How Many Glasses for a Wedding?


There is nothing like alcohol to liven a party up. As a wedding is a celebration, it is usually a given for the bride and groom to provide drinks for the whole party. If your wedding is already near, then surely you are now asking yourself how many glasses for a wedding is needed. It may vary from couple to couple, but you need to be prepared – it is pretty embarrassing to be caught with not enough glasses for everyone!

How Many Drinks for a Wedding?

To figure out how many glasses for a wedding, we'll have to get the approximate number of drinks you are going to serve.

First, you need to study the guests you will be having over. It will help you buy the right amount of alcohol for your reception! Of course, champagne for everyone for the main toast is mandatory. And it's better to find out your guests' preference: your sister might be a big fan of cocktails; your dad might be aching for some scotch; your college friends might still be chugging beer like there is no tomorrow; and then, there are the kids and guests who don’t drink alcohol at all. Calculating the ratios of different types of drinks will give you a rough guideline. There is also a guideline that you guest should have 1 drink allocated to them per hour of your reception party.

Second, you need to do the math. If you have a wedding of, say, 200 guests with 170 alcohol drinkers, and now it's important to figure out the ratios of different types of drinks. 1/3rd of your guests might be light drinkers of cocktails and mixers, another 1/6th would enjoy whiskey, and the other 1/2 would be beer fanatics. 

Also you'll need to know how many drinks can a bottle of alcohol make:

A 750 mL bottle of wine can have 4-5 servings

A 750 ml bottle of Champagne can have 12 servings

A 750 ml bottle of liquor can make 20 drinks

A 330 mL bottle of beer is for one person per hour

A Keg can hold 165 servings

Using a calculator, you can now determine that you have about 57 cocktail and mixer drinkers, 29 whiskey or scotch drinkers, and 85 beer drinkers. Always remember to round up!

  1. 57 cocktail and mixer drinkers divided by 20 drinks per bottle, means you should get 3 bottles of mixer drinks.

  2. 29 whiskey drinkers divided by 16 servings per bottle, means you should get 2 bottles of whiskey.

  3. 85 beer drinkers means 85 bottles of beer!

Finally, if your reception is 3 hours long, the final count should be:

  1. 3 bottles of mixer drinks x 3 hours = 9 bottles of mixer drinks

  2. 2 bottles of whiskey x 3 hours = 6 bottles of whiskey

  3. 85 bottles of beer x 3 hours = 255 bottles of beer

If this situation sounds unlikely to you, don't fret - calculate it in the same way. 

How Many Glasses for a Wedding?

Another point of consideration after drinks is of course, the beverage vessels. How many glasses for a wedding on average? It really depends on the kind of drinks you are going to be having at your reception – which should have already been solved in part one of this guide! Figuring out number of glasses for a wedding is also a matter of deciding how drinks will be handled. If you have the option of having servers take finished drinks and washing the glasses, then this is a more viable option and you won’t have to worry about running out of certain types of glasses. Having excess is always better than a scarcity in project management! You have to count this section by person.

Water glasses

Every single person needs to have a water glass, to be refilled by the servers upon finishing or upon request. Everyone needs to be happy and hydrated! For a 200 person wedding, that is immediately 200 water glasses, plus extra for staff and vendors.

Champagne Flutes or Wine Glasses

At the important toast of the reception, save for the very young children, everyone needs to be served champagne or wine even if they don’t really drink alcohol. It’s important to keep the traditional toast alive. Again, that’s 200 glasses right off the bat.

Cocktail/Liquor Glasses

Having an open bar will also affect this decision. Cocktail glasses don’t get refilled and should be sent back to have washed and used again. To be safe, this should be around 120 glasses.

Beer Glasses

Depending on how casual your wedding is, you can opt to save some money by serving the beer in their bottles. However, more traditional settings would serve it in a frosted glass instead. You have the option of refilling this one, and just sending a server with an ice bucket out for any requests. This should be 120 glasses as well.

How to Get the Glasses?

Besides "how many glasses for a wedding", acquiring the glasses is another problem that you have to consider. The two approaches would be to buy or to rent the sets. Here is a list of pros and cons for each option.

Buying the Glasses


  • You can do as you wish with the glasses.

  • Your choices are unlimited!


  • Post-wedding reception storage can be a bother.

  • There is a chance you can run out – how embarrassing!

Renting the Glasses


  • You will have no disposal problems.

  • The caterer would be able to tell you how much you will need for your special day.


  • The breakage/loss fee could be inevitably paid.

Frequently Asked Questions About Rentals

When should I book the vendor for rentals?

The general answer would be about two or three months before the wedding, given that the wedding venue is not very difficult to work with logistics wise. This is a good timeframe as it’s not too advanced that so many changes should be anticipated, but also not so near as to have time to prepare the right materials, like how many glasses for a wedding reception, and so on.

Should I rent from many different vendors and services?

You should try to minimize this. If one vendor is offering joint services you would actually need, and you are fine with their quality, then it is the best bet for you. It’s much better than dealing with so many people and ending up with mistakes at hand.

What is the first thing a bride should do about rentals?

Before diving into the wedding planning mode, the bride should speak with experts. It’s great to get mom’s opinion, or any other wonderful woman in your life – but it’s your wedding and not theirs! Consult vendors directly and ask for their quotes, and don’t let anyone influence you until you have done your due diligence!