A wedding is such an amazing celebration of a couple’s vow to make their life together. There’s so much excitement and so much to do! Planning a guest list, ordering a wedding cake, and choosing a fairytale dress.
One of the most important jobs of a wedding planner is, of course, making sure your guests are catered for and are looked after in terms of wedding breakfast and reception and that the wedding venue is able to cater for that amount of guests efficiently.
Along with all the other important details, every wedding needs to make sure their guests enjoy enough champagne and wine! So let’s take a look and find out the short answer as to how many bottles of wine you need at a wedding.
How many bottles of wine do you need for a wedding? As a rule of thumb allow ½ a bottle of wine per guest, minus arrival, and toasts, or 1/3rd of a bottle for a more generous offering. 15 bottles of champagne each for arrival and toast based on 100 guests. Allow extra, amounts will vary depending on the number of guests and the length of the event.
Ok, so that’s the short answer nailed, so you can start working with the venue, making sure they have the capacity to deliver wine quickly and efficiently is key, as well as getting the finer details of the catering arranged.
Just so we can understand a little better as to how many bottles of wine you need at a wedding, let’s first start by looking at the points of a wedding celebration where wine for your guests is important.
Drinks on arrival
Most wedding planners and wedding venues will offer guests a drink on arrival at the reception.
Wedding planners or other wedding organizers will invite guests to arrive an hour before the ceremony begins, so they can relax and enjoy a pre-wedding cocktail, glass of champagne, or sparkling wine before the main event.
What are good wedding reception arrival drinks?
Arrival drinks are usually Champagne, or a good Cava or Prosecco, depending on budget and taste.
As the arrival represents a fairly short period of time it’s probably best to leave more complex or longer drinks for the main reception.
However, a sparkling champagne or wine cocktail will also give guests a warm welcome.
For your arrival drinks, keep things simple and don’t offer too much of a choice.
“Arrival drinks are usually Champagne, or a good Cava or
Prosecco, depending on budget and taste.”
How many servings of champagne or sparkling wine in a bottle?
There are six full glasses of champagne per 750ml bottle. This is a good rule of thumb to work to when working out wedding arrival drinks needs.
For each guest to have one glass on arrival a good rule is:
- 100 guests: 15 bottles
- 150 guests: 23 bottles
- 200 guests: 30 bottles
As a wedding venue, you need to be able to deliver wine quickly, and efficiently. So if you’re looking to cater for events, make sure you have the right wine service areas in place.
Wedding breakfast or reception
The wedding breakfast and/or reception is most probably the largest requirement in terms of wines, including red, white, rose, and sparkling varieties.
The amount of wine required can vary depending on the type of guests, for instance, those with a large number of children who won’t require wine, or weddings with guests who shall we say more than enjoy a tipple!
One very easy way to work out requirements is to allow two to three glasses per person for the first hour of the reception followed by two for every hour after.
Another easy formula is to allow roughly ½ a bottle of wine ( excluding toasts and arrival drinks) per person. For a more generous guest wine allocation allow around 1/3rd of a bottle.
If you’re unsure about those amounts, we recommend upping them by 10%.
In our experience, most couples will worry more about being less than generous, as opposed to overspending on their wedding.
The extra money will be worth it if it saves you worrying about the wine supply on the big day.
It’s also worth asking your venue and/or wine suppliers about their policy on unopened bottles.
Some suppliers will refund you for the bottles that aren’t needed or adjust your invoice accordingly.
Let’s take a look below at a quick foolproof formula for you to easily work out how much wine to serve guests at a wedding reception.
A quick wedding wine formula
Below is a simple formula based on ½ bottle for each guest for a standard wine offering or 1/3rd bottle for a more generous offering.
- Formula: Number of guests x preferred wine allocation per guest = total number of bottles
Here are some quick examples to see how that works and to find how much wine to cater for at a wedding celebration.
There will be 275 people eating a meal and seated at the wedding reception. It’s likely to be more of a mixed crowd of guests, with a number of younger guests, and some who might only be light drinkers. This time the wine requirement is enough, rather than a mixed crowd, and you’d like to provide just enough wine for the meal rather than a more lavish offering.
- 275 guests x ½ ( or .5) = 137.5 bottles, rounded up to 138 bottles
150 people seated for a wedding breakfast or reception. There are likely to be a considerable number of wine lovers in the crowd, not many you get guests, along with wanting to offer a generous serving of wine to each guest.
- 150 x 2/3 = 100 bottles
“One very easy way to work out requirements is to allow two to three
glasses per person for the first hour of the reception
followed by two for every hour after.”
Toasting the bride and groom is a really magical part of the celebrations and it’s where guests can offer their best wishes for the couple’s future!
There can be up to 9 toasts in a formal wedding ceremony, these include:
- Master of ceremonies
- Father of the Bride
- Best man
As with the arrival, any good wedding planner or venue will make sure there is enough free-flowing sparkling wine or champagne to cater for the toasts.
As a general rule, it’s worth noting that guests don’t be gulping down huge amounts of fizz at this part of the ceremony, but will simply be taking a sip for every toast.
However, you will be looking at sensible and certainly not mean servings. This part of the ceremony can often be the most wasteful as many guests tend to abandon their half-drunk sparkling wine or champagne once the toasts are over.
As we’ve seen previously that there are approx six full glasses of champagne per 750ml bottle, wedding planners and other wedding organizers would be looking at allowing:
- 100 guests:15 bottles allowing for a finger free at the top of the glass or 17 bottles to fill to the top
- 150 guests: 22 bottles or 25 bottles
- 200 guests: 30 bottles or 35 bottles
It’s worth also noting that champagne is usually bought in cases of 6.
“As a general rule, it’s worth noting that guests won’t gulp down huge
amounts of fizz at this stage, but will simply be taking a sip for every toast.”
So there you have it! Everything you need to know about planning wine requirements for a special couples big day!
If you are a wedding venue, such as a country club, hotel, or other venue looking to comply with socially distanced rules and offer a more COVID-friendly wine service to your customers?
Enomatic® offers a wealth of wine delivery solutions, including self-serve technology that offers a totally contactless wine serving experience to limit contact between servers and guests.
Do get in touch with one of our expert team to find out more about serving wine in a more efficient, safer, and hygienic way.