As a London wedding planner working with couples who opt for a wedding in a blank canvas/ dry hire venue, one of the most common questions is ‘How Much Alcohol to Buy for Our Wedding?’ Figuring out how many bottles of wine you need for a small dinner party might be easy, but what about planning for a large event like a wedding reception? You know your guests best. If you’re family primarily sticks to wine, stock up on that. If your friends are a fan of gin make sure to have more than your typical amount on hand for you and your buddies to share!
Things to consider:
How many guests?
Are you doing a toast?
How many hours will the bar be opened?
What type of drinks will you be serving?
Good to Know
There are three basic types of wedding bars: beer and wine only, full bar, and the something-in-between I’ll call modified full bar. If you are set on doing a true full bar, like the kind you have at an actual bar, I do not recommend going our DIY route.
If it is a full bar (beer, wine, and hard liquor): 50% should be wine servings, 20% should be beer servings, and 30% should be hard liquor
If it is only Beer and Wine: 60% should be wine servings, 40% should be beer servings
If you are having “signature drinks” in addition to the above: estimate that each guest will have just one. Very rarely to people go back to order a second signature cocktail. And not everyone will be as adventurous to try even one. But don’t stock up on the fixings, because unless it is pre-mixed, it will just turn into shots later in the evening.
Use an Alcohol Calculator
In order to figure out how much to buy, you can use this handy alcohol calculator. Just check the boxes of what you plan to serve, drop in your guest count and number of hours, and the alcohol calculator will tell you what to get—and then you can adjust according to your needs. I really like https://www.evite.com/pages/party/drink-calculator
TOP TIP: Although a complete DIY bar can end up being total mayhem, many catering companies are happy to provide additional staff to serve your guests your own drinks for a small staffing cost – they can then also provide the all-important ice, slice and replenished glassware!