Calculating the amount of beer and wine you’ll need to purchase for your wedding, rehearsal dinner, or any party or event, can sometimes be a little overwhelming. With so many beverage options available and prices varying between each type, it can be tricky to determine the perfect balance that will best suit your event. Hopefully the following tips make planning out the beer + wine a little easier. Today we are only going to focus on beer, wine and champagne for the wedding toast, and save ideas for cocktails and liquor drinks for a future post.



In general you want to plan on providing 1 beverage per guest per hour. So if you are only serving wine + beer an easy calculation is:

Guests x Hours = Servings

Guests over 21 multiplied by the number of Hours of the event equals how many Servings you will need to provide. This is an industry standard, but you know your guests best. Your family may not drink as much as your old college buddies (or maybe its the other way around). Cut back or increase servings as you see fit for your audience.

So how do servings translate into cases of wine and kegs of beer? Here are some things to know and the link to a great cheat sheet from a local taphouse.

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Let’s start with beer:

– Kegs come in different sizes, but the standard (and largest size) is the half barrel which yields 164 servings.

– Prices for kegs vary depending on type of beer and availabilty. Craft micro brews tend to be more expensive, while domestic big name beers are cheaper.

– Don’t forget to calculate into your budget the price of the deposit and tap rental. There is usually a required deposit for the keg itself and then a deposit and rental fee for the tap. The deposits are usually refunded after you return the equipment.

– Check out this great keg order FAQ from 99 Bottles Beer Store in Federal Way. They offer over 1,000 beer choices for advance order kegs and convientaly located off I-5.

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Now, wine:

– There are 4 glasses in each bottle of wine if your are serving a heavy pour, or 5 for a regular pour. Be sure to check with your caterer to see which type of pour they will be serving so you know how that will effect how much to buy.

– A standard case of wine contains 12 bottles, so at a regular pour that is 60 servings.

– People tend to drink more white in the summer and more red during winter.

– When serving wine, it’s best to provide two whites and two reds so there is a variety for every palate.

– Be sure to ask your caterer about corkage fees and include that into your budget.


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And lastly, an example:

The average wedding is attended by 150 guests and beverages are typically served for about 5 hours of a 7 – 8 hour wedding. If everyone is drinking and we’re only serving beer and wine then we’ll need to provide 750 servings. You can choose to divide this up between wine and beer however you like, but for the sake of the example we’ll just try to keep it close to even. If we buy two kegs that gets us to 330 servings, and then seven cases of wine to cover the other 420 servings. So 750 servings total, 330 of beer (or 2 kegs) and 420 of wine (or 7 cases).

As for champagne, if you are only serving it as part of a wedding toast, then most caterers do a half pour, making your money go a little further, but if it is a regular drink item, then they will make it a full pour. But remember, a regular champagne pour is smaller than a regular wine pour so you’ll need more champagne to cover all the guests. Most champagne bottles will fill 6 champagne flutes (full pours). But again, be sure to check with your caterer for their policies and pricing!


When in doubt, buy more! It’s better to be bringing home extra bottles of wine and a nearly empty keg than to have run out early in the night.