Alcohol Calculations

One of the most common questions that we get from our clients is, “How much alcohol should we buy?”  While your coordinator is always happy to help you figure out the right amount of alcohol for your party, I’m going to give you some tips to help calculate it yourself; after all, you definitely know your guests better than we do!

There are a lot of drink calculators out there but the majority of them are powered by alcohol companies, trying to get you to purchase way more than you need.  The calculator that I find to be the most reliable is the one provided on Evite’s website.


 Things to consider when filling in the calculator

                -  Don’t factor in how many hours of the party your guests will be in attendance; only include the number of hours that your guests will be drinking.  For example, if you’re having an onsite ceremony at dock580 with a 6p guest arrival, your guests likely won’t be consuming any alcohol until 7p.

                -  Don’t include underage guests in your “drinkers” count.  If you have a large number of children or young adults attending your wedding, this could greatly affect your results.

                -  Make sure that you select the appropriate categories of alcohol; if you’re only serving beer and wine at    your bar, don’t select the “liquor option”.


Here is an example of fairly typical party at dock580:  5 drinking hours for 120 guests.  A good rule of thumb is to consider half of your guests average drinkers, with the other half split between light and heavy drinkers.  If you want to be extra sure about your numbers, I personally recommend categorizing everyone on your guest list.  People are usually surprised to see how few “heavy drinkers they are actually inviting :)

Once you have your numbers, you can grab your calculator and get to work.

                -  For this guest count, the calculator recommends 240 cans or bottles of beer.  There are 24 bottles of beer in a case, so you would need 10 cases of beer for this guest count.

                -  For this guest count, the calculator recommends 48 bottles of wine.  There are 12 bottles of wine in a case, so you would need 4 cases of wine for this guest count.

                -  For this guest count, the calculator recommends 12 bottles of liquor. Other tips to keep in mind when stocking your bar:

                -  With open bars, you don’t want to provide too much variety.  Too many options makes for a stressful purchasing experience and a long bar line; who wants that?  Instead, stick to 2-3 kinds of beer, 2-4 kinds of wine, and 4 kinds of liquor.

                -  For beers, we recommend a domestic, a domestic light, and a craft or imported.

                -  For wine, we recommend 1-2 reds and 1-2 whites.  Also keep the time of year and your menu in mind when purchasing your wine; you’ll go through a lot more red wine with a steak menu in December than you will with a seafood menu in June.

                -  For liquor, we recommend dedicating half of your bottles to vodka, a quarter of your bottles to whiskey, and the remaining quarter to gin, rum, or a specialty liquor.  Also keep the size of your liquor bottles in mind; a handle of liquor is roughly equivalent to 2 ½ standard liquor bottles.

I hope this gives you the information that you need to get the party rolling!  If you have any more questions, you are always welcome to contact your coordinator.

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