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How much alcohol to buy

I’m often asked by clients, when organising a marquee wedding, how much alcohol they should buy for the wedding. Ensuring there is enough to last until the end of the evening without running dry is a key consideration, so here is some guidance to help you along the way.

Posted by Charlotte on October 4, 2023


Let’s start with how many glasses you can get from each type of alcohol.

  • A 75cl bottle of wine = 4 x (175ml) glasses of wine
  • 1 bottle of champagne = 6 x flute glasses of champagne
  • An 11 gallon beer keg = 88 pint glasses of beer
  • A 1 litre bottle of spirits = 40 x 25ml measures (singles)

Now, lets look at how much is required for each part of the wedding.

Drinks Reception

The average time of a drink’s reception is around 1 ½ hours, so ideally you’d want to allow 3 x drinks per person. Don’t forget to offer some non-alcoholic drinks too for those driving. A mocktail is always a nice option.

Many weddings choose to offer champagne/prosecco or a cocktail/mocktail as the reception drink. You’ll also need to consider any children attending the wedding and what they might like to drink e.g. juice boxes or Kilner jars of water/cordial.

Wedding Breakfast

During the wedding breakfast, wine is usually served with the meal. Preferences for red and white are usually well split but you’ll know your guest preferences and can adjust accordingly. Allow ½ a bottle of wine per person. Some will drink more than this but some will drink less so it should even out. 

Remember to also include still or sparkling water on the tables. A 1 litre bottle of water will give you 4 glasses and I would suggest allowing 1 glass per person.

It is always better to have too much wine than not enough as there is nothing worse than running out. Unboxed wine can be taken back to the wine merchant on a sale or return basis, so keep that in mind.


It’s traditional to serve champagne for the toasts, so you’ll want each guest to have a glass of champagne. 1 bottle of champagne will give you 6 flute glasses of champagne.

The Evening Bar

This is where it gets a bit trickier as usually you’ll have a wider selection of drinks available, such as after dinner cocktails, beer, wine, spirits & mixers and a selection of soft drinks. Based on a 4 hour evening reception, I would allow 6 – 8 drinks per person.

As an example , if you’re going with wine, beer and soft drinks only and have 100 guests attending, you’ll want 50 bottles of wine (a mixture of red & white = 6 glasses per person), 150 bottles of beer (6 bottles per person) and 2 x 11 gallon kegs (of ale/cider or beer = 88 pints in each keg).

I hope this was helpful and goes someway to organising the amount of alcohol to buy for your marquee wedding.

If you need any further help or assistance, I’d be very happy to have a chat. Give me a call on 07970 981887 or email me at

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