Wedding Wine Calculator
You’re getting married! Congratulations, Mazel Tov, cheers and best wishes! Now you get to plan a wedding (“the best part” - said no one ever) which comes with a lot of questions, a few meltdowns and a LOT of time deciding what’s gonna work within your budget. More than likely, you are going to need some alcohol, and not just for your late night seating arrangement planning, but also for you and your guests on the big day! What’s a wedding without a few rowdy but heartfelt toasts to the happy couple? Here are some helpful tips and suggestions to help you get your party started.
You’ll want to communicate with your event site and caterer to see what your bar options are. Some venues provide both bar service and alcohol, and charge a flat per person rate for an open bar. Another option is a pay as you go bar tab, that you can cut off when you reach a certain amount. But if you have the option to have a DIY bar with bartenders you hire to pour for your reception, you will have to purchase the alcohol for the entire event.
But how much are you going to need? I mean, your best friend can finish off a bottle of prosecco by herself within an hour long episode of The Bachelor, but your great aunt Susan has been booze free since ‘73. So, short of reaching out and asking each guest just how lit they plan to get, what’s a bride to do?! Never fear, there are some pretty solid rules of thumb that will help you solve the mystery at hand and stay within your budget without having to send your groomsmen to the liquor store mid reception because you ran out of wine.
Whether you’re worried about your guests over doing it or just trying to stay on budget, it’s definitely not necessary to offer hard alcohol at your reception. Providing beer and wine is fine, especially since according to retailers Total Wine and BevMo, 70-80% of guests prefer beer and wine anyway. Of those guests, about 60% will drink wine and 40% will drink beer. For your wine menu, it is customary to offer one sparkling wine, one white wine and one red wine. A good rule of thumb for the amount of wine to buy is to assume each guest will consume about two glasses for the cocktail hour and one glass per hour every hour after that. If you plan to do a champagne toast, you will need about 13 bottles for every 100 guests.
If you’re having a hard time wrapping your head around those numbers, we’ve included a video with helpful hints to help you avoid the pitfalls of a DIY bar. And if all else fails, err on the side of too much. Most wine has a shelf life of several years, plenty of time to work your way through any excess bottles you may have to take home at the end of the night.