How Much Alchohol to Buy For a Wedding? - Party Pony Trailers
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How Much Alchohol to Buy For a Wedding?

Wedding planning is notoriously detailed and for those focused on their reception, questions surrounding alcohol have likely come up. Questions you may be considering include: 

  • What types of drinks should you serve at your wedding?
  • Should you have an open bar or provide drink tickets?
  • How many drink variations should you offer?
  • Should you customize a signature drink?

All of these questions roll up to one – how much alcohol should you buy for a wedding? Luckily, you don’t have to make this decision on your own; we have years of event and wedding planning experience and can provide our expertise surrounding the alcohol and drinks you will serve at your wedding – read on below!

Wedding Drink General Guidance

The general rule when it comes to drinking at wedding receptions is that your guests will have at least one drink per hour. Take into account the length of your reception (usually around five hours) and assume each guest will have five drinks. Of course, you know your guest list better than anyone and may need to make adjustments accordingly. 

Types of Bars

Before creating your shopping list, make sure that you’ve already decided on the type of bar you will have. Common options include: 

Open Bars

The most popular wedding bar option by far is the open bar. Many wedding guests have come to expect this and it allows all your guests to choose any drink of their liking. However, keep in mind that the limitless options can often result in a limitless bill. Before deciding on an open bar, consider the guests attending and their drinking habits. 

Limited Bar

Recently growing in popularity, the limited bar includes a smaller selection of drinks – usually beer, wine, and a signature cocktail – to cut down on cost, while still providing your guests with options. A limited bar is perfect to help contain your guests and your bill, and still leaves you with room for champagne toasts. 

Cash Bar

Many wedding planners advise avoiding a cash bar unless it’s absolutely necessary. While it may save you money, your guests will remember it. 

Shopping Lists

Now that you’ve decided on your bar option, it’s time to shop. Before you head out, ensure you’ve considered: 

  • The amount of guests of drinking age
  • The types of alcohol being offered
  • Champagne toasts
  • Soft drinks and mixers
  • Fruit and embellishments

Remember, it’s your special day and your budget so you decide how extravagant to go with your bar. 

Guidelines for 100 Guests

Need some more detailed guidance? Below are purchasing guidelines for 100 guests. 


  • Six cases of beer
  • One liter of bourbon, whiskey, and tequila
  • Two liters of gin, scotch, and rum
  • 18 bottles of champagne for toasting
  • Two cases of each red and white wine

Mixers and Soft Drinks

  • One case of tonic, club soda, and ginger ale
  • Two cases of sparkling water, Diet Coke, and Coke
  • One gallon of various juices (orange, lime, and grapefruit)

Want your guests to remember more than the alcohol at your wedding? Select a unique and fun bar option and use Party Pony Trailers! Not only will we provide the bar, but also our expertise. Give us a call to discuss your needs today. 

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