So you’ve booked Brookleigh Estate for your wedding or event, and now you’re starting to get a bit overwhelmed about just how many drinks to actually bring in? I get it – its confusing! Which is why I’ve put together the below guide for how I calculate out drinks requirements for my clients events.
Decide What Drinks You’re Offering
First things first, what are you wanting to offer your guests? At a BYO venue, the sky’s the limit, however I do recommend keeping it fairly simple so you don’t overwhelm your guests. As a starting point, I recommend bringing in the following:
- 1 Sparkling / Champagne
- 2 White Wines
- 1 Rose (optional – bring in if you know you’ll have rose drinkers in the house)
- 2 Red Wines
- 3 beers (usually 1 of these would be a light beer) and 1 cider (if you know you have cider drinking friends)
- 2-3 non-alcoholic options – this could be just soft drinks, or if you have a few non-drinking friends you can look at some of the amazing alcohol free wines, beers and cocktail options out there – trust me, they’ll thank you for it!
On top of that, consider if you want to offer a welcome cocktail (usually enough for 1 per person), a signature cocktail (available all night long) or if you want to bring in spirits. Once you have your drinks list, move on to step 2…
What Will Each of Your Guests Drink?
This is where I really rely on my clients knowledge of their guests! Look at your guest list and try to estimate what they’re most likely to drink – do you know that cousin Peter will only drink beer all night, but that your Uncle Bob will probably have a few beers and then move to the red for the second half of the night? Pop down the types of drinks most likely for them to drink, and an estimated percentage for each (don’t worry, we’ll account for them to stray from your plan below). For example – Uncle Bob might drink 50% beer and 50% red wine, while best friend Sarah might get 50% champagne, 25% white and 25% rose. Once you’ve done this for each guest move on to step 3…
It’s Time To Add It All Up!
As a general rule, I recommend to allow for 2 drinks for the first hour, and 1 drink for every hour after that. So for a 6 hour reception, allow for 7 drinks per person. This is an estimate as not everyone will drink exactly 7, but in my experience this allows for your boozy cousin Peter’s 10 drinks to be balanced out by your Aunt Julie’s 3 drinks overall.
To calculate the number of GLASSES of each type, add up the number of guests allocated to each type (so for example Bob’s 50% beer would be 0.5 and cousin Peter’s 100% beer would be 1, so that would be 1.5 guests worth of beer) and times that by the number of drinks required per guest (so 1.5 guests x 7 drinks = 10.5 beers to cover Bob and Peter).
Once you have the number of glasses / beers required for each type, work out how many BOTTLES / CASES you’ll need to have that on hand. As a general rule:
- 5 glasses of wine / sparkling = 1 bottle
- 24 beers/ciders in a case
So you can calculate out your requirements based on the following sum:
(Number of drinkers on that variety x number of drinks required for length of function) / (Number of glasses per bottle or beers per case)
Once you’ve worked out that number, I always recommend adding 25% to each type to allow for people to shift between varieties without the risk of anything running out. Because trust me, nobody wants to run out of drinks at a wedding!
Many bottle shops now offer a buy back system – allowing you to return unopened cases of wine and beer for a full refund, which allows you to comfortably overstock without breaking the bank. Wherever possible I like to support local bottle shops – besides knowing you’re supporting a small business owner, they often have a much more interesting range of wines available and can offer personalised recommendations to suit your guests (and budget!)
So you’ve got your drink quantities sorted – amazing! But now you have to look at how many glasses to bring in…. 🤯 (I know, you can put the calculator away soon, I promise). Please don’t make the all too common error of under ordering on glasses – because nothing slows a party down more than guests having to wait around for a glass to be washed to get their drink poured!
My recommendation? Get 2.5 of each glass for each person you estimate drinking that type. So if you’ve estimated 70 of your guests will drink champagne at some point – have 175 champagne flutes on hand. I know that sounds like a lot, but this accounts for breakages and abandoned drinks throughout the night (remember all those times you’ve seen glasses in the bathrooms or on a random pillar in the venue – yeah, those glasses) and means that your bar staff can efficiently serve your guests their drinks throughout the night without there being a huge delay or wait for glasses to be collected / washed / dried.
This blog was written by Kiera Treloar from Little Things Events
With well over a decade of experience in event management and marketing in both Perth and Sydney, Kierra has worked on all kinds of events, from awards nights and balls, to theatre events, sporting events, music festivals, tourism events, restaurant launches, cocktail parties and national film premieres.