How Much Alcohol Do I Need for my Wedding or Party?
Updated: Jan 14
At Tavern Team, the most common question clients ask is, “How much alcohol do I need for the wedding or party I’m hosting?” This is a great question. After all, the last thing you want to do is overspend and get way more than you need or underspend and be unable to provide for all of your guests. You can take several different approaches to calculating the amount of alcohol you’ll need, depending on the type of event you’re hosting. Graduation parties, corporate parties, holiday parties, celebration-of-life services, birthday parties, and wedding bar services are all different. Factors like budget, variety, demographics, and time of year are major factors too.
Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, you may run into high-volume consumers or limited consumers. It’s not uncommon to host a large number of guests and have a surplus of beverages left behind or have many in your party indulge and go through your supply quickly. A few tricks will help you narrow down your guest consumption estimates, and you can even find a few tools that allow you to plug in your guest count and get an accurate estimate. Tavern Team provides this service at no cost when you book an event with us, and we will even do a phone consultation to make sure we have accurate results.
Large events like a wedding are most often the target of high consumers. Guests usually take advantage of the fact that they often have a hotel, transportation, and childcare, and they don’t want the party to end. Each guest will often drink at least six drinks during the celebration, depending on how long bar service is provided. These numbers really add up when you take into consideration how many guests will be in attendance and how far a bottle of liquor or wine will really go. After serving thousands (and we mean thousands) over the years, we believe we can provide an accurate estimate on what types of drinks will be popular and what you might just need a little bit of to get by. After all, only you know your guests and how they will drink. But when you have a consultation with Tavern Team, we can put our heads together and create a formula that will work.
Smaller events like corporate parties end up being on the tamer side. Most guests keep their composure, so it’s often a limited beverage consumer crowd. Business leaders that host parties want things to be enjoyable, yet reasonable and controlled. Tavern Team has some tips and tricks that our clients have used over the years to keep your costs down and limit what you spend on alcoholic beverages. There is absolutely no guarantee on what guests will consume, but there are ways to limit it. Tavern Team has served weddings with no alcohol, and we’ve served some wonderfully large parties with a designated alcohol runner who made sure that guests were happily served their beverages of choice all night.
Details like your time of year and length of service will definitely play a major role in
consumption volume. Guests will often drink certain beverages in the summer on a hot day and different beverages in late fall when it begins to get chillier out. While these are definitely big factors, things like signature cocktails with one of Tavern Team’s custom printed bar signs have an effect on what guests will be enticed to consume. The longer the service, the more likely guests will consume additional beverages to keep the party going.
While the formulas created by Tavern Team are used on a broad basis, wedding bar services can differentiate from one demographic to another. Age is a large factor in how much guests will consume throughout an event. If a large number of your guests are under 35, they will likely consume at a greater rate than a large number of guests over the age of 50. This can also be true for couples. Couples oftentimes exchange the opportunity to be the responsible one for the evening, and one of them may consume a lot of alcohol while the other consumes in moderation throughout the event.
We’d love to say that there is a perfectly executed formula that uses every drop of
alcohol and can be perfectly budgeted. However, without knowing exactly how
much each individual will consume throughout the bar service at your wedding, the numbers we give you will always just be an estimate.
It’s important to remember that the beverages you provide your guests are a gift in return for their attendance; they’re not a requirement. Guests will drink what is provided for them or choose not to drink at all. Sometimes staying within a budget means going heavy on things like kegged beer and being more conservative on things like liquor.
Taking advantage of the wedding bar services consultations provided by Tavern Team prior to booking is the best way to make sure your event goes off without a hitch. Reach out to Tavern Team to discuss your bartending services in Milwaukee, Madison, Fond Du Lac, Lake Geneva, Northern Illinois, and parts of Upstate New York. Subscribe to our site (see the footer) for more event party planning updates!