How much wine do you need for a wedding of 80, 100 or 120 guests?
A key question that rightly pops up time and again is “how much wine do we need for our wedding day”? The short answer of course is that it varies. In the below post we’ll try and set out some standard rules for getting a gist of what you’ll need.
When will you be supplying wine?
First of all consider what you intend to provide. Most people give their guests drinks an arrival drink of prosecco or champagne. With a red and white wine served during the wedding breakfast. In addition people provide prosecco or champagne for toasts during the speeches. Work out if you’ll be following the traditional timetable and plan accordingly; you may need more or less than the below envisages based on what you are doing.
The first drink that most of your guests are likely to consume will probably be either prosecco or champagne. We recommend allowing two to three glasses for the first hour of the reception and then two for every hour thereafter. Each guest will also drink one glass during the speeches (but probably no more simply due to the logistics of refilling their glasses). As such, to work out what you need, calculate how many glasses will be drunk per guest over the planned duration of the reception, add one for the speeches and multiply by the number of your adult guests. You may want to add a few more bottles if you think the reception might overrun. To understand how many bottles you’ll need, simply divide the total number by six as this is the number of flutes contained in the standard champagne or prosecco bottle.
Also, consider the weather. On hot summer days more cold drinks will be consumed than at a winter wedding reception.
As well as sparkling, you’ll probably want red and white wine. Though less popular than it was, you may also consider buying some rose.
Overall, to calculate how much will be drunk at the wedding breakfast we recommend working on the assumption that each adult guest will drink one and a half large glasses or around half a bottle. So to work out the number of bottles needed divide the total number of adult guests by half.
Red and white wine will usually be equally popular so generally order half red half white, but remember to first subtract any allowance for rose from the total number of bottles required.
If you are going to order rose consider a bottle per table, but you shouldn’t need to order more than this. For small weddings you could instead keep a case with the caterer to be provided to guests who request it.
As noted above, in most cases red and white will be equally in demand, but remember if you are serving fish or hot weather is likely lean towards white. If it’s going to be cold or you are serving red meat lean towards red.
Beer, Pop & Port
As well as wine have a thought about other drinks. A few of your guests might prefer beer to prosecco or champagne, particularly over the reception so consider ordering a little less fizz and getting a case or two of beer instead.
Also, remember to order some soft drinks for any children invited and for adults who don’t partake.
Finally, after the meal you may wish to get a case or two of port to go with any after dinner cheeses or snacks. This is a nice touch, but think about your budget before ordering. Equally, if you have a company providing a bar during the evening check this is OK with them.
And lastly think about your guests…
The above formulas for estimating what is needed are just for guidance. You’ll also need to consider your guests. A young crowd are likely to drink more than an older one, unless they are mostly young parents caring for their small children. On the other hand if no children are invited attendees may take advantage of having a night away from the kids and drink more. Additionally, friends met through sports clubs may drink more than great aunts (or vice versa!). You know your guests; have a think if on average they are relatively big drinkers or likely to take it easy and adjust accordingly.
If you are looking to work with a bartender company, they of course will do all of the calculations for you. We would recommend speaking with Tommy of Mambo Mobile Bars if you are looking to add not only a bar service but also bring a little entertainment to the bar.
If of course you are looking to offer a free or DIY bar, here are recommendations for wine merchants. Our Tip here is to find a company that offers sale or return.
Here are weddings we have worked with that offered an element of a DIY bar service;