Here at Hello Audrey HQ, this is without a doubt the number one question we hear.
"How much alcohol should we buy?", followed closely by "what KIND of alcohol should we buy?". It can be a really tricky question and the answer is easier than you think.
The answer actually lies in your guests. Remember that you know your friends and family better than anyone. We have compiled a list of a few basic questions that you will need to ask yourself when figuring out what alcohol and how much to buy for your wedding:
- What percentage of your guests are male vs female?
Understanding your male to female split will help you determine how much beer vs bubbles and wine to get. We don't want to stereotype, but for most weddings, men will drink beer (and maybe a little wine later on) and women will drink predominately wine and bubbles.
- Are they big drinkers?
This is an important question. Understanding your guests habits will help you decide whether you allow for more per person, or less. Whether or not they are big drinkers, we always advise to get more rather than less so that you don't run out. I would totally recommend buying your alcohol from somewhere that will allow you to return some if you don't use it. Check your local liquor stores, more often than not they offer this service (and a discounted chiller). That way you can safely get too much, rather than not enough!
- Are they big wine connoisseurs and will you have wine on the tables?
If you have a large number of guests who really know their wine, use that to your advantage, ASK them what they think. If Aunty Margaret really knows her stuff, it might be a nice way to get her involved in your big day by helping you chose the wine.
Also think about whether you will have wine on the tables as well. This can be great for during speeches, but be aware you usually do end up with a little wastage.
- What time of day is your ceremony vs reception?
If your ceremony is on the early side, lets say 2.30pm, and your reception isn't until 6.30pm, that is quite a long time for people to be drinking. Make sure you have enough drinks for the time period you will have people drinking. If you have a particularly long cocktail hour, it's a great idea to make sure you have nibbles going around to help soak up some of that wine ;)
- What are you wanting to offer?
There are a few different options here that people typically do. Obviousely the more options you have, the higher the price tag.
- Beer & wine only, with bubbles for toasts
- Beer, wine, bubbles & spirits or cocktails
- Beer, wine, bubbles, spirits & cocktails
If you're budget is leaning towards option 1 but you want to offer something special, a signature cocktail in dispensers for cocktail hour only is a really great option that guests love and doesn't have a big price tag!
Our Top 5 Tips!
- Keep it simple. Guests don't need 8 wine options and 8 beer options and remember they are grateful with whatever you provide! Two white wines, a red and 3 beers is a really good starting point.
- Make your bar a feature. If you are going to the expense of supplying your guests with alcohol, we highly recommend having someone serve it! Make your bar a feature and something special for your guests. Remember that a bar service will also provide you with staff who will help with keeping things tidy and the all important clean up. Here at Hello Audrey we take care of all that, plus Audrey looks amazing.
- Keep tidy. Remember those recycle bins!
- Don't forget your non drinkers! So important. Maybe Nana doesn't drink, or you have friends who are pregnant or sober drivers. These guests also deserve to feel special, so have nice non alcoholic options available for them. There are so many nice non alcoholic bottled or can drinks these days, or you can make fruit waters and punches in dispensers for minimal waste.
- Buy what you enjoy and get more than you think you will need. If you have leftovers that can't be returned (maybe you got on special at the supermarket), then at least you know you can use the leftovers
- REMEMBER ICE!
Here is our guide for how much alcohol you should allow per person, keeping in mind that you know your guests best, so it may differ to this.
Allow 2-4 glasses per guest. A standard bottle will do 5 glasses.
So for 100 guests having 2 glasses each (conservative) you would need 40 bottles, 100 guests having 4 glasses each would be 80 bottles.
Allow 4-6 beers per male present. Some will have more, some will have less.
A standard 750ml bottle will serve 6 glasses. Figure out if you are offering bubbles just for toasts following the ceremony or all night. If only for toasts, 1-2 glasses per female guest will cover it. If all not, allow for more.
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