Wedding alcohol budget: How To Budget For Your Wedding Bar and Alcohol Costs


How To Budget For Your Wedding Bar and Alcohol Costs

Pop a bottle and pour the bubbly! Drinking is a natural fit for any celebration, and a wedding is no exception. In fact, alcohol is served at 92% of wedding celebrations, according to The Knot’s survey of weddings in 2018. The average cost of serving alcohol at a wedding was $2,564.


Whether you’re sticking to a simple champagne toast or springing for a full open bar, alcohol costs can quickly add up. Luckily, this is one wedding cost you have a lot of control and say over.


We talked to several wedding planners and real newlyweds to get their advice on how to keep alcohol costs within your wedding budget.


From figuring out how much alcohol to buy for a wedding to selecting an open bar wedding package, here’s what you should know.

Wedding Alcohol Costs and Options

What you’ll pay for drinks at your wedding, of course, will depend on the type of options you want to offer your guests. It can be helpful to first to understand what your options are so you can start weighing them.


Here are common bar packages and other alcohol options you might consider as you’re planning your wedding celebrations.

More expensive: Open bar wedding

With an open bar at your wedding, you’re typically charged a flat rate per person for each hour of bar service. This may be a more expensive option, but it has the benefit of a fixed cost.


The flat-rate pricing “may work to your benefit depending on how heavy of a drinking crowd you have,” says New York wedding planner Katharine Phillips of Katharine Phillips Event & Design.


How much is an open bar at a wedding? Your costs can vary quite a bit based on the venue and alcohol package you choose. For a full open bar with premium liquors, The Knot puts the average cost at $4,147, while an open bar limited to cheaper spirits averages $2,550. And while this is the costliest option for most couples, it’s also the most popular — 56% of couples opt for an open bar wedding.

More expensive: Open bar billed by consumption

Another option for an open bar is to pay by consumption. This option is “a bit similar to open bar in terms of service for your guests, but differs in that the bar or catering staff keeps track of each drink, and you get a bill based on the tab,” Phillips says.


This means you’re charged only for what guests drink, which could be cheaper. But it can also make this wedding cost unpredictable if guests go overboard.

More cost-effective: Cash bar wedding

A cash bar offers a full range of drinks — but guests pay for their drinks, instead of you. This means you can have alcohol at your wedding celebrations without having to cover the costs.


Generally, however, a cash bar wedding is traditionally considered a less hospitable and gracious option. It’s likely why it’s a less popular option, chosen for just 7% of weddings, according to The Knot.


Phillips encourages couples to pay for and offer some complimentary drinks, or at least two drink vouchers, to guests. “I think that would be a great compromise and way to save some money on the bar,” she adds.

More cost-effective: Bring your own booze

Another option to consider is buying and providing alcohol on your own, rather than paying a caterer or venue to do so. This gives you more control over what you’re serving — and what it’ll cost you.


“The more obvious and notable pro to this is that you’re buying the supplies at market rate and not being charged a premium, which would save you money,” says Phillips.


However, “the cons are that without the experience to anticipate bar needs, you could run out of supplies,” she adds. Or, you might unnecessarily over-buy and have leftovers.


So, make sure you accurately estimate how many drinks you’ll need. An event alcohol calculator can give you a good starting point, but you might also want to consult your wedding planner or caterer for an expert estimate.

No alcohol expenses: A dry house

Last, you can skip the alcohol altogether and have a dry wedding. This can make sense if you know that many of your guests are sober or don’t drink, or you’re just generally wary of serving alcohol. You might also choose a dry wedding if alcohol simply isn’t a wedding expense you care to prioritize.


There are always non-alcoholic beverages you can offer up instead, whether that be kombucha or a coffee bar for a morning celebration, says Lauren Grech, CEO & co-founder of LLG Events in New York, N.Y.


“But ultimately, you shouldn’t need any additional flair just because you’re opting out of alcohol for your wedding,” Grech says. “The guests who are attending should recognize that the point of the day is to celebrate you as a couple, the way you want to start your life together.”

Bar offerings options

On top of choosing between an open, cash, or DIY bar, you can also consider the kinds of alcohol you’d like to serve. Limiting the range of options for your guests can bring costs down quite a bit.


Here are some ranges of bar offerings, from what’s generally more expensive to least:


  • Premium full bar with wine, beer, and a full range of top-shelf liquors and traditional cocktails
  • Full bar, but with well liquors instead of premium spirits
  • Soft bar with signature cocktails, which serves wine and beer along with one or two drink options
  • Soft bar, which is limited to wine and beer only
  • A single drink option, such as a champagne toast only, or selection of beers

Other Choices That Impact Wedding Alcohol Costs

Your options and costs for serving alcohol at your wedding, however, depend a lot on other choices you make for your wedding. It’s important to keep your plans for your wedding bar or alcohol in mind when making these key decisions.

The venue and caterer

Perhaps the biggest is your choice of venue or caterer. Many, but not all, wedding catering services and venues offer alcohol packages alongside other services. Other venues may not allow for any outside alcohol to be brought in, or for alcohol to be served at all. So along with talking about the dinner menu and seating, be sure to include alcohol in your discussions about services and costs.


Joslyn Beile, a nonprofit operations director, chose a private club just outside of Sacramento, California, as the venue for her 2015 wedding. The biggest selling point of this venue, Beile says, was its flexible alcohol policies. She was able to hand-select three beers and two wines to serve, and even brought in a keg from her favorite brewery.


“The club also didn’t charge us for unopened or partially-consumed bottles,” she adds. “Guests were still able to freely imbibe, but the costs were significantly lower than a full bar option.”


Her total costs for unlimited beer and wine for 150 people over 5.5 hours came to just $1,086.

The guest list

More guests will mean paying for more drinks, so it’s important to know how many people will attend your wedding reception.


But beyond setting your guest count, “you should estimate what percentage of your guests would be drinking at your wedding reception,” says Kristina Savina, who works for wedding planning site Wedding Forward. If you know your guest list is full of heavy drinkers, that can help you decide on the best alcohol option or package.


This was part of the strategy for Bethany McCamish, a designer and founder of personal finance blog His and Her FI, in planning her wedding set for June 2020. She’s keeping the guest list small for her destination wedding in Hawaii, at just 25-30 guests.


McCamish is also opting for a cash bar, along with complimentary rum Mai Tai punch provided by the catering service.


“We want to provide a few ‘free’ drinks at the wedding for guests and then have the cash bar for those who want to drink heavily,” she says. McCamish puts her total wedding alcohol costs at $1,100.

The wedding reception timing

Take the timing of your wedding celebrations into account when settling on alcohol options, too. The hour of the day can determine how ready your guests are to party.


“If it’s in a brunch reception after a sunrise ceremony, many will likely be asking for a coffee bar,” Grech says. Even if you opt to serve alcohol, guests may still drink less at a luncheon that they would at an evening reception.


The day of the week can have a similar impact on how ready guests are to party.


“If the wedding is on a Sunday or weekday when most people have to work the following day, they’ll be less likely to complain,” if you choose a dry event, cash bar, or otherwise limit drink options, Grech says.

Reception duration

Many alcohol packages charge by the hour for bar services, and guests tend to drink more the longer a party is. So, planning out how long you expect your wedding reception to last can help keep your wedding alcohol costs predictable.


“On average, a wedding reception lasts about five hours,” says Savina. “Usually, wedding planners assume that guests will have two drinks in the first hour of the open bar, and one additional drink each following hour.”


If you choose to keep your reception shorter or stick to a strict closing time on the open bar, this can keep alcohol costs under control.


Elizabeth Rivers, founder of travel blog Anchored Adventure, used this strategy to keep a cap on open bar costs for her May 2018 wedding in Louisville, Kentucky. The wedding invite left an open arrival time of 6:30 to 7:30 pm.


“Since everyone arrived at various times, not nearly as many drinks were consumed as a typical cocktail hour,” Rivers says. The open bar also closed during dinner, offering wine served at the table instead.

Liability and liquor laws

Going the DIY route and providing your own alcoholic beverages can be another way to save. Stephanie Kibler, founder of personal finance blog Poorer Than You, took this route when planning her 2014 wedding.


“We bought all the alcohol ourselves and looked for deals wherever we could,” she says. In all, she spent just $600 on bottled drinks like wine, beer, and cider, along with cups, ice, and other extras for serving the drinks.


If you choose a BYOB wedding, however, you’ll need to make sure it’s all above-board and plan for extra costs. Make sure the venue allows outside alcohol to be brought in. You should also look into your state’s liquor laws, Phillips advises, as some states only allow alcohol to be served by a provider with a liquor license.


Even if a liquor license is required, you might actually be able to get one yourself. Kibler did exactly that, paying a $55 fee to get a liquor license that covered her reception.


Liability can also be a consideration when drinking is involved, so it’s wise to purchase alcohol insurance for a wedding if you’re providing the drinks. Kibler dropped $300 on alcohol insurance for the wedding and $150 for a venue alcohol fee. Her total wedding alcohol costs came in at $1,105.

The Bottom Line: Choose Wisely To Keep Wedding Alcohol Costs Under Control

As an engaged couple, you’re probably drunk on love and excitement for your wedding. But don’t let that cloud your judgment.


While the average cost of alcohol at a wedding is around $2,500, having drinks at your reception can cost a lot less. The women we spoke to spent half that or less, while still serving up beverages that aligned with their visions for their big days.


But keeping wedding alcohol costs low will require clear-headed decision making. Make sure you’re keeping alcohol options and costs top-of-mind as you plan your wedding.

Wedding Alcohol Cost and Bar Budget

Almost everyone who plans a wedding has to decide how much of their budget to allocate toward the bar and how many beverages to stock their wedding bar with.

A wedding planner should be equipped to help with this information.

Before you read this article, watch this video for the formula to calculate cost for a 100 person wedding. You can use the same formula for any number of guests.

Now that you’ve watched the video, read details below.

To start, a good rule of thumb is to assume the average guest will consume two drinks during the first hour and then one drink for each hour thereafter.

Alcohol Budget

The cost of an average open bar at a wedding can account for 10 – 20% of the wedding budget. And don’t forget that tipping the bar tenders at the end of the night can run as much as 20% of the final bar tab.

By using the above rule of thumb of two drinks during the first hour and one drink thereafter per guest, you can assume that the average drink costs you $5. Multiply the cost by the number of guests by the number of hours for your open bar to get the total cost.

Let’s look at an example to help – lets say you have 150 people at your wedding. It is always better to overestimate than to come up short so lets say the average person consumes 6 drinks. That means 900 drinks will be consumed at an average cost of $5 each.

Your open bar budget should be $4500 in this example.

How Many Alcoholic Beverages are Needed

Use this as a rule of thumb – these are averages for the number of bottles needed per hour per guest:

  • For every 25 guests, you will need 17 bottles of beer, 4 bottles of wine and 1 bottle of liquor (per hour).
  • For every 50 guests, you will need 34 bottles of beer, 7 bottles of wine and 2 bottle of liquor (per hour).
  • For every 100 guests, you will need 67 bottles of beer, 14 bottles of wine and 4 bottle of liquor (per hour).

Keep in mind the above averages are PER HOUR, so multiply those by each hour your open bar will be available.

The average wedding keeps the bar open for up to 5 hours.

Most Popular Wedding Reception Drinks

We polled hundreds of wedding planners and here are the most popular mixed drinks at weddings:

  • Martinis
  • Margaritas
  • Pina Coladas
  • Daiquiris
  • Mojitos

Average Glasses Per Bottle

  • The typical bottle of liquor for mixed drinks can make 18 cocktails.
  • The typical bottle of champagne makes 8 glasses.
  • The typical bottle of wine makes 5 glasses.

A safe estimate to make is that each guest will consume 5 drinks on average during the wedding.

For advice on bartender staffing we have this article.

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This is the Best Wedding Alcohol Calculator To Help You Plan Your Party

Figuring out how much booze you need for an open bar wedding is so confusing, there’s actually wedding alcohol calculator apps and diagrams and spreadsheets that have been created to try and help you out. Unfortunately we find most of them a bit more confusing than they have to be, so we’re going to try and break it down for us as easily as possible without making a powerpoint for you! LOL.

Photo by Apaige Photography

OK. So here’s the most BASIC wedding alcohol calculator information you need to know, based on the number of guests you’re having. But first, below is a cheat sheet in case you really, really don’t feel like reading how to figure it out! LOL.

Open Bar for 100 GUESTS:

  • 70 bottles of wine
  • 175 bottles of beer
  • 15 bottles of liquor (750 ml)
  • 20 bottles of champagne for toast (optional)


  • 105 bottles of wine
  • 266 bottles of beer
  • 22 bottles of liquor (750 ml)
  • 30 bottles of champagne for toast (optional)


  • 140 bottles of wine
  • 350 bottles of beer
  • 30 bottles of liquor (750 ml)
  • 40 bottles of champagne for toast (optional)

How did we come up with that? The math breaks down like this:


Figure Out How Long Your Wedding Reception/Cocktail Hour Will Be

Assume guests will have 2 drinks in the first hour of the open bar, and 1 additional drink each following hour. The total length of a wedding reception will vary (you can read more about how long a wedding reception should be here) but assume for general purposes it will be 5 hours (1 hour for your cocktail hour, and 4 hours for dinner/dancing).

So for a 5 hour cocktail hour/reception, that’s 6 drinks total per guest, which is what a lot of websites will recommend. Overall, we always like to err on the side of caution when it comes to an open bar and not running out, so we actually recommend adding one drink to that calculation, bringing it to 7 drinks per guest for a 5-hour event.

SEE MORE: How to Throw the Best Backyard Wedding Ever

It’s not that people will consume 7 drinks/person, and of course not everybody will drink 2 or even 1, BUT you have to take into account how many times servers might pick up a half-full drink, or somebody misplaces theirs while dancing. It happens, and if you’re DIY’ing your own wedding bar with no extra inventory (like most wedding caterers have on hand), why take the chance? Extra bottles of wine that go unused after the wedding can make for great hostess or holiday gifts, and you won’t be freaking out thinking that you didn’t order enough alcohol.

2. Calculate How Many Drinks Come in a Bottle You’re Serving

  • 5 glasses of wine in a 750 ml wine bottle (including champagne)
  • 12 drinks in a 750 ml spirit bottle
  • And of course a bottle of beer is one serving.

I found this to be one of the most helpful, clear guides online to how many servings a bottle of alcohol in various sizes can pour.

3: Decide What You Want Your Alcohol Mix to Be

Note: For purposes of this article, we’re going to assume you’re having a full open bar (if you’re not, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered, below).

While sites like Total Wine encourage you to use a ratio of 50% wine drinkers, 30% beer, and 20% spirit drinkers, we think it’s safer to say 50% of guests want wine, 25% beer, and 25% want the hard stuff, though keep in mind you know your crowd better than anybody. For instance, at my wedding we had a lot of wine and spirit drinkers, so I would have made it 60% wine, 30% alcohol, 10% beer.

So using ALL those calculations, here’s how you would figure out just how much you need in total, assuming the percentages and everything else above for a 100 person wedding:

For 100 guests:

(50% of guests)=50


(Number of Drinks Needed According to Total Hours) = 7



(Number of glasses per bottle of wine) = 5

=70 bottles of wine needed

(25% of guests) = 25


(Number of Drinks Needed According to Total Hours) = 7

=175 bottles of beer needed

(25% of guests) = 25


(Number of Drinks Needed According to Total Hours) = 7



(Number of servings per 750ml bottle of liquor)= 12

=14.5 (round up to 15) bottles of liquor needed


Champagne Toast:

(100% of guests) = 100


(Number of glasses per bottle of champagne) = 5

=20 bottles of champagne needed

So to recap, for 100 guests you would need:

  • 70 bottles of wine
  • 175 bottles of beer
  • 15 bottles of liquor (750 ml)
  • 20 bottles of champagne for toast (optional)
Only Having Beer and Wine?

Of course if you’re only having beer and wine, the percentages you’ll need for each would just go up accordingly. So you would most likely assume a 60% wine and 40% beer mix, making your numbers look like:

  • 84 bottles of wine
  • 280 bottles of beer

While the wedding alcohol calculator numbers above are rough estimates, I again encourage you to take into consideration your crowd. Are they big drinkers? Pad each of those numbers by a few bottles. Do a handful of guests you know of DEFINITELY not drink? Take it down a notch or two. Also talk to your alcohol/wine store you are purchasing from and get their opinion. This wedding alcohol calculator is by no means set in stone, these numbers are just meant to provide a guide for you so you know where to start.

SEE MORE: This is What a $50,000 Wedding Looks Like

Ready to buy? If you’re using the wedding alcohol calculator formula we’ve come up with, above, the shopping list for it is below.

4: Compile Your Shopping List


OK. So here’s where I think the hardest part comes in for all wedding alcohol calculators. How much to get of each spirit? For a basic full bar you’ll want to have vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and whiskey. From there consider adding a bottle or two of bourbon, scotch, brandy, and any other speciality spirits you love.

Here’s a well-rounded list you can go off of when deciding the vodka to whisky amount you’ll need, assuming you buy 15 bottles of liquor for 100 people. And again, if you have a speciality liquor you like consider adding that to this list as well.

  • 6 vodka
  • 4 whisky
  • 2 gin
  • 2 tequila
  • 1 rum

For wine you’ll want to do a mix of each, leaning towards more red wine if you’re throwing an evening wedding. Wine Folly has an easy-to-understand ratio of what types of wine to get for a wedding or other party, below:

Fall, Winter and Spring weddings: People tend to drink more red wine at indoor weddings in the fall, spring and winter. As a rule, have a mix of about 50% of red wine for this type of wedding.

Summer and Outdoor weddings: Outdoor weddings on hot days will have people drinking more white wine. Consider a mix of 30% each of all 3 styles of wine. On the other hand, you might also think about serving rosé, especially if you’re serving fish or seafood.

So if you’re buying 70 bottles of wine, your shopping list for an evening wedding inside might look like:

  • 35 red
  • 23 white
  • 12 sparkling (not including extra bottles if you’re having a toast)

SEE MORE: Wedding Budget: Where to Save and Where to Splurge 


A mix of 3 types of beer is perfect. In that case, I would do one pilsner, one lager, and one IPA (and try to make at least one of those mainstream enough for your Uncle Joe to enjoy, like a Miller Lite).


You’ll want to have a variety of mixers available (and of course if you’re making speciality cocktails you’ll want to be sure to get everything you need that’s specific to those), as well as garnishes. One thing to note is that if you are hiring a bartender service (most venues require you have a licensed bartender) it’s often easier to let them supply the basic mixers and garnishes along with things like glassware and napkins.

In terms of mixers, plan on having the following for 100 guests:
  • 10 Liters Club Soda or Seltzer
  • 6 Liters  Ginger Ale
  • 8 Liters  Cola
  • 8 Liters Diet Cola
  • 8 Liters Lemon-Lime Soda
  • 6 Liters Tonic
  • 3 Quarts each of any juice you want (plan on at least having orange, cranberry, and grapefruit)
  • 2 bottles each of sour mix, grenadine, simple syrup, and bitters.
  • 1 bottle each of dry and sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 lemon/lime per guest (pre-sliced)
  • 2 olives and cherries per guest

Phew. OK this article is WAY longer than we expected, and I’m sure there’s so much more we can include for future articles as well. In the meantime, are you having an open, DIY wedding bar? If so tell us how much you’re getting for it, below, and what wedding alcohol calculator you used and loved.

While we only link to products and services we think you will love, some of the links on our site are monetized. If you click on the link and make a purchase we may receive a commission, which helps us keep bringing great content to you! All opinions are our own.

Listen to the Woman Getting Married Podcast

One couple saved $6,000 on their wedding with a smart alcohol strategy

Jessica Bishop knew she wanted to keep her wedding budget low, but when she and her husband, Eric, started looking at projected costs for their May 2009 nuptials, the couple realized they were going to have to make some tough choices when it came to where to invest their money for their big day.

Wedding planning site The Knot reports a current national average of $7,350 spent on open bar costs at wedding receptions. The Bishops knew that kind of spending was out of the question, so they came up with a plan to cut costs.

“We bought a bunch of [inexpensive wine] at Trader Joe’s,” the bride told CNBC. “Then we soaked the bottles in our bathtub and peeled the labels off.”

A graphic designer by trade, Bishop then created custom wine labels featuring the couple’s monogram and pithy names like “Recession Red” to serve their 150 guests, along with beer.

“None of our guests knew the difference,” she says. The couple was able to spend a mere $500 on alcohol, saving themselves thousands of dollars.

Bishop remained budget-savvy throughout her entire wedding planning process, and now runs her aptly-named blog, The Budget Savvy Bride, full-time, helping other couples manage costs while planning their own celebrations.

Evin Photography, Courtesy of Jessica Bishop

Here are her tips for stretching every dollar you have for your wedding:

Prioritize what you’re willing to splurge on and let everything else take a backseat

For Bishop, having beautiful photographs of her wedding day was really important, but the $3,000 cost of a professional photographer was far outside what she wanted to spend. She offered the photographer her own services in exchange for his, and worked 10 hours a week for three or four months at his studio to pay down the entire cost of her bill.

“You don’t have to be a graphic designer,” she adds. “Offer your photographer free babysitting!”

Don’t be afraid to ask your family and friends for help instead of gifts

The Knot reports an average of $583 is spent on wedding confections, but a neighbor of Bishop’s baked their desserts instead of giving the couple a wedding gift.

Evin Photography, Courtesy of Jessica Bishop

Another friend of the couple stepped in to arrange wholesale flowers, purchased for $400, instead of the thousands they might have spent using a traditional floral designer.

Consider getting a side hustle

Or, as Bishop calls it, a “bride hustle.”

One of the most-read posts on her blog encourages readers to pick up a few hours of work each week for extra wedding money. Pet-sitting, renting out your home on Airbnb or even asking your wedding vendors if they need extra assistance at other weddings are easy ways to pick up cash, Bishop says.

Side jobs aren’t an option for everyone, but her point is simple: You never want to drive yourself into debt to pay for a six-hour party. Exhaust everything available to you.

Invest in the guest

Monogrammed napkins are an expensive tradition associated with weddings of the past, and pricey paper invitations are headed down the same road.

Think of the last wedding invite you got in the mail. You probably admired it for a few minutes, marked the date in your calendar, returned the RSVP card and threw the invitation in the trash.

Invitation costs average $462 — a lot of money for something that winds up in the recycling bin.

Pinterest didn’t exist in 2009, but Bishop knew with her design expertise she could whip up her own invitations using free templates online. She was able to send hers out for $143. Now, nearly eight years later, there are plenty of services that help you send formal invites via email — no envelopes necessary.

At the end of the day — and it is important to remember that weddings only last one day — what matters is that your friends and family are able to celebrate with you and your partner.

You can’t put a price on that.

Wedding Alcohol Calculator + Everything You Need To Know

You’ve probably never used a wedding alcohol calculator before. Because buying booze for a small gathering is one thing, but what about for a hundred people, one of whom is your Nana? No? Well, here’s everything you need to know about how to buy alcohol for your wedding. (Note: remember to buy ice).

Know Your Crowd (Before you Hit Your Alcohol Calculator)

Before we dive in, let’s preface this information with a note that only you know your crowd. I spoke with Nicky Beyries, Bar Director at Foreign Cinema and Laszlo in San Francisco, who has over five years of experience overseeing events, to get some advice on how to approach buying booze for your wedding. She emphasized the importance of knowing your people.

“First, take an honest and legitimate inventory of your wedding attendees. Honesty is key here—some wedding attendees drink almost nothing, others drink a lot. Any insight you can offer is helpful; if your crowd loves red wine or Bud Lite or fancy bourbon, if Uncle Tommy loves his Chardonnay at a particular temperature, these are all things to plan ahead for.”

If half your guests don’t drink, adjust accordingly. If your loved ones drink beer, but hate wine, well, don’t have a wine-only reception. Also, take your region of the country (or hell, your country) into account. At the end of the day, you know best what your loved ones expect and what you care about.

This is a guide to best practices and general wisdom, with some help around the math with an actual wedding alcohol calculator, but it’s designed to help you adapt as you see fit. We’ve also put together a downloadable checklist for your wedding bar (below) that you can print out and take to the store to make sure you don’t forget anything (including ice!)

What Are Your Expectations?

It’s also good to check in about your own expectations around a wedding, and specifically, think about if (and when) you’re willing to run out of alcohol. I spoke with Chase Daley of Bar Baby Co., a mobile bar specializing in custom signature cocktails at weddings and events in Sacramento, California, and he said each host has a different relationship to running out.

“Some people like to run out towards the end, and some people never ever want to run out, and that’s an important part of how you round up or down when figuring out how much to buy.”

You may decide that running out of booze is your worst nightmare and you’d rather have leftovers to enjoy on your (tenth!) anniversary, or you may decide that running out of things towards the end of the night is no big deal.


How Do I Buy ALCOHOL For My Wedding? (And can You Hit Me With A Wedding Alcohol Calculator)

You Can’t DIY a Full Bar

There are three basic types of wedding bars:

  1. Beer and Wine only
  2. Full Bar
  3. And the something-in-between I’ll call modified full bar

If you are set on doing a true full bar, like the kind you have at an actual bar, I do not recommend going our DIY route.

Chase Osthimer, an events ambassador for Lo-Fi Aperitifs and Quaker City Mercantile in California and Pennsylvania, says that “It’s easy to get bogged down in feeling like you have to offer everything, and that’s just not true. I’m a big fan of picking a few things to do, and do those things well—I think ultimately, guests feel more taken care of that way, and you can serve things well, not haphazardly.” No alcohol calculator is gonna work for a bar that involves twenty kinds of booze. Work with a professional bartending service and your venue, unless you want to blow most of your budget on half the stock at your local liquor store.

This tutorial is all about the modified full bar and the beer and wine only bar. So if you’re wondering how to figure out how much alcohol you should have at your wedding, here are the steps.

Decide What You’re Serving

On the West Coast, a beer and wine only wedding is usually completely acceptable, especially if you also decide to offer a signature big batch cocktail or two, in addition, a few craft beers, or a selection of wines. On the East Coast, however, you may find the expectation is that there will be a full bar, or at least a modified full bar, and other regions of the country also have their own expectations around what will be served.

Here at APW, we’re big fans of the “do what works for you” school of thought, though, so take that generalization with a salted rim. As Nicky Beyries notes, “I think a beer and wine only bar can work really well for a wedding. If you choose to only offer beer and wine, it’s often much less complicated to navigate your venue’s rules and local liquor laws. I think it is more important to make sure that one, you have solid, easily accessible and recognizable options and, two, that you stock up more on each individual option. I have found that four distinct options is the sweet spot in either category: four beers and four wines,” so consider an array of choices if you’re not also offering hard liquor. Regardless, before you dive into calculations, decide what you actually want to serve to your guests, and then build out your plan from there, starting with our wedding alcohol calculator.

Stock Your Bar

You don’t need every mixer under the sun, or every booze known to man. Here’s what you want to make sure you have:

When picking alcohol to stock your bar, know your crowd. If your family is definitely going to want to hit the tequila, make sure you have tequila, plenty of limes, and salt on hand. A serious crowd of whiskey drinkers? Great, make sure to have more of that. And then, of course, you’ll need beer and wine for both a modified full bar or for a beer and wine only bar.

Modified Full Bar

Booze: Whiskey, gin, and vodka
Optional Booze: Rum and tequila (though these days, Gin might be optional and tequila might be required. But again, know your crowd.)
Mixers: Juice (usually orange or cranberry), soda (at least a cola), tonic water, and club soda
Garnishes: Lemons and limes

Beer and Wine Bar (And modified FULL bar)

Beer: It’s nice to select at least two types of beer to provide options; if you’re only offering beer and wine, Nicky Beyries recommends thinking about as many as four choices for variety, “Say, a pilsner, an amber, an IPA and a darker beer, whether a stout or a black lager.” You will also need to consider bottles versus a keg. Bottles can be more expensive, and some people feel the beer doesn’t taste as fresh. However, kegs require a tap system (either a pony keg or tap), which you’ll need to rent from the liquor store where you bought the keg. Also, keg leftovers are much harder to deal with and don’t keep for more than a day or two. As Nicky Beyries says, “I cannot recommend bottled and canned beer over kegged beer enough, it makes managing leftovers so much easier.”

Wine: You’ll need at least one red wine and one white, but you don’t need more than one varietal (or blend) of each, unless you want to have them. If you’re only serving beer and wine, it is nice to consider a few additional options; Nicky Beyries recommends “a sparkling, a white, a rosé, a red, or if you’re a wine-savvy group, add an additional white and an additional red.” Chase Osthimer notes that if you do decide to offer two reds or whites, make sure they are distinct. “A full-bodied cabernet sauvignon and a lighter pinot noir will work well together, just as a fuller chardonnay and a brighter sauvignon blanc will if you’re doing white wine.”

Bubbles (Optional): Cava from Spain, Prosecco from Italy, and sparkling wine from other non-Champagne regions are delicious, and they are almost always a better deal than French Champagne. If you’re going to serve bubbles as a toasting-only option, you want about 4–5 ounces per person, per toast. Also, you don’t have to do a bubbly toast, if you don’t want to. People can cheers with anything, and your marriage will still be official. Promise.

Use a Wedding Alcohol Calculator

In order to figure out how much to buy, you can use this handy wedding alcohol calculator. Just check the boxes of what you plan to serve, drop in your guest count and number of hours, and the alcohol calculator will tell you what to get—and then you can adjust according to your needs.


Do these wedding alcohol calculator ratios look off to you? Is your entire extended family comprised of people who exclusively drink beer, forever and always? Adjust for that! These ratios are a starting point, and won’t work for every group gathering. Here’s an example from a former APW staff member’s wedding.

Our friends and family are almost entirely beer or hard liquor drinkers. So for fifty people for two nights of drinking, we bought two kegs of beer, ten-ish bottles of liquor (not including liquor bought and brought by friends and family), and maybe three cases of wine. We had a case of leftover wine from the wedding on Sunday morning. The beer and liquor? Polished off by about 10PM on the second evening, a couple hours after our “official” wedding end time.

remember your time and location When Using your Wedding Alcohol Calculator

Generally, people will probably drink a little less at daytime weddings, so round down your numbers for a brunch or daytime wedding. Get one case less than the wedding alcohol calculator says to. Think about where you’ll be, when, and what the weather will be like when you are figuring out how much to get of each kind of alcohol. Think about what you would like to drink, and remember to consider your audience. During the summer, people will drink more chilled white or rosé wine, light beer, and bubbly, but in cold weather, more red wine and darker beers.

Some notes About Glassware

Size Matters
One thing to be aware of when selecting your glassware is how much a serving size really is, and what that will look like in the glasses you are using. Large glasses will encourage large servings, and that also goes for mason jars, most of which are a full pint. As Nickey Beyries notes, “There is a definitive trend for gigantic glasses lately. A two-ounce pour of whiskey (already generous) in a huge ten-ounce double rocks glass looks very, very small, so guests complain and bartenders over-pour to compensate. It creates a visual that can look stingy on the part of the hosts, even when it’s not at all! A full margarita would look small in that glass! Small, classy glassware is everyone’s friend, as it makes it seem like the staff are pouring generously and helps prevent guests from over-imbibing.” This is doubly true if your bar is self-serve, and if your bartender isn’t a pro. Wine glasses can run anywhere from eight to twenty ounces on average (the estimate of four glasses per bottle in the infographic equals about six ounces per serving, so keep that in mind).

Rentals, Disposables, Oh My

For everything you need to know about rentals, this is a great place to start. For your bar specifically, don’t stress out too much about a ton of different glasses. Nicky Beyries recommends “A full bar needs rocks glasses, a soda glass (just use a pint to double for folks that want a cold beer glass), and a wine glass. It’s very ‘in vogue’ to use a white wine glass for sparkling wines due to better effervescence, so you could easily just have a single all-purpose wine glass for all your wine selections.” For beer and wine only, one wine glass style and one beer glass are perfectly acceptable. If you’re doing disposables, compostable glassware is an easy, somewhat eco-friendly option. You can also try giving all your guests one glass, and encouraging them to use it for the whole party. If you do want to go this route, consider a creative way to mark each guests glasses as their own. (Or you know, kick it old school with red cups and a sharpie.)

discuss Signature Cocktails

If you are doing a signature cocktail, subtract one hour from your calculations. During cocktail hour, assume everyone’s drink will be the signature one, and make sure there’s enough for everyone to have it. Then, proceed with the numbers above, and calculate your signature drink separately. This works with either type of bar. Chase Daley, who specializes in signature cocktails, says “We typically create one cocktail inspired by each member of the couple. I always suggest something that will cover a wide spectrum: one clear spirit and one dark spirit, so you have variety.” For everything you need to know about batching cocktails, head right here, and for cocktail recipes designed for batching, consider this excellent book that you’ll be glad to reach for every time you throw a party (hint: it also makes a great gift).

(Non) Alcohol Calculator: For Kids and former bartenders

Every expert I talked to had strong opinions on making sure there were good non-alcoholic options, starting with offering plenty of water at self-serve stations. As Chase Osthimer notes, “Always always have water available for people to help themselves, preferably at more than one station. If people have to come to the bar for water, they get grumpy, the lines get long, the bartenders get backed up, and it’s really just a whole mess that can be easily solved with a simple drink dispenser and a stack of glasses.” Increasingly delicious non-alcoholic beverages are available, too, and it’s always nice to provide something for those who aren’t drinking. Nicky Beyries says “Non-alcoholic beverages are very, very popular, especially in the context of family gatherings such as weddings. I love to make fun non-alcoholic drinks and I take great joy in finding everyone something they can enjoy,” so don’t hesitate to talk to your bartender about figuring out a fun non-alcoholic option. Fancy sodas and flavored seltzer are everywhere now, and so great for people who don’t drink or people who just want to pace themselves. As far as the math, container sizes can vary so we couldn’t include them in our wedding alcohol calculator, but in general, aim for the same number of servings as you are getting for beer.

Communication is Key

It’s not as simple as using an alcohol calculator and calling it a day. Everyone I talked to also stressed the importance of communication between your bar staff, catering staff, and day-of coordinator. Chase Osthimer says that “There is really no such thing as over-communicating here. Put your caterer, bartenders, and planner in touch ahead of the event, since they will have a lot of things to work out that will make the day go much more smoothly.” Nicky Beyries agrees, and notes that a lot of coordination with catering can save time and make sure your guests get what they want. “Due to potential disconnects between the bar service and the catering staff, we don’t always know where to find the iced tea or what sort of coffee is available. I’m a huge fan of beverage stations—say, a coffee and tea station, multiple water stations, maybe a mocktail station, and any decent catering service would be happy to help you arrange for those. It’s about ensuring that you have a stress-free day and that all your guests can find something they will enjoy quickly.” Another moment when this kind of communication is key is during any toasts you may have planned. Chase Osthimer notes that “everyone, of course, will want to make sure they have a glass of something to toast with, so make sure your bartenders have a heads up from your planner or DJ so they can plan accordingly for a bar rush.”

get liability insurance (if you need it)

Photo by Kelly Benvenuto

If you’re providing your own alcohol, you’re likely not going to be covered by your caterer’s liquor liability policy. No one likes to think or talk about the potential for alcohol-related incidents, especially not at a wedding. However, if you’re serving people drinks and something awful happens, sadly, you could be on the line. If someone crashes a car, falls off a balcony, or damages the property, or if that underage third cousin sneaks some drinks and gets sick, etc., the hosts could be held liable. It’s terrible to think about it, but even worse to get sued. If the couple or parents are homeowners, they can usually put a rider on their homeowner’s policy for the event. Otherwise, there are tons of insurance companies that specialize in event insurance. (And note: plenty of people on staff have served booze at their wedding without insurance. But do as we say here,  not as we did.)

know your dram laws and state liquor laws

State liquor laws are archaic, and sometimes very strange. For example, it’s illegal to return alcohol in California (I found this out the hard/awesome way and have the cases of leftover bubbly to prove it), and in some states, you can’t buy alcohol on Sundays. Dram Laws also vary by state and determine who can be held liable in case of an accident. Because we can’t possibly predict what problems you can run into in each state, here is a website where you can check your state’s Dram Laws and make sure you have the necessary information.

What type of wedding alcohol calculator did you use? Did you get it right, run out, or have many cases of booze left over?

How big should my booze budget be?

If you’re anything like my group of friends on a Saturday night, a couple sacks of Goon should suffice. However, since we’re talking about a “fancy” wedding, maybe you’ll have to up the ante on this one. Here are some things to ask yourself when calculating your wedding alcohol budget.

Need help choosing what to buy? Here’s your beginner’s guide to wedding alcohol 

Are my friends booze hounds?

While it usually takes few good wines and a Jager bomb to do me in, I understand some people are capable of holding their liquor. Think about your booze hound friends – how many standard drinks would they typically consume in one night of boozing? If you have the type of friends who’ll drink all day, all night, and ferret among the trash in the morning for the dregs of beer left in discarded beer bottles, perhaps you’ll have to consider a larger booze budget.

If ‘down-it-Darren’ typically drinks 10(ish) beers in any one night, make sure there’s enough for him to do so without taking away from your other guests.

*Helpful hint – over-cater, and look for alcohol suppliers who allow returns on unopened cases.

DOWN IT, Darren!

Do I have mocktail friends?

Now, I’m not going to use the term ‘party pooper’ but… If grandma hasn’t touched a drop since the 80s, ensure there’s something for her other than water. Also, take these ‘mocktail’ friends into account when ordering alcohol. While half your guest list might go OTT with the drinking, the rest may only enjoy one or two drinks, if any at all. These are all things you have to consider when calculating your wedding alcohol (booze) budget.

*Helpful hint – provide plenty of water and ice (this isn’t an issue for venues with stocked bars)

This is how she’ll navigate through her phone while showing guests embarrassing photos of you.

What kind of event do I want?

If you want guests dancing on the tables, go wild! A great way to ensure this without spending TOO much is investing in harder liquor with a higher alcohol percentage that cuts down on quantity. However, if you’d prefer a more subdued, sophisticated soiree, perhaps invest more in champagne, or drinks with a lower alcohol content.

For reception venues with a bar, a good way to avoid drunkenness at your wedding is by placing a limit on the amount of free drinks. If you limit the ‘paid for’ drinks to three per person, guests will be more reluctant to abuse their consumption once they have to pay for it personally.

“Man, you need to play ‘It’s My Life’ by Bon Jovi again!”

How many drinks per person?

If the majority of your friends are heavy drinkers (no judgment), take this into account when calculating your booze budget. Say most guests will consume five drinks each, and you have 70 guests attending. Without taking into account the heavy boozers and mocktail friends, that’s 350 standard drinks you’ll have to provide.

*Helpful hint – look for bulk-buy specials at alcohol suppliers, and have a sober friend recruited to do bottleo runs in case booze runs low.

Drink in MODERATION, people.


If your wedding is in summer, guests will be more likely to suck back the beers. Make sure you consider this, and provide weather appropriate drinks. Beer and cider for summer, mulled wine for winter, for example.

Why do men always stand like this when holding beer?

Who’s providing?

While some venues offer a fully stocked bar, other venues allow BYO. It’s a good idea to consider this when choosing your reception venue as there are pros and cons for each, and potential differences in alcohol costs.

To avoid this dilemma entirely, some couples get guests to pay for their own drinks at the bar – though be wary of this option, as some consider it standard wedding etiquette to provide alcohol for guests. Don’t be a drag, man. At least warn your guests in advance if this is the case.

You want to drink at this wedding? That’ll be $20 thanks.

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How Much Should You Budget for an Open Bar at Your Wedding?

Whether you’re having a Long Island wedding or a Dallas wedding, alcohol is deeply intertwined with celebrations of all kinds, but especially when it comes to weddings. From the Champagne toasts to providing the liquid courage for your guests to hit the dancefloor, having alcohol at your wedding isn’t as much a consideration as it is a necessity.

Photo Credit // Carley K Photography

But this begs one important question: Are you planning to foot the bill for your guests to drink on the house? If you’re planning to have an open bar, there’s a lot to consider when determining a budget. How much should you expect the tab to come out to be? Here are aspects to consider when tabulating the potential costs.

From a cash bar to having a signature cocktail at the wedding reception, wedding alcohol, and mixed drinks can add an extra cost to your wedding budget. That’s why it’s important to know all the costs when putting on a cocktail hour or happy hour.

There are different lengths you can go when it comes to an open bar, like only covering certain types of booze or only offering a particular selection to begin with. In general, the full sweep includes Champagne, spirits, wine, and beer, as well as options for tee-totalers.

A good rule of thumb when calculating the cost per guest is to start by estimating how much they’ll drink over the course of your reception. How much does a mixed drink tend to cost in your locale? Does a good cocktail run $10 or upwards of $14? A guest is likely to drink more at the beginning of the reception, while their drink consumption is likely to taper off as the night unfolds. Do you expect them to drink two drinks an hour for the first hour or two and then one per hour as the night wears on?

As an example: If a fancy mixed drink costs $14, double that as the cost of their first hour. Multiply that by two to account for the first two hours and then add to that amount for each additional hour of your reception. With that as your basis, you can expect the cost per person to be between $70 and $84 for a four-hour reception. At the lower rate of $10 per mixed drink, a four-hour reception would likely average between $50 and $60 per person. Now multiply that number by the expected number of guests to get a better picture of how much your total open bar budget will be.

Potential Types of Open Bar

Photo Credit // Shutterstock

Full range of beer, wine, and spirits, including offering more expensive top-shelf liquor.

Full range of beer, wine, and spirits, but specifically limited to cheaper well liquor.

Specific Drinks

Another route you could explore is offering specific drinks that are themed to your wedding or special to you as a couple. As an example, guests would then have the option of selecting from four preset drinks, like a rose slushie or whiskey cocktail, that would be covered under your open bar. This will help with the open bar cost, plus add a fun twist like a signature drink.

Beer and Wine Only

Beer and wine are often cheaper than liquor. And under this banner you may also be able to check with the venue about bringing your own. Buying beer and wine by the case often results in wholesale discounts, which could considerably bring down the cost of your program, while supplying guests with the option of unlimited booze of that variety.

Open Bar for Certain Hours

If you’re expecting a lengthy reception and want to offer an open bar, but can only afford it up to a certain point, you have options. You can produce signage that alerts your guests that the open bar runs for certain hours of the reception, for example the first three hours—even if you expect your invitees to be tearing up the dance floor for at least six.

Other Considerations

Who’s Handling Bar Service

Will the venue provide a bartender? Will you hire your own? If you hire your own, that will allow you to decide the hourly rate and may help you avoid paying overhead that would otherwise go to the venue or coordinating agency.

How Will You Handle Gratuity?

Are you covering gratuity as a fee for the wedding bar service? Is it included in your bar package? If not, determine how you plan to calculate it. Similar to figuring out the cost per guest when determining your overall open bar costs, you can estimate a dollar per drink and multiply that by how many drinks you expect your guests to consume. Alternatively, there’s always the option to balance out your expenses connected to the open bar and make tipping directly available to your guests by placing tip jars at the bar top.

There are multiple factors to consider when budgeting out your open bar costs, from what’s on offer to the service and gratuity. By accounting for your guest size and length of reception, you should be able to navigate your way to a fair estimation of how much what you offer will cost. Then, you can either save for that amount or scale back accordingly to find a balance that fits your budget and treats your guests to unlimited libations.

Alcohol for a wedding wholesale – alcohol calculation from WineStreet

The catalog of alcoholic drinks of the WineStreet company is more than 2000 types of vodka, wine, cognac, champagne and other alcoholic beverages. From our assortment, you can easily select drinks for any menu and budget.

What to choose and how to calculate alcohol for a wedding?

The choice of alcoholic beverages depends on two main factors – the menu and the composition of the guests.

For the convenience of calculation and selection, we have made a convenient calculator.

Almost always at weddings, guests and newlyweds drink champagne. Depending on the budget, you can choose champagne of elite brands “Lev Golitsyn”, “Widow Clicquot”, “Imperial Cuvee Art Nouveau” or inexpensive varieties of domestic champagne: “Abrau-Durso” “Blanc de Blancs”, “St. Petersburg”.

If you want to add originality, champagne can be replaced with Italian sparkling wine.

Another traditional wedding drink is wine. Deciding which to buy: white, red, dry or sweet is best based on the menu for the banquet.

Strong drinks are best selected based on the preferences of most guests. Traditional options are vodka and cognac. More exotic alcoholic drinks such as whiskey, tequila, gin or rum can be put on the table if there are fans of such drinks among the guests or if you have a themed wedding.

How much alcohol to buy?

The optimal amount of alcohol depends not only on the number of guests, but also on the composition of the dishes and the nature of the holiday. It is better to calculate alcohol for a wedding with a margin, so you will avoid unnecessary expenses and will be able to adhere to the selected assortment.

You can read some practical tips for calculating alcohol for a wedding in an article from our blog.

Where to buy wholesale alcohol for a wedding?

A wedding is a bright and solemn event, and the quality of alcohol depends to a large extent on what impressions your guests will have.

The WineStreet company is the official partner of the leading producers and importers of alcohol. By purchasing alcohol from us, you can be sure of its authenticity and impeccable quality.

You can buy alcohol for a wedding from WineStreet in three ways:

  • Reserve through the shopping cart site,
  • by calling or writing to our managers,
  • in the “WineStreet” brand store.

How to calculate drinks and alcohol for a wedding (for a banquet)

Besides you, hardly anyone knows better what your guests are drinking.
Therefore, any formulas must be adapted to your guests. To do this, in the guest list, mark which of the guests drinks what.

The easiest way to do this is using a table. On the left you write the name and surname of the guest, and on the right, his preferences. (this table will help you later when ordering a menu).

If you have filled in this column, then the main work has already been done. From this plate, you can immediately see what needs to be purchased.

Alcohol at a wellness party (buffet reception)

While the guests are going to your holiday, they need to be fed and watered with something. Usually, in this case, a light buffet is organized

In the warm season

At the minimum, this is champagne and snacks.Now more and more often you can see a variety of options for alcohol.
Champagne can be replaced with cocktails, ice and beer containers, wine casinos and a lot of different variations.

Usually a buffet table is considered to be about 200-250 ml per person. (A bottle of sparkling wine for 3 people).

If serving beer, then 300-500 ml. (Naturally, when planning the volume, we take into account the table on drinkers and non-drinkers, which we made in the first step.

It is better to refuse strong alcohol at the buffet table.

Remember soft drinks.

Autumn, winter, early spring – hot alcoholic drinks such as mulled wine are excellent options.

We count alcohol for the banquet

Again we return to the list of guests, we cut off those who do not drink. We divide into men and women. We take into account preferences (if we know)

The average formula (when all preferences are unknown) is as follows:

  • Spirits (vodka, cognac, whiskey) -0.3-0.4 liters per person.(more often males), less vodka is consumed than whiskey
  • Wine is about 0.5-0.75 (1 bottle per person) in a ratio of 60% red and 40% white.
  • Champagne – approximately 0.5 liters per person per person. (slightly less than 1 bottle)
  • Water / soft drinks and juices approx. 2-3 liters per person. 90,043 (children should be included in the number of people for calculating soft drinks) (plain water (carbonated and non-carbonated) is usually a little more than sweet drinks,
    often restaurants, for their part, also include their fruit drinks and soft drinks in the mandatory menu.

Assortment and quantity of alcoholic beverages

It is better to take one or a maximum of 2 producers of wine (or other alcohol). The minimum number of types of one wine must be equal to the number of tables + at least 2 bottles of each type in stock.

There is no need to pour alcohol into decanters or other containers from the “native” container. The guest must see what he is drinking, what kind of alcohol it is.
But fruit drinks are best served in decanters.Juices in bags do not look very aesthetically pleasing on the table

On the table of the bride and groom, you can put personal alcohol, the one you prefer, without being tied to general purchases.

The sequence of serving alcoholic beverages at the wedding banquet

At the buffet during the gathering, it is better to serve champagne, water, juices, and leave wine and spirits for the banquet.

At the end of the evening, tea and coffee are served with the cake. It is almost impossible to calculate their cost in advance – guests will order their preferred drink themselves, and besides, not everyone stays until the end of the holiday.So don’t forget to budget for these costs.

On average, at prices, without buying something excessively expensive, but buying verified alcohol in a store in 2020 can be kept in the amount of about 800 rubles per person.

What else needs to be considered:

In autumn and winter, red wines are most often preferred, and white and rosés in summer.

Most people prefer dry wines, but there are some who like semi-sweet ones. (the average ratio is 70/30)

Not all wedding guests drink alcohol.Someone is driving, someone is in position, etc. The reasons may be different, but it is important that a replacement is found for them in the form of soft drinks.

When paying and booking the site, discuss with the administrator the conditions for storing drinks. (Champagne beer and vodka should be cold.) Warm champagne, hardly any of the guests wants.
The generally accepted temperature of wine when served on the table is 16-18 degrees, and the water should be different and cold and not very.

Conditions of the wedding venue

When choosing a venue, be sure to specify what conditions for drinks they offer.

Somewhere it is allowed to buy them yourself, some offer to order drinks for a certain amount, and bring the rest with you.
Specify whether you need to pay a cork fee at the site you have chosen and in what amount.

Find out if the site has the ability to maintain the desired temperature for alcohol. Nobody wants to drink warm champagne.

Alcohol for a wedding walk

Here I am writing about a wedding walk with guests, just take what you like for a walk together.

From experience, for a walk with guests, I would not recommend taking a lot of alcohol with you for a walk.

It is better to take a minimum amount of 0.4-0.5 liters of champagne for a walk per person.
If the walk is long, then you can take another 0.5 liters per person – white wine.
For a walk, especially in hot weather, it is imperative to take soft drinks, mostly water.
in the heat – 1 liter. per person, in normal weather up to 0.5 liters.

Alcohol, even if it is a little more and guests do not drink, you can always take it with you.

If you have any questions about organizing a wedding – call + 7-916-597-94-78

Or leave your message in one of the feedback forms on the site – I will definitely contact you.

Calculator for calculating alcohol for a banquet

Are you planning a banquet or buffet? Are you going to celebrate your birthday with friends, a long-awaited anniversary or take a grand walk at a wedding and do not know how to calculate the required amount of wines and spirits, as well as food for all guests? On the L-Wine website, using a special online calculator, you can easily calculate how much alcohol you have to take for a certain number of people.

The L-Wine team will free you from having to count on a piece of paper how many different alcohol you have to buy! It doesn’t matter what kind of event is planned, a wedding or an anniversary, the online alcohol calculator will calculate for you how much champagne to take, and how many spirits (whiskey, rum, vodka and more).

For the calculation to be most accurate, you will need to indicate the type of event (buffet for a birthday or anniversary, wedding or banquet), the time of the year in which it is planned, and calculate the approximate number of invited people – how many women will be among the guests, and how many men.The online calculator will also ask you for the duration of the event, the alcohol budget (excluding the food budget), and approximately how much alcohol your guests typically drink. And based on this information, he will calculate which drinks are to be bought for the event and in what quantity.

You do not have to rack your brains and calculate how many bottles of wine, champagne and other alcoholic drinks to take for your birthday, where there will be 30 people, 5 of whom usually prefer a glass of vodka to food.An online calculator will help you make all the calculations and advise which type of alcohol from the L-Wine portfolio is better to buy for your event.

You can count on our team of specialists! In the L-Wine portfolio, we have selected the best samples of a variety of alcoholic beverages: champagne, classic and authentic wines, as well as spirits, including cognac, whiskey, rum, vodka and much, much more).

90,000 How to correctly calculate the amount of alcohol for a wedding

Pay attention to all

When compiling a drink card, it is worth considering not only taste preferences.Check with your guests if they have individual diets, allergies, and if there are a lot of guests “driving” – take care of non-alcoholic beer, cider and other safe drinks.

If there are many children at the party, make up a separate children’s menu in advance and order a sufficient amount of juice, compote, lemonade.

Alcohol card

Wine and champagne are most often ordered for a wedding reception. For a banquet – wine, cognac, vodka, whiskey – drinks that go well with hot dishes.Let’s take a closer look at each item on this list.


Champagne is practically a symbol of a wedding celebration. Often, champagne is offered only at the ceremony and at the beginning of the wedding, for the first congratulations, so not so much is needed – 1 bottle per two people. A great option is Lambrusco, a light sparkling wine that is not produced in France but in Italy, and has a sweeter taste and a lower alcohol content.


Wine comes next in popularity. When choosing a wine color, consider the season, the appetizers on the tables, and your friends’ preferences.

On a hot summer day, it is better to stop at lighter white wines, and in the cold season to give preference to red ones.

If your menu includes fish dishes, chicken or mushrooms, serve them with white wine. Red wines are better suited to meat, and pink wines will be universal for any menu.Whichever variety you choose, all wines should be served chilled. Therefore, if you bring your own liquor to a restaurant, try to do it at least 4 hours before the start of the celebration.

If you are not sure about your choice, order red and white wines equally or add rosé as a compromise. It is better to choose semi-sweet and semi-dry wines, since dessert wines are not very suitable for the dense snacks we are used to, and dry varieties have too specific taste, and if you do not know the individual preferences of the guest, it will be difficult to guess.Many women prefer cocktails with vermouth and juice instead of wine, so discuss this alternative with your guests in advance.

As for the amount of wine at the festival – on average, a guest drinks about 1 bottle.


Beer is a popular alternative to the usual drinks list. If the celebration takes place in nature, why not please your friends? An interesting option would be craft beer, made according to an original recipe especially for a wedding and named after you.

It is better to put the keg with beer separately, so that everyone can pour themselves the required amount, and next to it it is worth setting a small table with beer snacks. It is better to entrust the delivery of chilled beer in kegs to specialized companies.

The average norm is approximately 1 liter of beer for each guest.

Strong alcohol

Cognac and other strong alcohol is especially popular among men. Most often, vodka is served on the table, less often – cognac, whiskey, gin or rum, but in this case you need to know for sure that there will be lovers of such drinks at the holiday.

When compiling the main menu, be sure to correlate the alcoholic list with the assortment of snacks. Vodka, whiskey and cognac snacks are completely different.

It is generally accepted that during the whole banquet a man drinks about half a liter bottle of strong alcohol, and a woman – half as much.

Non-alcoholic drinks

Soft drinks – mineral water, juice, lemonade, compote, uzvar – must be present on the guests’ tables.The assortment depends only on your imagination and the theme of the wedding. For example, for an event in the rustic style, you can make kvass, and for creating a national flavor, original solutions like ayran are suitable.

Soft drinks should be ordered at the rate of 1.5 liters per person.

How many boxes do you need?

The easiest way to find out the optimal number of drinks for ordering is to consult with the administrator of the establishment, saving yourself the hassle of calculating alcohol for a wedding.But you still have to figure out the preferences of your guests yourself.

If you want to save money on the purchase of alcohol or it gives you pleasure to personally control all the details of the upcoming holiday, you should use the calculations that we have prepared for you in the guide below.

If a buffet or banquet will last more than 4 hours, the calculation of alcohol for a banquet for one person looks like this:

  • Champagne – 0.5 l

  • Wine – 0.75 L

  • Strong alcohol – 0.5 l

  • Soft drinks – 1.5 l

These calculations are based on statistical sampling and do not take into account the gender, age, or special preferences of your guests.

Do not worry if you are not quite clear about how to calculate alcohol for a wedding. We offer several ready-made examples for a classic banquet for 30, 40 and 50 people:


  • Champagne – 15 l / 22 bottle

  • Wine – 23 l / 33 bottle

  • Strong alcohol – 15 l / 22 bottle

  • Soft drinks – 45L / 45 Bottles


  • Champagne – 20 l / 29 bottle

  • Wine – 30l / 43 bottle

  • Strong alcohol – 20 l / 29 bottle

  • Soft drinks – 60 l / 60 bottle


  • Champagne – 25 l / 36 bottle

  • Wine – 38 l / 55 but

  • Strong alcohol – 25L / 29 bottle

  • Soft drinks – 75 l / 75 bottle

This is a rough estimate, so we recommend adding + 10% to the total for each category.This will help to anticipate different moments: broken bottles, the action of fresh air or particularly demanding guests))

Number of snacks per buffet

A separate issue is always the number of snacks for a buffet table. The easiest way to find out the optimal amount is to consult with the administrator of the institution.

Here are some approximate calculations that you can focus on yourself:

A maximum of 8 types of snacks, sweet and non-sweet, are sufficient for variety.And 5 types of snacks per person are enough for each guest to have a snack before the banquet begins. For example: 50 guests x 5 types of snacks for each = 250 pcs. We divide it into 8 types and it turns out that about 30 pieces will be enough for each type, and not 50 according to the number of guests.

Sweets in the amount of 100 g per person, nuts – 50 g per person, fruits and cheeses – 100 g per person.

We recommend adding + 10% to the total. This will help to anticipate different points: spoilage during transportation, the effect of fresh air on the guests’ appetite and particularly popular snacks.For example, you can order 30% more snacks with shrimps and red caviar))

What else is worth remembering

After you have finished calculating alcohol for the wedding, do not rush to immediately go to the store and read a few additional recommendations:

  • Consider the season. This is important when drawing up a wedding menu and bar map. In winter, guests will prefer strong alcohol, while in summer it is better to order more white wine and iced cocktails.

  • Party on the street. When planning an outdoor party, keep in mind that both drinks and snacks fly away much faster outdoors than indoors.

  • Buy alcohol from wine stores. It is better to buy alcohol in specialized stores, especially since many of them provide discounts on wedding orders and you can significantly reduce the budget for this column, as well as protect yourself from fakes.Don’t be surprised, but these stores also offer “seasonal discounts”. Alcohol is exactly the kind of product that you can buy in advance.

  • Korging. Be sure to ask the restaurant where you plan to hold the banquet, how much will it cost to open a bottle of “your” alcohol, the so-called “corking”. Now the price ranges from 100 to 250 UAH per bottle or 10% of the cost of the entire banquet. Therefore, buying drinks on your own may not always be a profitable solution.

  • Try everything before ordering. Yes, if you are in doubt about any brand of wine or whiskey, buy one bottle first and taste at home or with friends.

  • Agree with the administrator. When purchasing alcoholic beverages on your own, try to hand them over to the restaurant administrator in advance so that everything has time to cool down properly. Be sure to draw up a handover deed by handwriting the list and signing both parties.

The easiest way to find out the optimal number of drinks for ordering is to consult with the administrator of the establishment, saving yourself the hassle of calculating alcohol for a wedding

And, perhaps, the most important advice: choose, buy and take alcohol to the restaurant IN ADVANCE ! This is one of the few wedding items that can be done ahead of time.On the evening before the ceremony, you should be in exciting anticipation, and not worry about who will bring and unload alcohol.

Do you want to avoid unnecessary expenses and not order alcohol and food for future use? Not sure where to start preparing for your wedding in order to save as much as possible? Create your own wedding website with the constructor . It will help you easily find out the number of guests and their preferences and contraindications, which, in turn, will save your budget from buying extra portions of food and alcohol.A wedding planner will not give you the opportunity to turn wedding planning into a friendly conversation between guests and wedding professionals, unlike a website. Organizing a wedding in today’s cutting-edge technology should be fun and easy, so why not use an interactive tool like this?)

Author: Olga Zalata, service for creating wedding sites OneLovestory

Photos taken from open source Pinterest

90,000 How to calculate your wedding budget?



Low: for those who are willing to compromise and who value quality with a minimal wedding budget.

Medium: for those who are accustomed to high service and are looking for the best value for money.

High: for those who love the best and do not accept compromises.

The OT price includes:
wedding banquet at the selected venue (no alcohol)

• rent of the venue

• wedding gala dinner: buffet table + menu + soft drinks. The dinner check depends on the number and cost of the selected menu items

• service 10%

• cork alcohol service charge: storage, loading alcohol into the restaurant, bringing to the desired serving temperature, preparing and rubbing glassware (up to 5 units for each guest), opening bottles and working with serving guests with alcohol during a banquet)

The cost of DO includes:
includes everything the same as in “from”, and the cost varies depending on the conditions of the chosen site

at low budget

with an average budget

with a high budget

with a low budget

with an average budget

with a high budget

In a castle / mansion:

with a low budget

with an average budget

with a high budget

Basic part of the decor:

from 110,000 rub.up to 250,000 rubles, with a low budget

from 250,000 rubles. up to 450,000 rubles, with an average budget of

from 460,000 rubles. up to 1,200,000 rubles, with a high budget


Lighting equipment:

Show program:

Cover group with sound:

First dance staging:

from 205,000 rubles, with a low budget

from 360,000 rub. up to 482,000 rubles, with an average budget of

from 500,000 rubles.up to 662,000 rubles, with a high budget

from 120,000 rubles up to 150,000 rubles, with a low budget

from 155,000 rubles up to 195,000 rubles, with an average budget of

from 195,000 rubles. up to 240,000 rubles, with a high budget


Presenter of the ceremony:

Sound equipment:

Snow-white confetti:

Umbrellas in case of rain:

from 31,000 rubles. up to 41,000 rubles.


Hotel number:

from 16 000 rub.up to 40,000 rubles

Car for the bride and groom:

Helicopter for the bride and groom:

Minibus for guests:

from 12,500 rubles. up to 40,000 rubles


from 34 000 rub. up to 84,000 rubles

(bridal bouquet, styling, dress, suit, boutonniere, shoes, garter, cape, rings, gloves, veil, manicure and pedicure)


from 10,000 rubles. (1 coordinator for a budget event), we take 10% of the services, we provide the site for free and we are looking for it)

from 844,000 rubles.up to 2,036,000 rubles

P.S. The wedding budget can change both up and down, depending on your wishes and possibilities. The calculation is for informational purposes, to get the exact amount, leave a request and we will contact you and calculate the exact amount.

Wedding alcohol – YesYes will help you calculate

The restaurant has been selected, the guest list has been approved. So, on the agenda is a topical question: how much alcohol do you need for a wedding? Having miscalculated with the quantity, you can get into an awkward situation or turn a beautiful holiday into a real chaos.To prevent this from happening, we will help you figure out what and in what quantities to buy.

Alcohol at a wedding: how to calculate the amount?

In any restaurant where special events are held, a banquet menu will be opened in front of you, with approximate calculations of the required amount of food and drinks per person. But as you yourself understand, you won’t be able to blindly multiply the recommended numbers by the number of your guests! First, let’s figure out what affects the amount of alcohol consumed at a wedding.

1 The main factor is the number of people invited to the wedding. Obviously, more guests – more toast!

2 Age categories: children, youth, adults and the older generation. At a youth wedding, alcohol can be represented by cocktails, punches and shots. There are more nondrinkers among the elderly.

3 Seasonality. In the cold season, strong drinks will be held in high esteem, but in the summer, focus on champagne and light wines.

4 Banquet venue. In the fresh air, it is easier to work up an appetite, including “alcoholic”.

5 Duration of the holiday. A classic banquet lasts 6 hours, and therefore the recommended calculations assume a feast of this duration. If your banquet will take longer, or, conversely, the end is planned earlier – consider this!

Now take a close look at the Guest List and try to assess their preferences. You and your fiancé, you know what your relatives and friends like.Do not forget that alcohol at the wedding should be varied:

  • strong drinks: vodka / cognac / whiskey / rum;
  • wines: white and red;
  • champagne;
  • additionally on request: liqueurs, vermouths, etc.


The signature drink of a wedding celebration – there should be plenty of it. Champagne is drunk at the ransom (if you spend it), in the registry office and on a walk. You need to buy from the calculation (for one person):

  • 1 glass at the end of the redemption
  • 1 glass at the registry office
  • 2-3 glasses during a walk

Summing up and get – 4-5 glasses of champagne for one person.

Calculation formula: the number of glasses (above), multiply by the number of guests and divide by 5. The resulting number is the minimum number of bottles of champagne. Why exactly divide by 5? Because a standard bottle consists of 5 medium glasses (150 ml).

At the banquet, guests tend to prefer stronger drinks. But champagne is indispensable on the tables. For these purposes, additionally take 2 times fewer bottles than in the previous calculation.


Red wine is preferable at a wedding, but you shouldn’t forget about white.The recommendations of experienced restaurateurs are as follows: 40% white wine and 60% red. Buy 1 bottle for each woman.

In most cases, guests choose:

  • red wine: semi-sweet, semi-dry;
  • white wine: dry, semi-dry;
  • champagne: white semi-sweet.


When it comes to vodka, the arithmetic is simple – 1 bottle for 2 people (two men). And if you want to pamper guests with an assortment, the proportions should be as follows: 60% vodka and 40% cognac / whiskey / rum.A youth wedding will require the opposite ratio (40/60%).

Be sure to calculate the stock. The situation when the alcohol at the wedding comes to an end is extremely unpleasant, so increase the numbers obtained by about 20%.

Discuss the evening program with the host. How often will toasts be toasted and how many musical breaks are planned? Interesting entertainment will definitely distract you from alcohol! Read our article “How to entertain guests at a wedding?”

Now you can open the Budget and enter how much alcohol you need to buy for the wedding.We wish the holiday to be fun and easy!

Hall “Yacht” up to 20 persons

Restaurant for a wedding, a banquet hall for an anniversary, a corporate party – a banquet with your own alcohol in a restaurant in the center of Moscow!

Hall “Yacht” leaves no one indifferent. Hall-imitation of the deck of a sailing boat. Decor elements and interior details organically fit into the general concept of the hall, designed to give your holiday a special grace and intimate atmosphere.

  • number of seats – up to 20
  • Sofa area
  • Multiplayer
  • Possibility of additional installation of professional light and sound
  • air conditioning
  • Possibility of combining with the saloon-saloon
  • Welcome Zone

Banquet hall for up to 20 people in the “Wheel of Time” restaurant – “Yacht” Hall – ideal for a banquet; ideal for seating 20 people at a banquet with seating arrangement or for holding a buffet table.Seating in the hall is possible at your request. A separate hall for the most popular banquets in Moscow for an average of 20 people, so that there is a place perfect for wedding banquets, anniversaries, holding graduation parties and classmates’ meetings, small corporate parties.

This banquet hall is a hall with its own flavor and special atmosphere. There really is something to surprise the guests, for there is everything you need. The interior of the hall is decorated in light pastel colors. It has both overhead lighting and soft dim lighting.The ceilings are high and under the roof of the building.

There is an air conditioner in the hall, there are plasma screens, there will be music, karaoke, and dancing at the banquet. The restaurant manager can invite the host of the feast or any artists to your celebration to entertain the guests. This cozy banquet hall is very suitable for intimate weddings for up to 20 people. The hall has its own charm, however, for a wedding celebration, the banquet hall can be decorated with flowers, balloons, inviting decorators.

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