When you’re planning out your wedding reception, one of the trickiest things you’ll need to plan is how much alcohol to have. Alcohol for your wedding will depend on how many guests you plan to have, how much these guests tend to drink, what type of wedding environment you’re aiming for and your expected budget.  

Many couples opt for an open bar, where guests have access to unlimited drinks throughout the entire reception. While this is certainly the most gracious approach, it’s also the most expensive and could end up costing as much as 10 to 20 percent of your total budget. An alternative is the “limited,” or “soft,” bar, where you offer a careful selection of drinks (say, wine, beer and vodka cocktails) at the bar during specific times (throughout the cocktail hour and right after dinner), then have waiters serve wine or beer during the meal.

Calculating the amount of alcohol you need at a wedding is a necessary part of wedding planning. It’s also kind of nerve-wracking. Our worst nightmares involve an empty bar.

OK. So here’s the most BASIC wedding alcohol calculator information you need to know, based on the number of guests you’re having.



How much alcohol should you buy?

The general rule is that you should allow for one drink per person per hour.

How many servings can you get per bottle?

Wine: 4 glasses per 750ml

Liquour: 18 servings per 750ml bottle

Beer Kg: 165 servings per full keg

Beer and wine ratios:

Beer and wine only: Beer 25% and wine 25%

Full bar:

Liquor  30%, Beer 20% and wine 50%


Example: 100 Guests:

Beer and Wine:

112 bottles of wine

150 bottles of beer or 1kg

Modified full bar:

75 bottles of wine

10 bottles of liquor

120 bottles of  beer


If you are providing your own alcohol its important to check your caterer or venues liability insurance. Look at adding to your home insurance or contacting a company that specialises in insurance for particular events. Look into the liquor laws in your state or country. You want to be covered in case someone has an accident while driving home or Aunt Linda falls off the top stairs drunk.

Still confused? Watch this! or better yet check out the Dan Murphy’s wedding drink planner: here