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How Much Wine Do I Need for a Wedding?

Incorporating wine into your big day? The most important thing to know is how much you’ll need. Various factors go into choosing the perfect amount of vino, beer, and liquor for you and your guests — including the type of venue, menu, how many people are attending, your budget, and more.

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One of the first items on your checklist should be to find out if the venue will allow you to bring your own alcohol. Some ask you to select wines from a pre-existing list, while others let you bring your own wine but charge a corkage fee per bottle. These fees can be expensive, ranging up to $20 per bottle in some cities, so be sure to consider this charge when you’re budgeting. If the venue does allow you to bring alcohol, (and you can afford the corkage fee), you’ll want to begin by considering what type of bar you’re hosting. Is it wine only? Beer and wine only? Full open bar? Or a limited open bar?

Let’s start by assuming you’re offering wine only. In that case, you’ll want to be sure you offer sparkling, white, and red wine. (If you’re interested in serving ONEHOPE at your wedding, be sure to check out our Weddings page for more info.)

  • Sparkling: This wine is used mostly for toasts. There are six full glasses of sparkling wine in a standard 750ml bottle, and experts usually recommend two glasses of sparkling wine per guest. So, for 100 guests, you would need 200 glasses (at two glasses each), which translates into 34 bottles. There are 12 bottles in a case, so you’ll need three cases (36 bottles).
  • White and Red Wine: People tend to drink white wine if it’s an outdoor wedding held during the day in the summer, and more red if it’s at night and steak is being served. Most people consume the same amount of white and red wine, and you can presume that each of your guests will drink one glass of wine per hour. Each 750ml bottle has five glasses, so for 100 guests and a four-hour wedding reception, you would need 400 glasses—or 80 bottles of wine (40 white and 40 red), which is a little more than 6 cases of wine.
  • If you are bringing your own wine, consider shopping at discount stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club for the best deals. Also, check local wine shop and supermarket ads for specials. Want to go through ONEHOPE Wine for your vino needs? Not a problem! You can serve our wine at your wedding, and also offer it as favors for your guests — all while benefiting one of our partner nonprofits through our foundation. An additional percentage even can be given back to impact the cause of your choice. Just put us in touch with your venue and we’ll take care of all of the details. Check out this page for more.
  • Finally, you also might want to try using The Alcohol Calculator, a handy online tool that can help you determine how much wine you’ll need for a wedding based on the size of your affair, as well as how much it will cost. And always remember — it’s better to have too much wine than not enough!
  • A simple rule to calculate manually the amount of wine you will need at your wedding requires knowing: how many guests will be at your wedding and the amount of time your guests will be drinking. For example, if you have 100 guests and they will be drinking for about 3 hours, the math would be this: 100 guests X 3 glasses an hour (have to assume this metric) = 300 glasses of wine. 1 Bottle = 6 glasses, so 300/6 = 50 bottles of wine. 12 bottles = 1 case, so you will need a little more than 4 cases of wine. We recommend mixing the cases, so a case of red, white, and 3 cases of sparkling would be ideal! Remember, this is assuming your guests are drinking only wine and only for a short amount of time, so it’s always good to round up and add a couple more cases. If you have beer or another beverage, consider this when making your decisions!

Now let’s make things interesting. Let’s assume that you want to offer your guests more than just wine. If you plan to offer only beer and wine, a choice typically more accepted on the west coast than on the east, simply reduce your wine order by 25%. Typically, 75% of guests will consume wine over beer when given the choice, so you should plan accordingly. Make up for the estimated 25% of beer drinking guests by following the same math as above. So, if you have 100 guests, assume 25 will want a beer. At a rate of two drinks per hour (50 drinks total) spread over a 4-hour event, you need to account for 200 servings. This breaks down to about to about one pony keg or seventeen 12-packs of beer.

Finally, if you plan to offer a full bar, you need to account for hard liquor, mixers, and garnish as well. First of all, understand that if you’re allowing your guests to fill their own glasses, or if you’re using a bartender who isn’t a professional, your liquor supply will be depleted much more quickly. Additionally, it’s cheaper and more advisable to offer a limited, or modified, open bar, as purchasing a fully stocked bar is unrealistic for a four-hour event. Instead, focus on a few basics. These most often include:

  • Rum
  • Whiskey
  • Vodka
  • Tequila
  • Gin

Then you should consider common mixers like cranberry and orange juice, cola, and club soda. You’ll also want to provide garnishes like lemons and limes. As for volume, plan on 50% of your guests consuming just wine, and the remaining 50% split between beer and liquor. In general, plan on 10 bottles of liquor (with adequate mixers), 120 bottles of beer, and 75 bottles of wine.

Finally, a word of caution. Before choosing to stock your own bar, look into the laws and regulations of your state. You’ll want to make sure it’s legal to self-serve at a function of your size, and it’s smart to look into if you’re legally able to return unopened alcohol after the event. It’s also wise to consider liability insurance. If something goes wrong, you could be liable for damages or injury bills as a result of the alcohol you provided. While it’s not a fun thought to consider, it’s smart to protect your future by investing in a one-day liability insurance plan.

To find more information about ONEHOPE Wine at your wedding, you can head to our weddings page.


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