How Much Alcohol for a Wedding


When planning a wedding, there are a number of aspects that bring along an extra element of stress and that’s because there is no simple answer to certain issues – take alcohol for an example. How much alcohol for a wedding? And what kind of drinks are needed for such an event? Open bar or not? These are all questions that most future grooms and brides are asking themselves. If you are a little on the confused side when it comes to alcohol and what you need to order/purchase in advance and, more importantly, how much of it, then follow these tips in order to get a clearer view.

How Much Alcohol Should You Have at Your Wedding?

Decide Based on Your Guests

The most important thing you need to remember when deciding on how much alcohol is needed at your wedding is to take a look at your guests. Since they are your friends and family, you can roughly predict what and how much they will consume at your party. Do all your guests drink, or do some refrain from consuming alcohol, because of personal or religious reasons? Do they prefer wine or beer? 

In general, when trying to figure out how much alcohol for a wedding, for 100 guests, you will need about 36 bottles of champagne, 8-12 bottles of vodka, 6-5 bottles of gin and rum or 12 of one of these and around 3 bottles each for the following: scotch, whiskey, bourbon, tequila, in addition to about 3 cases of wine and about 100 bottles of beer, depending on your crowd.

Decide Based on the Type of Your Event

If what you are aiming for is a posh event full of grace and class, then it is probably better to limit the alcohol in order to avoid possible, yet ever-so-common drunken disasters. Your venue should set the tone of your event and if you picked a classy spot for a classy afternoon affair, then you will certainly serve less alcohol than a couple that picked a ‘crazy party’ type of wedding at a hipster location.

What Type of Bar Should You Opt for?

Type of bar your are having is essential when trying to figure out how much alcohol for a wedding.

  • The Open Bar

    Open bars are what most brides and grooms opt for and the fact is that they can be very expensive – so much so that you can expect to pay 20% out of your total wedding budget on the open bar. An open bar means unlimited drinks for everyone at all times. In regards to the quantity, your caterer (usually the place where you host your wedding or, in case of a missing liquor license, then the vendor they are collaborating with) will know the exact amounts you will need, considering your guests and type of event.

  • The Cash Bar

    The cash bar is a relatively new approach to saving money on your wedding, since it means that your guests will have to pay for their drinks. While many couples opt for such an alternative, you might portray yourself as cheap or rude, so consider this aspect before opting for a cash bar. Moreover, you could opt for a combination of cash bar for fancy drinks and cocktails and unlimited wine or beer.

  • The Wine and Beer Only Bar

    If you are on a budget, this is a great option for you. Wine and beer are affordable in comparison with the hard drinks, so opting for an exclusive bar that features these two well liked drinks is a great solution and certainly more gracious than a cash bar.

How to Calculate

Some prefer to use a simple formula to determine the amount of needed alcohol. And if you prefer a simple calculus, then use this method to determine the amount of booze you have to order or purchase ahead. 

  • Basically, start by writing down the number of guests that will attend your wedding. 

  • Secondly, write down the number of hours those guests need to be entertained and provided for – basically, the length of your wedding, in hours. 

  • Thirdly, in order to obtain the number of servings you will need, simply multiply the two numbers. So, if your wedding will have 100 guests and you will celebrate your nuptials for about 5 hours, then you will need about 500 servings (one serving per guest per hour).

  • Some prefer to add an extra drink (or even two) per person for the cocktail hour just in case. When it comes to answering the “How much alcohol for a wedding?” question – this means that for 100 guests and a 5 hour long wedding, you could go for 600 servings. 

  • Also you'll need to know how many servings 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

    Don't forget that, for each bottle of liquor, you'll need 3 mixers.

Also, when you are using this simple method, always take into consideration the number of children and teenagers that will be attending your wedding and leave them out of the calculations.