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 to how many of 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 on your way to creating an epic bar! If you’re still stuck, give us a call and let handle your mobile bar requirements for you!
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 glasses, 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! At an average supermarket cost of £1 a bag, does it really matter if you throw 10 away at the end of the evening?
What Garnishes to Will I Need?
This is a difficult one to judge. You’ll sensibly get around 12 good sized slices from a lemon or a lime, or around 6 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 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 a difficult one to get right and relies on many factors including age / sex of guests, 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 a real ale, and the ladies want red wine.
- Each guest will drink an average of two drinks 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 to 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 peoples drinking habits.
As you’ll see, beer, cider, wine and spirits are the popular choices for men, with wine, spirits and beer being popular for women. It 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 (4pm 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 from someone such as Waitrose who will take back any unused stock on your next delivery.
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.
Beers, Ales & Ciders
14 cases x 24 bottles of lager (Corona, Budweiser, Becks seem to go down well)
60 x bottles real ale (Doom Bar, London Pride, Local breweries)
60 x bottles cider (Bulmers / Old Mout)
Wines / Prosecco (75cl bottles)
18 x White wines – Mix of Pinot and Sauv Blanc
6 x Rosé
18 x Prosecco (purely for the bar, does not allow for toasting)
6 x Red wine
5 x good quality gin’s (Hendricks, Bombay. Also, Gordon’s Pink Gin is massive at the moment!)
4 x Smirnoff vodka (Could substitute with Grey Goose or Absolut)
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!
Soft drinks / mixers
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
1 x Lime juice cordial
2 x orange / lemon squash
6 x soda water (1ltr)
12 x 2ltr lemonade – R Whites or Schweppes. Keep the 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 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 the 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 it is likely the labels will be damaged an will not be able to be returned for credit.