How Much Alcohol For A Wedding


How Much Alcohol For A Wedding

 When choosing how much alcohol to buy for your wedding, it is essential to know your crowd! We recommend hiring a professional bartending service who can help you estimate the quantity of alcohol to purchase for your wedding. An experienced bartending service will also help select a drink menu and manage the bar on the wedding day. When it comes to weddings how much alcohol is required depends on the type of bar and bar service you plan to offer your guests. For even more help, download your FREE copy of our Wedding Bar & Alcohol Guide!

Keep in mind; your wedding should stay classy! Your goal should be to have a good time, not to get all your guests intoxicated. Over-serving guests is one of the biggest pet peeves for venue owners. If your guests become rowdy, you may be asked to cover any damages to the venue. Everyone should make it home safely and not ruin a fabulous day with the risk of injury or DUIs.

Reasons like this are why your venue or local laws may require a licensed bartender to control the flow of alcohol and distribute it to your guests. Be sure to ask your venue what their requirements are! Another bonus of a professional bartender for your wedding is that glassware, ice, mixers, and garnishes can be provided depending on their services. Another valuable asset to a professional bar is the insurance they provide! Most come with both a general and liquor liability policy covering you in case of any alcohol-related accidents. Anytime you serve alcohol at an event, you should consider purchasing coverage to ensure you're protected.

If you choose not to hire a bartender, however, or the bartending service you employ does not assist with pre-planning, we have three tips to make deciding how much alcohol to buy for your wedding easy!

 1. Keep it Simple

Narrowing down your drink selection to a few favorite options at your wedding allows you to assess how much alcohol to purchase clearly. Complex signature drinks can complicate the decision-making process, especially if you do not have a bartender. Beer and wine are reliable crowd favorites!

 2. Know Your Guests

Believe it or not, the best people to estimate how much alcohol you'll need is the couple! The couple knows their wedding guests' preferences and drinking habits! Personal knowledge of whose invited is a great way to discern how much alcohol to buy. If you know your guests are mainly wine enthusiasts, this will help you choose how many bottles of each selection to purchase. Knowing your guests prefer a specific type of spirit over another means you may not need to buy as many other options for the bar.

 3. Do the Math

Researching how many recommended servings for each of your chosen options at your wedding day bar provides specific guidance on how much alcohol to buy. Your bartender will also offer their calculations. The general rule says to allocate one drink per hour per guest. Plan for everyone to be drinking, even those that don't drink alcohol, and that will make up for the guests that consume more than one drink per hour. 

So let's do some easy math! If you have 100 guests and a 4-hour reception, you will need a minimum of 400 drinks. There are 4-5 glasses of wine in a wine bottle, about six servings in a standard bottle of champagne, and about 16 mixed drinks in a liquor bottle. A quick word of advice, don't serve shots at your wedding! Most venues prohibit this as things can take a turn for the worst in no time. If you are getting a beer, get bottles or cans, trust us. A keg seems like a great option at first, but they represent logistical requirements that aren't worth the savings. Also, you'll need to deal with extra taps and ice, cups, and a container to hold the keg. This container will get condensation on it from the ice, which can leak all over the floor, causing a slippery mess. Plus, you lose all the beer left in the keg at the end of the night! You can use bottles and cans for another day or event.

  • It is a good idea to serve 1 drink per person per hour of the event. In other words, one guest will have up to 5 glasses of wine (1 drink x 5-hour cocktail hour and reception).
  • During the winter months, you might want 60% of the wine to be red and 40% to be white because red wine isn’t chilled. During the summer months, your guests might prefer a chilled white wine so be sure to have 60% white wine and 40% red wine.
  • In lieu of a full bar, we suggest you provide a couple of signature drinks. Not only are different liquors more expensive, but you also have to provide all the garnishes such as orange juice, cherries, club soda, etc. Also keep in mind that the larger variety that you offer, the more likely you will have to lug all of that alcohol back home.
  • NO SHOTS and NO KEG STANDS! You want your wedding to be a classy affair, not some frat party. Your friends and family are all there to celebrate you so be respectful of them in turn.
  • Limit the bar to no more than five hours. Anything longer and people have a tendency to have way too many drinks and are having to find another way to go home.
  • Tennessee law states that the bar must be closed at least 30 minutes before the wedding is over. While it is law in Tennessee, we believe that this is a good overall rule of thumb!
  • Be mindful of what the wedding party is drinking while getting ready for the Big Day. We recommend not drinking liquor before the ceremony. The weather can have a disastrous effect when combined with alcohol. The last thing that you want is a bridesmaid or groomsman collapsing in the middle of the ceremony because they drank too much.

Planning out your bar for an event can be daunting, so we created a straightforward checklist to help you! Don't forget about our free Wedding Alcohol Checklist! Available at the top of the blog!

For more expert wedding planning advice, follow us at @thebridelink!


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