Planning the alcohol for your wedding may feel like a big deal.
No one wants to run out of alcohol, but you also don’t want to spend a ton of extra money either. You want to respect the budget, but you also want to have a good time.
Feel like you can’t have your wedding cake and eat it too?
With a wedding alcohol calculator, you bet your gorgeous wedding you can!
Here’s the thing: Knowing how much you need can be tricky, and quite frankly a headache if you don’t have the right tools, which is why I’m going to walk you through this.
(Skip to the bottom if you want a quick and easy resource to get this done in a jiffy! Otherwise, carry on – it’s about to get good!)
Full Bar vs. Limited Bar
I know this is going to blow your mind, but when supplying your own alcohol, you don’t have to offer EVERY option under the sun. Also you can contact booze up to help you in case you need more alcohol but you are short out of time or the liquor store is too far.
“Are you sure?”
YES! It’s actually a proven fact that more choices are not always better. And you have to choose what best suits your budget and your taste.
Here are some of your options to help you define where you stand.
A full bar is traditionally defined as having beer and wine with several selections of each, plus liquor for just about any cocktail you can think of, complete with mixers, fruits, garnishes, etc.
A limited bar is more limited in it’s offering, while still offering options that please most guests, like beer and wine only OR beer, wine, and a Signature Cocktail or two.
I know you are already merging your names together for your Signature Cocktail name, but stay focused!
A limited bar is a great way to go when you’re tasked with stocking the bar yourselves because it limits how much of everything you will need to purchase.
Did your ears just perk up? Keep reading!
Defining what kind of bar you want at your wedding is a necessary first step.
Beer/Wine Only Bar
If your ears perked up talking about a limited bar, then lean in. A beer-and-wine-only bar is totally acceptable for your wedding and it’s actually not that uncommon.
Typically the percentages of beer vs. wine are 40% beer and 60% wine. (More on these percentages and what they mean in a bit)
If you are budget conscious, you’ll love to know that it cuts down on the amount of mixers, garnishes, glassware you’ll need.
PRO TIP: Make sure to offer a few varieties of each, your guests will love it!
Speaking of varieties, let’s talk about your options.
There are SO MANY OPTIONS when it comes to beer, but here is a quick list of some popular brands to start with.
Domestic: Bud/Bud Light, Coors/Coors Light, Blue Moon, Sam Adams, Yuengling, Shock Top, and Sierra Nevada.
Imported: Corona (virus, not included), Stella Artois, Amtel, and Heineken.
PRO TIP: IPAs are popular right now!
Your options for types of wine are smaller. It’s broken up into Dry Red, Dry White, Sweet Red, and Sweet White. I would recommend having at least one option of each.
And just because I want you to have the best day ever, I’ll let you in on a little secret…
On hotter days, guests will drink more white and on cooler days, they gravitate towards more red.
Also, look into local breweries and wineries for local/seasonal options that add some personality to your event!
Beer/Wine + Signature Cocktail Bar
Beer and Wine are all good, but if you’re thinking you want to step it up, maybe adding a Signature Cocktail is for you!
If you decide to go with this combination, it’s suggested to be 30% Beer, 50% Wine, 20% Liquor.
The more percentages you add, the more that the Wedding Alcohol Calculator is looking pretty good, Am I right?
To keep it simple, stick with the beer/wine recommendations above, then add a Signature Drink that reflects each of your personalities/preferences.
Some tips if you plan to go with a Signature Drink:
Make sure the Signature Drinks require only a few ingredients and are QUICK to make.
If they aren’t quick or require a lot of steps, ask your bartenders to make a few batches and put in pitchers for the Cocktail Hour rush.
This takes away some stress and keeps your bar line moving nicely!
It can be as simple as “rum and coke” (with a fun name or not). No need to reinvent the wheel if you know what you like!
Your Signature Drink does NOT have to be alcoholic; it could just be something fun like lavender lemonade or pomegranate iced tea.
I encourage you to also make this a seasonal drink. Not sure Hot Apple Cider in the middle of Summer will be the best idea.
Something else to consider is who will provide the ice? This is a great task for your caterer/bartender or venue.
Have a chat with them and make sure they can provide this before you try to take this on yourself.
Not only would it be less on your plate, but it’s a day-of task/purchase and they would be responsible for providing enough and getting more if it runs out.
That’s not something you want to be thinking about when you’re breaking it down on the dance floor.
If you’re in a situation where you will need to provide ice, here is what you need to know.
Figure 1.5 pounds per person OR 2.5 pounds per person if you also need to chill drinks. Drinks that beg to be chilled are white wine, beer, and champagne.
How To Calculate
Now comes how to calculate how much alcohol to buy. This is your own wedding alcohol calculator. Feel fancy yet?
Always Consider Your Guests
The first thing you’ll nail down has to do with your guests. Do you have a lot of heavy drinkers? Do you have a lot of non-drinkers?
In most cases, the following formula works to balance everyone out.
Let’s do some math
YOU’LL START BY:
Multiplying the number of guests who will be drinking by the number of hours your event is (excluding your ceremony). This will give you the total number of drinks you’ll likely need to purchase.
For example, 100 guests x 5 hours = 500 drinks
You’ll use this total drink number for the percentages above. Going back to the example, 500 drinks for a beer/wine only bar (40% / 60%) would be:
- 200 Beers (roughly 9 cases)
- 300 Glasses of Wine (roughly 25 cases)
For your reference:
- There are 12 bottles of wine in a case.
- There are 24 bottles of beer in a case. I ALWAYS recommend bottles over cans and kegs.
- There are approximately 165 servings of beer in one full keg. I DO NOT recommend kegs.
- There are approximately 5 servings per 750ml bottle of wine. If you’re purchasing larger bottles, adjust accordingly.
- There are approximately 18 servings per 750ml bottle of liquor. If you’re purchasing larger bottles, adjust accordingly.
- There are approximately 5-8 servings per 750ml bottle of champagne.
If you need a quick and easy way to determine exact numbers for your event…
This Alcohol Calculator for Weddings is designed to give you a customized count of how much beer, wine, and liquor you need for your event. It also includes how much ice to purchase if needed.
So if your head was spinning just reading all of the percentages and questions, this Wedding Alcohol Calculator will save you a ton of time and a massive headache. In the calculator, you have so much freedom to customize your needs/wants.
You will start by entering your event details like your guest count and number of hours.
Then you can adjust your guest count based on whether your guests will be light, average, or heavy drinkers. You can also customize what type of alcohol you’d like to serve. Easy peasy!
Have you ever associated the words wedding planning and easy together? Yeah, me neither… until the Shop at DPNAK came into the picture.
If you choose to purchase the Wedding Alcohol Calculator, I’d love to hear your feedback! And if you find it to be a headache saver, then tell your friends!