At a wedding reception, it is very common to offer wine to drink at each table, as part of the festivities.
You may be wondering how many bottles of wine you will need, to have enough for everyone and ensure your special day goes off without a hitch.
The number of wine bottles needed depends mainly on your guest count, how openhanded you would like to be, and how much your guests are likely to drink.
How Much Wine Is Needed On The Table For A Wedding Reception?
Before starting, be sure to find out if you are allowed to bring your own wine to where you are holding your reception, as some places do not allow parties to bring their own alcohol.
Guest Count and Ratios
For simplicity, base your numbers on the total number of people who will be at the reception and dining. You do not need to worry about whether some people will drink beer or hard liquor in the planning process for how many bottles of wine you will need for dinner.
While you may have some non-drinkers, beer drinkers, or heavier drinkers, overall, people tend to even out for drink preferences, so you can just determine how much wine will be needed based on the overall numbers.
Number of Wine Bottles Per Person
Offering half a bottle of wine per person is common, and is a good rule of thumb as a minimum unless you know several guests don’t drink wine.
Some weddings are a little more extravagant, and certain groups are more likely to drink more for the big occasion. If you have some keen wine drinkers in your group, or you want to be sure that everyone will get some, providing two-thirds of a bottle of wine per person may be better. This also helps cover if there are some people that rarely drink, but may have some wine to celebrate your special day.
Order A Little Extra, For Comfort
If in doubt, it is recommended to increase your amounts by 10%. By offering your guests a little more, you can be sure that there is enough alcohol, so you can relax, and not worry about whether they have been adequately taken care of.
An online wedding alcohol calculator can make it easier to play around with the numbers and determine the alcohol needed, based on how many guests you have.
Red Wine vs. White Wine
As important as how many bottles of wine in total are needed, is how many bottles of white and red wine each are needed.
50/50 Is A Safe Bet
As a general rule of thumb, offering 50% white wine and 50% red wine is good, but guests may prefer white wine for summer and outdoor weddings, and red wine for winter ones, so a 75% – 25% split in favour of white wine in the summer or red in the winter may work better. If you are serving rosé, the split will be a third of each type of wine.
Ratios may also depend on what food is offered, as certain wines will complement the food better. Your wine provider can provide recommendations to go with the food menu.
Of course, if you know most of your guests like red or white more than the other, you can get more of what is preferred; there is no rule or etiquette on the percentage of white and red wine that should be offered. Again, wedding alcohol calculators can help to know how much alcohol to plan for.
For the champagne toast, you can also use sparkling wines. It is common to make this available for the toasts portion of the evening, separately. It is recommended to provide two glasses of sparkling wine or champagne per person; bottles of champagne or sparkling wine hold six glasses’ worth.
Throughout the Night
Some couples choose to provide wine for the meal only, and have a cash bar for the dance afterwards, while others choose to provide an open bar. Whether you offer a cash bar or provide drinks, there are some general guidelines that can help you be prepared.
How Many Drinks per Guest
After the dinner, you can estimate each guest is likely to have up to two drinks per hour, for the duration of your reception. This, multiplied by the number of guests will give you the number of drinks needed. Drinking may be higher during the cocktail hour and earlier on, but generally slows down later, so for events longer than three hours, you can expect drinking to slow to one drink or one glass per hour. People sometimes tend to have a little more with an open bar.
How Many Drinks Per Bottle
There are five glasses of wine per wine bottle, and 24 servings in a bottle of liquor. Bottles of beer and cocktails are easier to track. If you are serving wine and beer only, it is easier to estimate amounts, compared to if you are offering a range of liquors as well for a full bar. You can use a wedding alcohol calculator, or get help from your caterer or wine provider.
Exceptional Wines For An Exceptional Night
The Hare offers world-class, award-winning wines that would grace the table of any wedding reception. We offer tastings, so you can select the perfect options for your special day. We have white and red wines, and even a sparkling rosé, with the perfect wines for your special occasion.