How Much Alcohol Should I Have At My Wedding?

This blog is brought to you by your friends at BrideBox Wedding Albums – the highest quality DIY Wedding Albums available direct to brides. Your precious wedding memories deserve to be shared for years to come, our incredible quality albums do just that. Join our mailing list today to get 20% off your future album! We hope you enjoy this post!

When you’re planning out your wedding reception, one of the trickiest things you’ll need to plan is how much alcohol to have. Alcohol for your wedding will depend on how many guests you plan to have, how much these guests tend to drink, what type of wedding environment you’re aiming for and your expected budget.  Our step-by-step process helps guide you through the logistics behind planning how much alcohol to have at your wedding.

Things to Consider

Before we dive into the different bar options and how to calculate the amount of alcohol you’ll need, there are a few things you should take into consideration. The time and day of the week of your wedding will influence the amount of alcohol people will want to drink. For example, attendees at a Friday night wedding will most likely drink much more than attendees at a Sunday daytime wedding. The personalities and tendencies of your guests should also be considered. If you know that your family can and will drink a lot of wine but will shy away from hard liquor, you should plan to have less hard liquor (if any at all) and more wine to compensate.

The type of wedding environment you’re hoping to have is also a major influencer in the amount and types of alcohol you supply. If you’re planning to have a classy, formal affair you’ll probably shy away from having an open bar so that people don’t get overly rowdy. If you want to have a big party that’s more casual, offering an open bar or many types of alcohol would be more appropriate. Of course, your budget is one of the biggest factors in your decision-making process so if you’re not planning to allocate a large part of your wedding budget to alcohol, you most likely won’t choose to go with an open bar.

wedding alcohol

Photo Credit: Dawn Kelly Photography

 If you want to ensure there’s ample alcohol to go around but also stay within a reasonable budget, opting for beer and wine only is a cheaper alternative. You can also offer limited options to avoid buying many different kinds of alcohols. When offering limited options, remember that you don’t need to cater to everyone’s preferences. After all, this is your wedding and the spirits you choose to serve should reflect your personalities in addition to what your friends and family enjoy.

One final thing to consider is that some venues do not hold the proper liquor licenses to serve hard alcohol. Make sure you double check with your venue before hiring a full bar.

 

Types of Bars

Open Bar

An open bar is when the bride and groom prepay for their guests to enjoy unlimited drinks for the duration for which the bar is paid for. This is the most expensive bar option for your wedding because you will need to have many different types of alcohols and mixers as well as an experienced bartender who will serve your guests drinks. Though pricey, it is the best option if you have a lot of guests who will drink quite a bit and would be better suited with a variety of alcohols.

bartender wedding

Photo Credit: Weddings From The Heart

Cash Bar

A cash bar is where you have a fully hosted bar but instead of you paying for the drinks, the guests pay for the drinks as they consume them. Many couples choose to have a cash bar in addition to providing champagne and wine for toasts and dinner so that they are not responsible for footing the entire alcohol bill. Though this is a way to cut costs at your wedding, it is generally frowned upon to have a cash bar at your wedding. You wouldn’t have a dinner party at your home and then ask your guests to pay for the meal, would you?

Limited Bar

A limited bar is when the bride and groom pay for all of the alcohol, but serve only a limited number of types of drinks so that they don’t need to pay for a bunch of different kinds of alcohol. For example, serving champagne for toasts, beer and wine for dinner and a signature cocktail or two will be much more affordable than offering an open bar.

wedding receptions limited bar

Photo Credit: iWedPlanner

 

The Signature Cocktail

Having a signature cocktail or a themed cocktail is becoming a more prevalent option in modern weddings today. If your wedding has an overall theme, having a cocktail to go along with it is a fun addition. For example, a rustic barn wedding might have an old fashioned as the signature drink, while a Roaring Twenties themed wedding might have mint juleps. Not only are these a fun way to add to the feel and ambiance of your wedding, but it’s a great way to control the amount of alcohol and supplies you’ll need to purchase for the wedding. It’s also a cheaper alternative as you’ll get to buy in bulk.

signature themed wedding cocktail

Photo Credit: OneWed

 

Beer and Wine vs. Hard Liquor

As we mentioned earlier, some venues may not hold the appropriate licenses to serve hard liquor. If this is the case, you will have to stick to “soft” liquors, such as beer, wine and champagne. Today, many weddings stick to just beer and wine only to keep things simple, more cost-effective and prevent the crowd from getting too rowdy.

beer wine wedding

Photo Credit: OneWed

If you’re having a signature cocktail, simply having beer and wine to accompany it is completely acceptable and very common. If you’re set on having hard liquor at your wedding, choosing a limited bar with just a few different types and brands of alcohol would be more cost-effective than hosting a full open bar. Think about the guests you have invited and what types of alcohol they will like to drink. If you know that your friends all love whiskey but stay away from tequila, there is no reason for you to purchase any tequila at all. Make sure you get plenty of the preferred brand and the appropriate mixers. Finally, if your concern is that your guests will drink too much, ask your bartender not to serve shots and to cut people off at his own discretion.

 

Who Supplies The Alcohol?

Many wedding and reception venues, such as hotels and restaurants, require you to coordinate alcohol through them. This is oftentimes included in the contract as a Food & Beverage cost, usually quoted per person or as a minimum total cost. Caterers will also typically request you coordinate alcohol through them, and they will either handle the process themselves or, if they do not have a liquor license, they will work with a vendor for you. If you have chosen a vendor that requires you to supply alcohol for your wedding through them, then they will take your requests and provide the appropriate amount of alcohol for your wedding.

wedding bar service

Photo Credit:  Creative Design Events

If your venue allows you to supply your own liquor, you will have to spend some time doing the math and deciding exactly what types of alcohol you want to have. Some venues will charge you a corkage fee, which is a flat rate fee per bottle opened, but if you are able to purchase your alcohol at a wholesale price you will still save an incredible amount.

 

How Much Alcohol Should I Buy?

Now that you have decided to purchase your own alcohol for your wedding, here are the necessary steps you’ll need to take to make sure you have a successful bar:

1. Decide what types of alcohol you want

Will you be serving beer and wine only with a champagne toast? Will you offer a signature cocktail and if so, what will it be? Will you provide a few different spirit options for your guests and if so, what types and what brands? What kinds of mixers and garnishes will you provide?

alcohol at wedding

Photo Credit: Wedding Belles Blog

A good rule of thumb is to have two options for each type of alcohol. For example, you could offer a light beer and a darker beer, a well vodka and Grey Goose, a pinot noir and a merlot and a chardonnay and a sauvignon blanc.

2. Determine the quantity to purchase

The amount of each alcohol you buy depends on the number of guests you’ll have and when you want to serve drinks. However, the actual amount that will be consumed is impossible to predict and it’s better to have extra than not enough.

If you’re doing a champagne toast and don’t expect to drink anymore champagne afterwards, one bottle for every 8 guests is sufficient. Toast glasses don’t need to be completely full so be sure to instruct your servers to fill the glasses up only 1/3 or 1/2 of the way. So, if you have 100 guests, you’ll want to have 13 bottles of champagne.

champagne toast wedding

Photo Credit: Politics PA

A good rule of thumb for the amount of beer, wine and liquor to buy is to assume each guest will consume about two drinks for the cocktail hour and one drink per hour every hour after that. You’ll need to calculate how much of each item you’ll need.

If you have 100 guests, purchasing 7 cases of beer (24 bottles per case = 168 bottles) will most likely be more than sufficient as not everyone will want to drink beer. In general, evening receptions tend to consume more red wine than white wine. Each bottle of wine is 5 glasses of wine, so if you think your guests will consume red and white wine evenly then 12 bottles of each (one case each) will be sufficient (5 glasses per bottle x 24 bottles = 120 glasses). Of course, if you know your guests are big wine drinkers you’ll need to adjust accordingly.

wedding alcohol shopping list

Photo Credit: Borrowed and Blue

Sorting out the number of bottles of liquor you’ll need is a little trickier, given that there are more options and it’s difficult to gauge what your guests will feel like drinking when the time comes. If you choose to have a signature cocktail, make sure you have enough to serve each guest one per hour for the duration of the reception. So, if you have 100 guests and your reception is scheduled to last three hours, you’ll need at least 300 servings of your cocktail. If you have chosen to go with a limited bar and have selected your brands and types of spirits, you can do the math by assuming each 750ml bottle of liquor has 18 servings in it. Again, you know your guests best so do your best to estimate which liquors will be more popular and purchase more of it as needed. If you’re unsure how much of each type of liquor to buy, purchasing 4 bottles of vodka, 2 bottles of gin, 2 bottles of rum, 2 bottles of bourbon and 1 bottle of scotch should be enough to satisfy your guests.

3. Don’t forget the extras

In addition to the actual alcohol, you’ll also need mixers and garnishes. You can forgo the garnishes if you’d like, but some cocktails are simply better with an olive or a zesty orange peel. For each bottle of spirits, you’ll want to buy three bottles of mixers. Common mixers include soda water, tonic water, cranberry juice, cola, Sprite and ginger ale. You’re also going to need plenty of ice. You can estimate about 1 pound of ice per person.

wedding bar garnish mixers

Photo Credit: A Travelling Epicure

4. Make a shopping list

Given our calculations above, here is your shopping list for a wedding of 100 people:

  • 13 bottles of champagne
  • 12 bottles of red wine
  • 12 bottles of white wine
  • 7 cases of beer (24 bottles per case)
  • 4 bottles of vodka
  • 2 bottles of gin
  • 2 bottles of rum
  • 2 bottles of bourbon
  • 1 bottle of scotch
  • 33 containers of assorted mixers
  • 100 pounds of ice
  • Garnishes as needed

So there you have it! This is just a sample shopping list for a generic 100-person wedding. We emphasize the fact that you know your guests best and so you should adjust the shopping list as needed. Remember that this is your wedding and your guests will appreciate whatever drinks you offer them for free.

Summary
Article Name
How Much Alcohol Should I Have At My Wedding?
Description
So you want to supply the booze at your wedding, but how much alcohol do you need? We guide you through the process of wedding alcohol in our guide.
Author

You may also like...

28 Responses

  1. Dario Becena says:

    Wonderful blogging! Might you have any kind of suggestions for striving internet writers? I’m planning to initiate my own site shortly however I’m a little lost on every thing. Will you recommend initiating with a totally free platform like Wetpaint or go for a paid alternative? You will discover so many choices out there that I’m completely confused .. Any ideas? Many thanks!

  2. My Partner And I merely want to advise you which I’m really newbie to putting up a blog and certainly loved your post. More than likely I am likely to save your webpage post . You definitely have stunning document subject. Be Grateful For it for giving out with me your internet site post.

  3. I went over this web site and I think you have a lot of good info, saved to bookmarks (:.

  4. strona says:

    Very lotopyeer efficiently written post. It will be valuable to anybody who utilizes it, as well as me. Keep up the good work – looking forward to more posts.

  5. I really like your writing style, wonderful info , thankyou for posting : D.

  6. Thanks verty nice blog!

  7. Just wanna admit that this is handy , Thanks for taking your time to write this.

  8. Ofelia da Silva says:

    I loved the information. it was useful and confirmed what I knew about this matter. Most important I learnt here is that, the weeding is yours and the guest may appreciate what you offer. Very true.
    I really thanks for information.

    Regards,

  9. Needed to create you that little bit of note just to give many thanks over again about the breathtaking tricks you’ve shared on this website. This is quite incredibly open-handed of you to offer unhampered what many of us would have offered for sale for an electronic book to earn some dough for themselves, precisely now that you could have done it if you ever considered necessary. The inspiring ideas likewise served as the great way to fully grasp other individuals have a similar interest really like my very own to realize a good deal more concerning this problem. I believe there are numerous more pleasurable times ahead for individuals that go through your blog.

  10. Kassandra says:

    May I simply say what a relief to uncover someone that
    genuinely knows what they are discussing on the net.
    You certainly understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important.
    More people must look aat this and understand this side of your story.
    I was surprised you’re not more popular because you defknitely have the gift.

  11. maker day says:

    We absolutely love your blog and find most of your post’s to be just what I’m
    looking for. Do you offer guest writers to write content for yourself?
    I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write concerning here.

    Again, awesome weblog!

  12. brenda says:

    Love this blog !

  13. google says:

    Everything is very open with a clear description of the issues.
    It was definitely informative. Your website is useful. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Monroe says:

    May I just say whаt a comfort to discovedr a person that truly knows what they’re discussing ⲟnline.
    Үou ceгtainly understand how tߋ bring an іssue to
    light and maкe iit important. A ⅼot more people reallү need tߋ look at this and
    understand this side of the story. I was surprised you aren’t more popular given that you
    sսrelуy possess thе gift.

  15. Alice says:

    Hi, I loog on to your bloɡs regᥙlarly.
    Your story-telling style is witty, keep up the good work!

  16. Fabulous, what a web site іt is! Thіs website provides helpful data to us, keep it up.

  17. Thanks tto my fatɦer who told mme about this webpage, this blog іs actually remarkable.

  18. Valencia says:

    You are so cool! I do not belіeve I’ve reаd through a
    single thing like tht before. So great to find somebody with a feѡ unique thoughts on this sᥙbject.

    Really.. thank yօu for starting this uр. This web sitre
    іs something tɦat is required on the internet, someone with
    sߋkme originalitʏ!

  19. Pamela says:

    I am giving my mom a surprise 80th birthday party in May, I am inviting 120 guest. The party will be from 7:00 pm until 11:00 pm. I am serving finger foods. I am wondering if it is appropriate to serve only red and white wine and a signature drink? And how much wine do you suggest I but?

  20. Clara says:

    I enjoyed the information you provided. My only question is when you refer to the quantity of liquor as “a bottle” are you referring to 750ml bottles or 1.75 liter?

    Thanks

  21. maddi says:

    I loved your blog but like Clara I need to know which size bottle you are referring to. 750 ml or 1.75 ml. Thanks so much.

  22. Oguz says:

    Good blog with a lot of useful information

  23. Cecilia says:

    Thank you so much! This is very useful. What do you suggest if we’re only serving beer and wine?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *