If you are planning to stock your own wedding bar, this is for you.


Have you ever wondered how much alcohol you need?

Today we are looking at how much alcohol you need if you are stocking the bar yourself. This is for the evening bar only, therefore, not the drinks reception or wedding breakfast. Additionally, I will also cover ice, water and napkins but don’t forget about your non-drinkers. Orange juice is popular along with extra mixers (coke, lemonade, etc.). Luxury and unusual cordials are making more of an appearance too and there’s plenty of choice!


First Of All, Let’s Start With A Few Basics

  • A 75cl bottle of wine holds 6x 125ml glasses or 3x 250ml glasses.
  • 1 champagne bottle hold 6x champagne flutes.
  • 11-gallon keg holds 88 pints.
  • 4.4-gallon keg holds 35 pints.
  • 1 litre bottle of spirits holds 40x 25ml measures.

I will do two examples in this blog; both based on 100 guests.

Remember, you know your guests (otherwise why are you inviting them?) so make changes as you see fit. These are just for guidance so you have a starting point.

It is normal to assume people will have 6-8 drinks during 4 hours. There will be people that have less and some that have more so this is an average to help you work out what you need. So, let’s take a look at how much alcohol you may need.

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Beer and Wine Only

Obviously, there will be some soft drinks for non-drinkers and children but, in terms of the alcohol, it is limited to beer and wine. This has it’s benefits in terms of not having ‘the hard stuff’ and can help keep costs down. However, if you have some guests that love a particular spirit, you may get a few complaints.

  • 50 bottles of wine. Unless you have a preference, it’s best to get a mix of red and white with a few rose bottles.
  • 150 bottles of beer.
  • 2 x 11-gallon keg (beer, ale, cider, whichever you think is appropriate for your guests).
  • 15-25 Juice (orange or apple).
  • 40-50 litres of pop (cola, lemonade, soda water, diet versions, etc.).
  • 200 x 500ml water bottles (you may prefer water jugs filled with tap water).
  • 1000 x cocktail napkins.

With ice, it will mainly be used for cooling as it is unusual for it to be in wine or beer. Therefore, check the size of your storage tubs and order based on them. You will also need some ice for the non-alcoholic drinks and water (especially if it’s tap water) but not much; unless it’s a hot day.

If you had several people that loved one spirit, you could set up a ‘Whiskey’ bar (whiskey being whatever the favourite is) or hire a truck (gin bar, bubbles cart, cocktail hub, etc.). This means you have spent a fortune on spirits that won’t be drunk, keeps the chances of people mixing drinks down to a minimum but adds a little variety.

My clients love Majestic Wine for their wine (if they aren’t popping over to France). Their customer service and no quibble guarantee is definitely one to check out if you haven’t already.


Full Bar

Spirits are interesting. If you are offering them, try to keep to two or three types maximum because you don’t want people mixing their drinks as it’s all available (especially if it’s a free bar), some people will try everything they possibly can. There is always one that has a few too many so make sure you have someone that can handle these people for you.

  • 15-20 litres of your chosen spirits.
  • 1 x 11-gallon keg (real ale).
  • 150 x bottles of lager.
  • 30 bottles of wine (mixed).
  • 60 x litres of pop (cola, lemonade, diet versions, soda water, etc.).
  • 50lbs ice.
  • 20-40 juice (orange/apple).
  • 200 x 500ml water bottles (you may prefer water jugs filled with tap water).
  • 1000 x cocktail napkins.

With an open bar, it is better to over estimate as you don’t want someone having to do to the supermarket half way through the evening. Just make sure you get it from somewhere you can have on ‘Sale or Return’ so you can return any unused alcohol.

Likewise, for ordering kegs, you can have sale or return too. If you are unsure, check you can return any unused then order an extra one. Consequently, getting some of your money back to help with the after wedding blues.

When you look at how much alcohol you need to order, consider your guests. These are the averages and starting points. Tweak them to suit your guests and your preferences.

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Top Tips

Finally, I’d like to leave you with a few other top tips to help you along the way.

  • Think about how the bar will work. Is it a ‘help yourself’ or manned?
  • Make sure you have enough bottle openers, corkscrews, bins, ice buckets, fruit (lemon & limes), spirit measures, available.
  • If you are having a keg, make sure you have someone that knows how to use, look after it and change it.
  • Should you hire staff, make sure they are bar trained and experienced. You don’t want cork in your wine.


In the Planning Heaven Program, we focus on the must knows for planning your wedding so you can enjoy your wedding and reduce the stress. Take a look here at Planning Heaven and the other consultancy services I offer.


Mary Cushen – The Wedding Consultancy

Remember you will need help with stocking bars and cleaning up during the night so you don’t run out of glasses or have loads lying around. If you want the alcohol to last, you need to think about what gets put out when and how guests are monitored.


I have won various awards, receive exceptional reviews, have over five years’ experience and trained, so you are in safe hands. Oh, and if you didn’t noticed, I have been featured across the world for my work and been on BBC. Client experience is my top priority.