When planning to buy wine for your wedding the question always comes up, “How many bottles do we need?” There are a lot of variables influencing the answer to this question, so we’ll address them and also give you a handy wine-buying-calculator to help you. Your caterer will have his or her own formula for how much wine to buy, but anyone planning a wedding wants to know upfront how much it’s going to cost. In order that you won’t be shocked by the numbers, we’re giving you some tools to prepare yourself. We’ve consulted the experts at Total Wine to come up with the following information.
Factors Impacting the Number of Bottles to Buy
- The Number of Guests – Obviously…but seriously, not everyone drinks wine, but the majority of your guests will raise at least one glass in a toast. Figuring the total bottles of wine needed starts with the initial guest count.
- The Age of Your Guests – In general, a younger crowd drinks more than an older one. (That says something about wisdom coming with age doesn’t it?) If the majority of your guests are in their 20’s and 30’s consider adjusting upwards the number of drinks per guest for the first one or two hours.
- Food Service – You can figure one glass of white wine and two glasses of red wine are served per multi-course meal. Buffet style service will generally require less wine service.
- The Time of Day – If your event begins before 5pm, or you are also serving liquor or beer: ½ bottle of wine/person per 3-hour period.
- Self Serve – If you’re brave enough to let guests serve themselves, add 10% to your original estimate.
A basic rule of thumb is to figure each 750 ml bottle of red or white wine will provide approximately five 5-oz. servings. When deciding the number of wine bottles to purchase, buy more wine than you think you need. Calculate on the basis of five glasses, rather than six, per 750-mL bottle.
Glasses of sparkling wine or Champagne are generally smaller than glasses of table wines, so you can figure on getting eight glasses of sparkling wine from a bottle. Plan on at least glass of sparkling wine for a toast to the newlyweds.
The approximate number of servings per bottle of table wine depends on the size of the glass. Glasses of the same type do not necessarily hold the same amount. To determine the number of wine bottles to purchase, remember that a glass is filled no more than half full. One bottle serves five people a 5-ounce drink; two bottles serves ten people; three bottles serves 15 people. Always allow for overages and have extra bottles handy. You don’t want to be caught short on one of the most important days of your life.
Before making your purchase, check with the wine store to see if unopened bottles can be returned for a refund.
According to national retailer Total Wine: “Most guests will consume two drinks during the first hour of your event and one drink during each following hour. When planning an event serving wine, beer and spirits, the general rule of thumb is that:
50% will prefer WINE
30% will prefer BEER
20% will prefer MIXED DRINKS
If you do not anticipate serving mixed drinks at your event, then you should plan on 60% of your guests consuming wine and 40% beer.”
Calculate the Bottles of Wine You Need for Your Wedding
Use this formula to estimate how many bottles of wine you need to purchase for your wedding. This is based on the number of hours your event will last. Download this PDF Wedding Wine Estimator to take to the wine store or your meeting with the caterer.
Number of Guests = G Drinks Per Guest = D
- 1 hour = 2 drinks
- 2 hours = 3 drinks
- 3 hours = 4 drinks
- 4 hours = 5 drinks
- 5 hours = 6 drinks
G x D x 0.6 ÷ 5 = Total Number of 750 ML Bottles to Purchase
For example: 90 (guests) x 5 (# of drinks for 4 hours) = 450 x 0.5 =270 ÷ 5 = 54.
Download our WINE BUYING CALCULATOR and print to take with you when you shop for wine.
When deciding the number of wine bottles to purchase for a wedding, buy more wine than is needed, and allow for slight overages: calculate on the basis of five glasses of wine per 750-mL bottle, rather than six.
Before making your purchase, check with the liquor store to see if the unopened wine bottles are refundable. A good rule is to be generous but never pressing.
Add Custom Wedding Wine Labels to Your Bottles
To take your wine service to the next level remember to order custom wedding wine labels. A custom wine label placed on each bottle makes it part of your wedding décor and it becomes a wedding favor. Your wine label design can include a photo, your wedding monogram, a thank you message and include your wedding colors or theme. Start on this page to view our wedding wine label templates or upload your own wine label design starting here. You also have the option of making a Champagne label. If you have questions about making your own wine label please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org