How much drink do I need for my wedding or party?
Planning a wedding or party but not sure what or how much to buy? Read on for our personal advice on how many bottles of fizz to buy, what you need to stock a quality full bar and other things to keep in mind!
It’s very difficult to know exact quantities without knowing your guests, but hopefully, the information below will help you create an epic bar! If you’re still stuck, give us a call and let us handle your mobile bar requirements!
How Many Bottles of Prosecco / Champagne to Buy for 50 Guests?
A standard-sized champagne glass will hold 125ml. With a standard-sized bottle of fizz containing 750ml, you’ll get 5 measures from a bottle. Some guests will have a couple of glasses, and others may have none at all, so it’s reasonably safe to assume that guests will drink, on average, one glass each. Obviously, you’ll know your guests better than us, but this is a good base figure to work from.
Working on the above, here is how it works out for different numbers of guests:
- How many bottles of Prosecco / Champagne for 10 guests: 2 bottles
- for 20 guests: 4 bottles
- for 25 guests: 5 bottles
- for 50 guests: 10 bottles
- 100 guests: 20 bottles
How many bottles are needed for a toast?
For a Champagne or Prosecco toast, you can stretch a bottle of fizz out a little further and allow 1 bottle per 10 guests.
How Much Ice Will I Need for My Wedding or Party?
Assuming you will also be using ice to keep bottles chilled, we suggest a minimum of half a bag (1kg) of ice per guest. So, for a party of 100 guests, allow 50 x 2kg bags. This may sound excessive, but do not underestimate how much ice you’ll need to keep things chilled!
What Garnishes to Will I Need?
You’ll sensibly get around 12 good sized slices from a lemon or a lime, or around 8 wedges. Depending on what you’ll be serving at the bar, this should give a very rough indication of what you need. If you’re serving Pimm’s, or premium gins, you’ll probably need more fruit than just lemons and limes. If Corona or Sol is your choice of lagers, you’ll need to allow for a wedge of lime in each one. Our suggestion is to go overkill and make sure you never run out!
Guide to Planning a Full Bar
Before you stock your bar, you need to know how much alcohol and mixers to purchase. Again, this is difficult to get right and relies on many factors, including the age/sex of guests, how many will be driving, time of year and weather!
For an event in the middle of summer, you’ll likely find that the men want an ice-cold beer, the ladies want Pimm’s, Fizz or wine, and the kids want whatever you haven’t got! If the event is during the colder months (September to June in the UK!), then you might find the lager drinkers want real ale, and the ladies want red wine.
- Each guest will drink an average of two drinks during the first hour and one drink each hour thereafter. Obviously, if your guests are mainly rugby players, this will increase. Dramatically!
- A standard UK spirits bottle holds twenty-eight 25ml measures, so assuming everybody wants a single gin and tonic, you have 28 servings in a bottle.
- It’s always good to throw in some extras in case the party lasts longer than you planned, there are additional unexpected guests, or one drink is more popular than others.
Below is a survey carried out by NHS England, which shows a handy bar chart of people’s drinking habits.
As you’ll see, beer, cider, wine, and spirits are popular for men, with wine, spirits and beer being popular for women. Its is also wise to look at the latest drinking trends. Currently, gin is massive, with craft beers and rum following behind.
So, what should I order?
Hopefully, the above will have given you a bit of an insight into the complexities of what is involved with running your own bar. Below is a list of what we at Hops & Bubbles would suggest for an 8-hour party (4 pm til midnight) based on 80 adults and 20 kids. We have also suggested brands that go down well.
It is inevitable that you will either run out of one or more products during the course of your event, and you may also be left with a lot of unused stock! We would recommend ordering stock online from someone such as Waitrose, who will (at the time of writing) take back any unused stock on your next delivery. Also, with their Clubcard, Tesco offers some amazing spirits deals!
The quantities below assume that you can send back any unused stock for a refund. The list is quite large, but we like to offer a good selection of drinks! Our personal stocklist is much wider than the list below, but it will hopefully help you to supply a decent bar. Don’t forget to add ice and garnishes!
Beers, Ales & Ciders
14 cases x 24 bottles of lager (Corona, Budweiser, and Becks seem to go down well)
60 x bottles of real ale (Doom Bar, London Pride, Local breweries)
60 x bottles of cider (Bulmers / Old Mout)
If you want to offer your guests more of a pub experience, check out our keg hire page for some of the more popular beers and cocktails available on tap.
Wines / Prosecco (75cl bottles)
18 x White wines – A mix of Pinot and Sauvignon Blanc seems to satisfy most tastebuds
6 x Rosé
18 x Prosecco (purely for the bar, does not allow for toasting)
6 x Red wine
5 x good quality gins (Hendricks, Bombay. Also, Gordon’s Pink Gin is massive at the moment!)
4 x Smirnoff vodka (Could substitute with Grey Goose or Absolut if your budget allows)
1 x Dark / Spiced rum (Captain Morgans, Bumbu)
2 x Bacardi
1 x Whiskey (Famous Grouse or Bells)
Depending on how elaborate you want to go, you could add Malibu, Archers, Pimms, Tequila, Sambucca etc. to the list. Just remember, anything you open cannot be sent back, so ordering half bottles may be a wise option!
120 x (servings) Good quality mixers – Fever Tree or similar (Tonic, slim tonic, ginger ale). Most supermarkets sell multipack cans and glass bottles. Don’t be tempted to use cheap 1-litre plastic bottles; they go flat in no time and will ruin your drink.
10 x cartons of juice – Orange, apple, cranberry
2 x Lime juice cordial
2 x orange/lemon squash
6 x soda water (1ltr)
12 x 2ltr lemonade – R Whites or Schweppes. Keep them in an ice bath, and they’ll keep their fizz longer.
60 x cans Coke / Pepsi – Bottles of coke don’t seem to keep their fizz as long as lemonade which is why we suggest cans.
24 x cans of Diet Coke / Pepsi
48 x bottles of water
Drinks for the kids – Fruit Shoots, Cartons of juice etc
Non-Alcoholic beers and ciders
It is always wise to offer some non-alcoholic drinks other than soft drinks. For lager we would suggest Heineken 0.0. Real ale, go for Adnams Ghost Ship, and for cider Old Mout Berries and Cherries alc free is a good choice.
Please remember: If you are chilling bottles in an ice bath, the labels will likely be damaged and unable to be returned for credit.
January 2023 update:
We have just stumbled across a handy little party drinks calculator which works out rough costs depending on a number of variables (number of guests, type of drinks served, time the bar will be running etc). It’s never going to be 100% perfect, but it will give you a very good indication! Click here to check it out.