How much alcohol do I need for my wedding?

In this weeks blog I'm sharing all my top tips on alcohol for your wedding. When , how much and what you should supply to your guests through out your wedding day to make sure everyone is happy and catered for. You dont want an empty bar by the time you reach the reception! This blog will be especially helpful for anyone having a marquee wedding or in a dry hire venue.


As there is no exact formula to allow you to do an easily calculation to work out how much alcohol to provide, I have included my top tips so basic quantities as well as a suggested list of items to buy so that you have the basics covered. The best place to start is with your guest list, you need to get an idea of who is and isn't drinking.





Who will be drinking?

The easiest way to get an idea on your quantities is to eliminate guests who wont be drinking alcohol first. So this will include children, pregnant or nursing mothers, designated drivers, anyone who you know dosent drink or is teetotal. You can then start to work out the estimated drinkers and non drinkers then can work to those quantities when planning what to buy.



Quantities per bottle

When looking at how much alcohol you need to provide looking at standard quantities and what each bottle can provide you is a life saver. Below are some of the key quantities you will need when buying alcohol for your wedding bar.


  • 1 x 75cl bottle of wine - 6 x 125ml / 3 x 250ml

  • 1 x Bottle of Prosecco/Champagne - 6 flutes

  • 1l bottle of Spirit - 40 x 25ml shots (standard pub measure)






Allocations through out the day.

Based on the traditional timeline for structure for a wedding day you will need to allocate the below quantities of alcohol for each drinking guest.


  • 3 Drinks per person for the drinks reception

  • 1/2 bottle per person of wine for the wedding breakfast

  • Glass of bubbles for the speeches

  • 6-8 glasses for the evening reception ( 4 hours)


Of course not everyone will drink this amount but based on previous experience this would be the average amount for a drinking wedding guest.


What drinks should we have and what shall we provide for the non drinkers?


Drinks Reception.

For your drinks reception there are many options that you can provide to go alongside your canapes. The traditional options would be Prosecco or Champagne with a non alcoholic option such a orange juice however I love to include a non alcoholic option that is a bit more exciting for these guests such as a sparkling elderflower or mocktail Bellini, then provide juice or mocktails for the children. However depending on when your wedding is taking place through out the year you can change up the alcoholic options and perhaps have Pimm's in the Summer and Mulled Wine in the winter. You can then change up the non alcoholic options to go along with these and perhaps have a pink lemonade or a hot spiced apple juice . Your drinks reception will last around 1 and a half hours so allocating 3 glasses per person will be plenty.


Wedding Breakfast & Speeches

With a wedding breakfast you would usually provide wine and a water, however there is nothing stopping you to provide something else, after all you know your guests the best. A lot of couples also have bottles of beer/lager available for guests if they would like it. If providing wine it can be difficult to work out the split of red, white and rose. If you dont think you will have a lot of rose drinkers or it wouldn't match with your food I would personally not provide it and work of a split of Red and White. While it is easier to do a 50/50 split think carefully about the food you are having, if it is red meat for example or Winter time you are more likely to get more Red wine drinkers. A 50/50 split is a safe option but I would always consider other factors.

For you non alcoholic drinkers there is no harm in offering the same drinks as the drinks reception as well as still and sparkling water but if you want to change it up perhaps have a juice based mocktail on offer that everyone can have.


The allocation for wine during the drinks reception is usually 1/2 bottle per person, so for a table of 10 you would have 5 bottles. But remember to look at your table plan and see how many children/non drinkers are on each table and provide wine accordingly.


Evening Reception.

For the evening reception the allocations become harder as it is a drinkers choice however 6-8 drinks across a 4 hour period is more than enough for your guests. This is where you can provide spirts and other options for your guests, as a base I would provide all your regular spirts such as Vodka, Gin, Whisky etc but then if you know a selection of your guests like Malibu or Tequila you can also provide this as well. You also need to think about mixers so tonic and soda water as well as Coke and Lemonade.

For the non drinkers again you can extend what you have already provided but they will also be able to drink the 'mixer' drinks as well so there will be a larger variety for them. If you are wanting to add a personal touch and serve signature cocktails make sure you include the ingredients for this, and if there is a famous cocktail amongst your group of friends for example a Espresso Martini that you know people will want, make sure these are also on your list!







Basic suggested to buy list.

  • Wine (Red, White, Rose)

  • Beer /Lager

  • Prosecco/ Champagne

  • Spirits - Vodka, Gin, Whisky, Rum - other spirts you know people like such as Archers, Malibu, Tequila etc.

  • Mixers -Coke, Lemonade, Soda water, Tonic water, Juice, Water


I always suggest to over order by 10%-15% to allow for any miscalculations and if possible always try to get the alcohol on a sale and return basis so if anything goes unopened you aren't loosing out!


If you have more questions, would like a hand in planning your dry hire or marquee wedding or simply want some suggestions feel free to contact me or book a call to discuss my services.


Photography D & A Photography

Gin and Wine by Tuffon Hall Vineyard






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