When you’re deep in the wedding planning process, one of the pivotal decisions to make revolves around the reception and the amount of alcohol to offer. Sure, we all want to ensure our wedding guests have a good time, but how can you strike the right balance without breaking the bank?
Let’s delve into some best practices and helpful tips to help you navigate through this boozy territory. And you can use our free wedding alcohol calculator to make planning easy!
Wedding Alcohol Calculator
Wine Bottles Needed: 0
Beer Bottles/Cans Needed: 0
Spirits Bottles Needed: 0
How our calculator works
Assumptions: The calculator operates on certain underlying assumptions which are grounded in the general patterns of alcohol consumption observed in typical wedding receptions:
- On average, a guest will consume one drink per hour.
- The type of drinks consumed will be broken down into 50% wine, 30% beer, and 20% spirits.
Number of Drinks: The total number of drinks required is calculated based on the number of guests multiplied by the number of hours the reception lasts. So for a 5-hour reception with 100 guests, we’d assume 500 total drinks (100 guests x 5 hours).
Breaking Down Types of Alcohol: Given our assumptions:
- Wine: 50% of the total drinks. Using the above example, that’s 250 servings of wine.
- Beer: 30% of the total drinks, equating to 150 servings of beer.
- Spirits: 20% of the total drinks, which gives 100 servings of spirits.
Converting Servings to Bottles:
- Wine: A standard bottle of wine typically has around 5 servings (glasses). So for our 250 servings, that’s 50 bottles (250 servings / 5 servings per bottle).
- Beer: A serving of beer is typically one bottle or can. So, 150 servings equate to 150 bottles or cans of beer.
- Spirits: A standard 750 ml bottle of liquor will give around 17 standard servings (shots). For our 100 servings, it translates to approximately 6 bottles of spirits (rounded up).
The results displayed by the calculator are the number of bottles for each type of alcohol required to cater to the entered number of guests for the specified number of hours.
Tips on Wedding Alcohol Planning
Gauge Your Guest List
The number of guests is the first thing to consider. Are you hosting a large wedding with over 200 attendees or a more intimate gathering? Remember, only some people on your guest list might drink, while some might be heavy drinkers. So, understanding your guests’ preferences is key.
Types of Alcohol: Diversity is Key
A well-rounded bar service should ideally offer a mix of types of alcohol. White wine and red wine are a must for wine drinkers. Beer drinkers might appreciate a mix of craft, light, and dark beer. For those who prefer spirits, ensure you have bottles of liquor in a variety. Signature cocktails are also a great way to add a personal touch.
Consider the Time of Day and Year
Daytime weddings, especially during summertime, might consume more white wine and light beers. On the other hand, evening receptions in colder months might have guests gravitating towards red wine and hard liquor.
The Signature Toast
No wedding reception is complete without the iconic champagne toast. Make sure to have enough bottles of champagne on hand. And remember a standard ml bottle yields about five glasses of champagne.
Always keep a stock of non-alcoholic beverages like ginger ale, cranberry juice, and soft drinks. They’re essential not only for non-drinkers but also for guests who might want to pace themselves or refresh their palate.
To DIY or Not
While some couples opt for a DIY wedding bar, where they buy and supply their alcohol and drinks, others prefer the convenience of a professional bartender or a mobile bar service. If you’re leaning towards setting up your own wedding bar, it’s a good idea to consider logistics, including unopened alcohol returns and additional drink provisions.
Cash Bar vs. Open Bar
A full open bar can be heavy on the wedding budget, but it ensures guests have a good time without any additional costs. On the other hand, a wedding cash bar or a limited bar can help manage alcohol costs.
Planning the bar service for your wedding reception is a mix of understanding your guests, being aware of best practices, and using tools like our calculator. Whether opting for a cocktail hour, ensuring enough for the signature drinks, or just figuring out how much wine you need, always err on caution. After all, having a little extra is always better than finding yourself short when the dance floor gets going.
We hope this guide aids you in your wedding planning journey. Here’s to ensuring your next event is memorable and brimming with good spirits (pun intended)!