How much alcohol will I need for my event?

August 11th 2023

One of the most common queries we receive from clients is just how much alcohol they will need on the day of their event! This can be SO confusing to plan for, so much so that there are even diagrams, apps and spreadsheets out there to try and help. 

Though we believe in keeping things simple! So we’ve pulled together this blog based on a wedding with an open bar, to help you work out in simple terms how much you really need for your big day. 

Firstly, it’s worth going off roughly how many guests you’re having! We’ve cut to the chase and added some rough guides below for you to begin with, based on an open bar serving wine, beer, spirits and bubbly!

  • 70 bottles of wine
  • 175 bottles of beer
  • 15 bottles of spirits (750 ml)
  • 20 bottles of champagne to toast (optional)
  • 105 bottles of wine
  • 266 bottles of beer
  • 22 bottles of spirits (750 ml)
  • 30 bottles of champagne to toast (optional)
200 Guests:
  • 140 bottles of wine
  • 350 bottles of beer
  • 30 bottles of spirits (750 ml)
  • 40 bottles of champagne to toast (optional)

Understandably, you’re probably wondering how we got to those figures! Whilst the above is a rough guide, some elements that come into play when understanding just how many bottles you really need are…

Reception Duration: 

Though the duration of every wedding reception will differ, a good place to start is assuming each guest will drink 2 drinks in the first hour and around 1 drink each hour afterwards. Meaning for a reception totalling five hours, (one cocktail hour, four dinners and dancing) that’s 6 drinks per guest! Though it’s safer to overestimate rather than run out when it comes to open bars, so we’d plan for around 7 drinks per guest for a 5-hour-long reception. 

It’s worth noting, every guest is different! Some may not even drink at all and some may have more or less! Though this is a rough average to work with and accounts for likely occasions where drinks are misplaced or servers may pick up half-empty glasses whilst tidying! It’s also helpful to remember extra bottles can always be used as gifts or for future events, and it’s worth it to feel completely prepared on the day!

Servings Per Bottle:

Generally, 5 glasses of wine are in a 750ml bottle, 12 servings are in a 750ml of spirits and of course, beer bottles are just one serving.

Alcohol Options

For the purpose of this blog we’re going to assume 50% of your guests are wine drinks, 25% beer and the other 25% spirits. Though the numbers can be tailored to your event, as you’ll know your guests best!

So taking into consideration everything above, here’s how we’d work out the drinks needed for a 5-hour-long reception with 100 guests…



(50% of guests)  = 50


(Number of drinks estimated for duration of the event) = 7

= 350


(Number of glasses per bottle of wine) = 5

= 70 bottles of wine needed


The same can be applied to both the beer and spirits to help you find your total! (Based on your own number of guests, reception/open bar duration and desired split of alcohol options!)

Another important thing to consider is the champagne toast, should you choose to have one! For this, generally, only one glass is required per guest. Around 5 glasses are in one bottle so in the case of 100 guests we’d opt for twenty bottles! (And maybe some extras – just in case!)

Stuck on which alcohol options to opt for?

You know better than anyone which spirits and wines you’re guests will enjoy! But some popular ones to consider are:

Spirits: vodka, whisky, gin, rum, tequila (if going for 20 bottles of spirits for example, we’d opt for around 6 bottles to be vodka, as this is generally very popular! Followed by smaller numbers of other spirits you think will be popular with your guests) 

Wine: there are endless types of wine to consider and these will differ depending on the type of wedding you’re hosting. For example, a winter wedding you may want to lean toward more red wine (for example 35 bottles out of 70). Whilst for summer weddings white and rose´ may be very popular! If you’re unsure, it’s worth going for roughly equal numbers of each.

Other elements to consider…

You’ll need mixers for spirits and for any non-drinking guests too! We’d opt for around 6-10 litres of each of the following, based on preference: cola, diet cola, lemonade, tonic, soda, or ginger ale. Plus some diluting juices and garnishes (such as lemons and limes!)

We hope the above guide is helpful for your upcoming event! Whilst it’s important to note everyone has personal preferences and some may guests drink more or less than others, the above guide is a great place to start and the numbers can be easily tailored to you.

Thank you for reading!