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Introduction: The Secrets Of Wedding Alcohol

To ensure the party never ends!

Bridebook.co.uk- guests toasting during reception
By Guy Hearn

After you’ve walked down the aisle and married your best friend, the biggest party of your life will begin – wahooo! One thing to get straight (and it’s very important) is how much booze to buy for all your thirsty guests!

You don’t want to underestimate or overestimate your alcohol amounts – what a conundrum. First up, you need to decide whether you want to provide an open bar or cash bar? Or maybe you want to serve signature cocktails or just a selection of tipples? Don’t panic, we are here to help you answer all of these questions!

Let’s start with measures:

  • A bottle of liquor contains 30 singles or 15 doubles.
  • A bottle of wine contains 5 glasses.
  • A keg of beer contains 165 can servings or 124 pints.
  • A bottle of champagne contains 6 glasses.

So how do you break down the alcohol ratios? Well, as a general wedding rule, wine tends to be the more popular option, followed by beer, then spirits. However, always consider your audience! If you or your partner are Irish for example, lots of whisky and Guinness can be a great touch. Also bear in mind the seasons – for a hot wedding in the summer, almost no one will go for red wine, instead slurping down white wine, champagne or light beer. Similarly, during winter, more people will drink red wine and darker beers.

Bridebook.co.uk- champagne flutes on a tray
By Guy Hearn

Now the big question – do you offer an Open or Cash bar?

Open Bar (Full or Limited selection)

For a full bar (if you have a bit more budget to spend) we advise you to provide: white, red and sparkling wines, one light and one dark beer. If you can stretch to it, also include spirits.  It is important to remember a wedding is a full day affair so spirits (especially shots) can push people a bit too far so we would recommend a premixed cocktail (perhaps named after yourselves) as the best way to serve spirits at a wedding. And of course do not forget soft drinks and water. (We recommend a mixture of sodas and at least two juices).

Cash Bar

If you are on a tight budget or don’t like the sound of a full bar, offer your guests a cash bar. This way, guests can drink exactly what they want and you won’t need to worry about buying everything in advance.  If you are able to put some money towards the champagne for speeches, this would be much enjoyed – cheers!

Bridebook.co.uk- bride reaching for a watermelon cocktail
By Guy Hearn

Now as for alcohol per guest:

  • You should generally allow for two drinks per hour per person during the drinks reception and one drink per hour from then on.
  • Always order 10-15% extra so that no matter what, you don’t run out of alcohol. You can always have a post-honeymoon celebration – just to keep the party going for longer!
  • Don’t forget to budget for soft drinks and mixers for 25% of the guests.
  • Click here to use Naked Wines’ ingenious Wedding wine calculator if the maths is too much! 

We know that some of the alcohol amounts may sound smaller than expected, but remember that for every colleague who loves a martini, you will have an aunt who will only drink the one glass of champagne, and that some of your guests do not drink at all. In fact, we strongly advise that you do your best to buy any booze on sale or a return if unopened basis, as then you can just relax.

Bridebook.co.uk- eat drink and be married sign on table
By Weddings Vintage

Happy Planning!

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