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When planning your wedding reception, one of the trickiest things you’ll need to figure out is how much alcohol to purchase. Alcohol for your wedding will depend on how many guests you plan to have, how much your guests tend to drink and your expected budget. A good rule of thumb is to have two options for each type of alcohol. For example, consider offering a light and dark beer, a clear and dark liquor and red and white wine. Offering two options is great for a guest who may have a preference.
A common way to calculate how much to purchase is one drink per guest per hour of cocktail hour and reception, with the understanding that some people will drink more than that, and some will drink less.
Serving sizes just for reference:
• 1 bottle of wine = 5 servings
• 1 case = 12 bottles
• 750ml bottle of liquor = 18 servings (1.5 oz servings)
• 1 bottle = 1 serving of beer
What you should know before you purchase.
Most wholesale suppliers accept returns. Before purchasing ask if they will accept back unopened and unchilled bottles after the wedding – most will., but don’t just take our word for it. Please ask the business. Buying in bulk will help save money.
Guests are happy to toast with the drink already in their hands. Many couples think it is necessary to purchase champagne for the toasts (which is totally okay!), but most guests will gladly clink glasses whether it’s a beer, glass of wine or a cocktail. Champagne is great to have on hand for those guests who prefer it, but don’t feel obligated to buy enough for each guest.
A lot of alcohol may go to waste. Guests have a tendency to lose track of their drinks or not finish one before starting another. As a result, a lot of alcohol can go to waste, making it important to be overstocked rather than under-prepared. Which takes us back to returning it to the supplier if you overstocked.
Discuss your Signature Cocktails. This is definitely one area you don’t want to lack on alcohol quantity if you do choose to serve a signature cocktail or two. When calculating how much to purchase play it safe and assume every guest will have at least one drink.
Don’t forget to budget in the mixers and garnishes. You can skip the garnishes if you want to save some money, but you have to admit some drinks just taste better with it! Common mixers include Coke, Sprite, Ginger Ale, Cranberry juice, and soda water.
In the end, no matter what you choose to serve, your wedding day is the best day of your life and your guests will enjoy whatever you have to offer. Enjoy their company, dance the night away and create unforgettable memories!