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Ultimate Wedding Alcohol Calculator For Your Reception


If you are planning a wedding party, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. Oh, the number of things you need to keep in mind! One of the problems that arise when you are planning a reception is trying to figure out how much alcohol you are going to need. As any other detail of your Big day, your wedding booze needs careful planning. Our wedding alcohol calculator can help you out.

Use A Wedding Alcohol Calculator For Average Drinkers

First of all, tastes may vary, but on average your DIY wedding bar for 100 guests should include:

  1. 70 bottles of wine,
  2. 175 bottles of beer,
  3. 15 bottles of liquor,
  4. 20 bottles of champagne.

150 guests will most probably require

  1. 105 bottles of wine,
  2. 266 bottles of beer,
  3. 22 bottles of liquor,
  4. 30 bottles of champagne.

200 guests will consume

  1. 140 bottles of wine,
  2. 350 bottles of beer,
  3. 30 bottles of liquor,
  4. 40 bottles of champagne.

Let’s take a look at some other things that can help you organize a great self-serve bar at a wedding.


Choose Your Bar

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Despite the statistics, let’s try to break up numbers and discuss the average cost of alcohol for a wedding. It might be not specified on the guide on how to plan a wedding, but first, choose the type of the bar.

  • An open bar is an approach your guests would appreciate the most. Open bar wedding cost can be a bit over the top, though – guests don’t pay for anything, which means some of your guests might get completely drunk. If you know a friend who can indulge too much – warn the bartender in advance.
  • The Limited Bar offers a selection of drinks at specific times: the cocktail hour, the toasts and during dancing.
  • The Cash Bar is quite a bad option, where the guests pay for everything.
  • A Dry House will do if you are sure your friends and family don’t drink alcohol. Serve non-alcohol beverages instead: soda, juice, water, tea etc.


Think How Long Your Reception Will Go On?

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When you are trying to calculate, how much beer for a wedding you are going to need, keep in mind several things.

First of all, the total amount of alcohol depends on how long your reception lasts. So before you start your estimations, you need to understand the length of the party.

On average, a wedding reception lasts about 5 hours. Usually, wedding planners assume that guests will have 2 drinks in the first hour of the open bar, and 1 additional drink each following hour. Also, it is wise to add 1 more drink for situations when guests misplace their drink while dancing. So it brings our numbers to 7 drinks per person for a 5-hour event. Of course, it is possible that some people will not drink at all, or drink less than expected – but we recommend to stay safe.

Wine bottles will make great gifts in case you have some left, and it is better to have more than to worry that you didn’t order enough.


Calculate How Many Drinks Come in a Bottle

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Trying to figure out how much wine for a wedding and using a wedding alcohol calculator, keep in mind the average size of a drink.

It’s easy to calculate the number of bottles you have to provide if you want to keep your guests happy. Usually, one bottle of wine is approximately 5 drinks (750 ml bottle). One bottle of champagne equals 8 glasses, while one bottle of hard liquor will make around 18 drinks (750 ml bottle). And of course, one bottle of beer is one serving.

Also, don’t forget, that drinks do not pour themselves! Beer is easiest to serve if you are wondering how to serve alcohol at a wedding without a bartender. An open bar requires at least one bartender to pour wine, liquor, and champagne, a limited bar needs a couple of waiters to serve drinks, while a cash bar will require regular bar staff from the venue.


Decide On Variety Of Alcohol You Want To Have

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Another thing to consider is your wedding liquor list. There are several options you can offer: a full bar, where you offer wine, beer and a variety of mixed drinks, or you can serve wine and beer only.

A full bar is a more costly option, as apart from the liquor, which is expensive by itself, there are also mixers. Whatever you choose, remember, that people usually drink the heaviest the first 2 hours of a party.

Also, it’s nice to know that in hot weather people drink more white wine than red, and more beer than mixed drinks. On average, for every liter of hard liquor, you need 3 liters of mixers like soda, juice etc. Also, the more mixed drinks you serve, the more ingredients you’ll need on hand, so if you want to be frugal, keep it simple and limit the varieties. If you are going to play drinking games, make sure you have all the ingredients.

  1. Make A List What To Buy: Alcohol And Mixers To Stock Your Bar

If you don’t want to complete your bar with every booze known to man, here’s the basic list you need:

It’s nice to have some kind of background for your bar ideas for wedding, some data to rely on. If you are serving a full bar, your diy wedding bar shopping list for 100 guests would most probably include:

  1. Beer: 6 cases
  2. Whiskey: 1 liter
  3. Bourbon: 1 liter
  4. Gin: 2 to 3 liters
  5. Scotch: 2 liters
  6. Rum: 2 liters
  7. Vodka: 6 liters
  8. Tequila: 1 liter
  9. Champagne: 2 cases
  10. Red wine: 2 cases
  11. White wine: 3.5 cases
  12. Dry vermouth: 1 liter
  13. Sweet vermouth: 1 liter

If you think this list is too much, try a different one – for 100 guests you would need:

  1. 70 bottles of wine (35 bottles of red, 23 bottles of white, 12 bottles of sparkling)
  2. 175 bottles of beer
  3. 15 bottles of liquor (750 ml): 6 bottles of vodka, 4 bottles of whiskey, 2 bottles of gin, 2 bottles of tequila, 1 bottle of rum
  4. 20 bottles of champagne



  1. Tonic: 1 case
  2. Club soda: 1 case
  3. Cranberry juice: 2 gallons
  4. Orange juice: 1 gallon
  5. Grapefruit juice: 1 gallon
  6. Ginger ale: 1 case
  7. Triple sec: 1 liter
  8. Lime juice: 1 gallon
  9. Sparkling water: 2 cases
  10. Bottled water: 3 cases
  11. Diet coke: 2 cases
  12. Coke: 2 cases

Now all you need to do is to decide where to buy alcohol for a wedding, and voila! Also, don’t forget to buy ice, ice buckets, ice chests or coolers, stir sticks, glassware, if your venue doesn’t provide it, garbage bins and bags. You might also need sliced lime, cherries, olives, and other ingredients if you are going to serve mixed drinks.

Making a DIY wedding bar can seem quite frustrating at first, but in reality, it only requires several simple calculations. Do not forget, that all the numbers above are nothing but statistics – you know your guests better. So feel free to change the numbers as you see them.