• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO
Food and Cakes

Booze

Hi there! I'm hoping for some thoughts on my alcohol calculations for our wedding. We are purchasing our own booze and I am very nervous about getting it right. I will start by saying we are inviting 120 of-age guests, expecting around 100 to actually come. We are serving beer and wine only and will have a champagne toast. I am trying to overestimate because we do have some heavy drinkers in our group.

I figured at a 3-4 oz pour for champagne toast we would need about 20 bottles - 125 servings.

We are doing a self-serve cocktail "hour" - will be slightly less than that time-wise. Our wedding party and families will be taking pictures at this time so there will only be about 80 in attendance. I was thinking 2 cases of beer and 2 of hard cider which we are using as a fruitier alternative. Plenty of soft drinks of course.

Our reception is going to be 5 hours long. We went over our guest list and figured we are split about 50/50 between beer and wine drinkers. I was thinking 2 kegs of beer (about 330 servings) plus 4 cases of cider (96 servings). We are planning on one light and one medium style beer for our kegs.

As for wine I was figuring 75 bottles - that is 375 servings figuring for a 5oz. pour. We have a very kind aunt donating a case of mixed, plus I was figuring for 2 red, 2 white, a rose plus a few more odds and ends to get up to the 75 mark.

My thoughts right now are that I am actually overestimating - which does not bother me so much because we don't mind having leftovers. However, I just don't even want to think about running out. Has anyone out there purchased their own alcohol for a similar number of people for a beer and wine only affair? Also, does the variety sound good? We feel bad about not offering mixed drinks but we really can't afford it. Thanks in advance!

Re: Booze

  • I think you might be underestimating a bit actually (unless my math is off which is entirely possible). A good rule of thumb is 2 drinks/person for the first hour and a drink an hour after that. 

    So if you have a cocktail "hour"+5 hours for 120 people (always assume everyone you invite will attend) you'll need 240 servings for the first hour (120x2) plus 600 servings for the remaining five hours (120x5) for a total of 840 servings. If you're evenly split beer and wine drinkers you'll need 420 beer servings and 420 wine servings. Then divide that up accordingly. 

    Also, it's been my experience people drin quicker during cocktail hour than they do the rest of the evening for I doubt 2 cases of beer and 2 cases of cider will be enough, even if you exclude the wedding party in the calculation. 
    poodledoodleooo
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Nix the champagne toast.  Total waste of money. Let people toast with whatever is in their hand.   If you still want champagne have it at the bar.  

    The average guest drinks 1.5 drinks per hour the first 2 hours and then 1 per hour after that.     Or if your my social group it's more like 2.5 per hour for the first 2 hours and 2 per hour after that.  

    2 cases of beer is only 48.  Not even 1 for everyone, let alone more for those who will drink more.








    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    CMGragainernursejsouthernbelle0915
  • ei34ei34 member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Not even going to attempt to do the math, which PP have covered anyway, but will there also be wine at the cocktail hour?  Just asking as a non-beer/cider-drinker. 
    And I know the cocktail hour is self-serve, is the reception as well?  Definitely budget in a bartender, because when left to their own devices, some guests might pour themselves more than a 5oz glass of wine (unless the glasses you're using are like 6oz).
  • Also wanted to point out - if people are self-serving they won't be giving themselves 4-5 oz pours of wine. I'd estimate 3-4 glasses per 750ml bottle of wine, not 5. Closer to 3 if the glasses are large and 4 if they aren't.
    STARMOON44
  • Sorry, the reception will have a bartender. Cocktail hour is at another location which is why we're doing self serve and I wanted everything in single serve bottles for that reason. Do you have any suggestions for something else that is packaged like this? I wasn't too sure about self-serve with wine.   
  • Okay, so by the "average" math I think I am planning for just enough... I think our guests are a little over the average drinker mark haha. I will have to plan at least another case of wine and possibly an extra keg? Thanks for the help!
  • I'm providing all the booze too and I have stress dreams of running out. I'm in the UK so I don't know if you have a similar option available wherever you are in the world, but we have a local shop that offers sale or return on boxes/cases. Our plan is that we are buying what we think we need from france (thank the lord for that cheap European wine!), then buying some extra contingency booze just in case. If its used, great at least we had it, if it isn't then we'll return it after the wedding. I think it's worth it for that extra piece of mind.
                 
  • You are way, way, way under for cocktail hour.  You don't even have one drink for each guest.  Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable with any less than 3 beverages per person.  If your people are above-average drinkers I would go with 4 beverages per person to be safe.  One drink every 15-20 minutes seems perfectly reasonable during a time specifically devoted to drinking and socializing.  

    I would also up the quantities for the dinner and dancing portion, although they aren't as far off as the cocktail hour numbers.  Right now I would say this part of the night falls into "maybe just enough, maybe not quite enough," and if I were you I would want to give myself more cushion than that.  Think how awful you would feel if the drinks ran out partway through.
    poodledoodleooo
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I agree to save yourself the money on the champagne toast- put towards the beer and wine. Champagne is polarizing- people either like it or they don't.

    Beer and wine only are fine.

    Is self serve liquor allowed in your area? I agree that you should offer both beer and wine during cocktail hour, but I don't have any great ideas on the wine front. I would probably go with boxed wine for this portion, as less issues with opening various bottles or dropping and breaking a glass wine bottle.

    Are you allowed to return un-opened cases/bottles to your local liquor store? That is always the best way to go, and then definitely order more than enough.
  • I've always heard the general rule of thumb of two drinks the first hour, one drink every hour after that per person.  That pretty much lines up with I generally drink at a wedding.  You also have to remember that people who you think are "average" drinkers and people who you think are "light drinkers" tend to let loose with that on festive occasions.  I barely average one drink a week during a normal week - I may have one or two drinks out a restaurant once a month, but I can throw them back like nobody's business at a wedding or other festive party, especially with dancing involved.

    I would up it and purchase your alcohol from somewhere that will let you return unopened cases.  If your budget is too tight for that, I would absolutely nix the champagne toast and put your money towards more beer, cider, and wine.  Actually, I would recommend nixing it no matter what.  I have never seen a champagne toast with less than 2/3rds of the glasses sitting mostly full at the end of the night.  It is money down the drain for something that a lot of people just don't like and will only give a polite sip of out of courtesy because you passed it to them.  I would just let people toast you with whatever drink they have in their hand.

    If you do keep the champagne toast, I would not calculate that as one of the drinks you expect people to have if you're going off of the rule above or an alcohol calculator.
    charlotte989875
  • You can buy cans of wine, which would help at cocktail hour. 
  • Okay, so by the "average" math I think I am planning for just enough... I think our guests are a little over the average drinker mark haha. I will have to plan at least another case of wine and possibly an extra keg? Thanks for the help!
    I would plan for way more than 'just enough'.

    We got soft drinks and water at Sam's, cases of wine at Trader Joes and 3 kegs plus 2 signature cocktails and had leftovers.  I would rather spend the money and have too much than to run out for planning just enough.  And to be honest, I was glad that we had leftovers because then I had a fully stocked bar after our wedding!
    Anniversary
  • kylexokylexo Finger Lakes, NY member
    500 Love Its Third Anniversary 100 Comments Name Dropper
    We did this too and have so much leftover alcohol!

    What we got:
    6 cases of Trader Joes wine
    1 barrel bud light & a half barrel
    1/6 barrel of local IPA
    1/6 barrel of local pale ale
    1/6 barrel of strongbow cider
    2 handles worth of gin-based batch cocktail
    2 handles worth of bourbon based batch cocktail

    What was left over:
    4 cases of wine
    1/2 barrel of bud light (untapped!)
    1/2 handle of gin based batch cocktail

    this is for approx 90 drinking age guests, with a large number of them being late 20s/early 30s, relatively heavy drinkers. I was SHOCKED at how much was left over!
  • Go bigger than you think you need! We had a little less than 100 of age drinkers at our wedding, we went through 2 kegs, 2 cases of Budweiser (one guest ONLY drinks Budweiser cans) and four cases of wine. This was even with some guests leaving our venue and walking up to the bar in another part of the lodge to get mixed drinks. The wine was about 50/50 red and white, one keg was light beer, the other was a microbrew. Remember to estimate more than you think people will drink because half full cups will get left and new ones poured, I know for me there were probably 3 glasses of wine I had that ended up not finished and swept away.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Thank you everyone for your advice! We got great news - all unopened cases/ untapped kegs can be returned. We went big! I ordered 10 cases of wine and am very happy with the variety - 1 rose, 2 reds, 2 whites. I opted to nix the champagne toast as suggested but still got 2 cases to offer at the bar and at the rehearsal dinner. A very generous aunt also gifted us 2 mixed cases to use at cocktail hour. We are set on wine!

    I am concerned about our variety when it comes to beer. We have committed to 2 kegs of bud lite and 1 of yuengling (medium body lager very popular in our friend group). Is this an acceptable variety? We chose to nix the cider option as well after talking to a friend who offered it at her wedding and said it was unpopular. I would appreciate feedback if it is acceptable to offer 2 beers, or if we should try to do another or another bottled option. Thanks!
  • Thank you everyone for your advice! We got great news - all unopened cases/ untapped kegs can be returned. We went big! I ordered 10 cases of wine and am very happy with the variety - 1 rose, 2 reds, 2 whites. I opted to nix the champagne toast as suggested but still got 2 cases to offer at the bar and at the rehearsal dinner. A very generous aunt also gifted us 2 mixed cases to use at cocktail hour. We are set on wine!

    I am concerned about our variety when it comes to beer. We have committed to 2 kegs of bud lite and 1 of yuengling (medium body lager very popular in our friend group). Is this an acceptable variety? We chose to nix the cider option as well after talking to a friend who offered it at her wedding and said it was unpopular. I would appreciate feedback if it is acceptable to offer 2 beers, or if we should try to do another or another bottled option. Thanks!

    do you have any gluten free guests? Cider will work for them, though I guess wine also works (I don't really know much about gluten free :)). I think yuengling tends to be a popular beer (also among my circle), but I don't think an IPA or something heavier could hurt. 
  • I think you're all set on quantity and variety 
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards