3 hours = 255 bottles of beer
If this situation sounds unlikely to you, don't fret - calculate it in the same way.
Every single person needs to have a water glass, to be refilled by the servers upon finishing or upon request. Everyone needs to be happy and hydrated! For a 200 person wedding, that is immediately 200 water glasses, plus extra for staff and vendors.
At the important toast of the reception, save for the very young children, everyone needs to be served champagne or wine even if they don’t really drink alcohol. It’s important to keep the traditional toast alive. Again, that’s 200 glasses right off the bat.
Having an open bar will also affect this decision. Cocktail glasses don’t get refilled and should be sent back to have washed and used again. To be safe, this should be around 120 glasses.
Depending on how casual your wedding is, you can opt to save some money by serving the beer in their bottles. However, more traditional settings would serve it in a frosted glass instead. You have the option of refilling this one, and just sending a server with an ice bucket out for any requests. This should be 120 glasses as well.
You can do as you wish with the glasses.
Your choices are unlimited!
Post-wedding reception storage can be a bother.
There is a chance you can run out – how embarrassing!
You will have no disposal problems.
The caterer would be able to tell you how much you will need for your special day.
The breakage/loss fee could be inevitably paid.
The general answer would be about two or three months before the wedding, given that the wedding venue is not very difficult to work with logistics wise. This is a good timeframe as it’s not too advanced that so many changes should be anticipated, but also not so near as to have time to prepare the right materials, like the number of glasses at wedding reception, and so on.
You should try to minimize this. If one vendor is offering joint services you would actually need, and you are fine with their quality, then it is the best bet for you. It’s much better than dealing with so many people and ending up with mistakes at hand.
Before diving into the wedding planning mode, the bride should speak with experts. It’s great to get mom’s opinion, or any other wonderful woman in your life – but it’s your wedding and not theirs! Consult vendors directly and ask for their quotes, and don’t let anyone influence you until you have done your due diligence!