5 steps to creating a wine list that you and your guests will love
Congratulations! She said yes. The date was saved. And the cake has been tasted. But has the wine?
In a recent poll The Knot found 57% of couples rank food and beverage as the most important aspects to focus on during the wedding planning process with 79% offering open bars and 51% champagne toasts to give their guests a celebration to remember. And wedding guests felt similarly with 40% of them expecting to party with complimentary alcoholic drinks. While some may find planning the drink menu for their wedding stressful, it doesn’t have to be.
How much wine should be served at a wedding?
Before you can begin planning the wine menu for your wedding, you need to first collect answers to a few questions:
One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is how many 21+ people are you expecting at your wedding?
Next, you’ll need to know how many hours your wedding reception (including the cocktail hour) is planned for.
On average, wedding guests drink 2 drinks the first hour and 1 each hour after. This means if you are expecting 100 guests over 21 at your wedding and your total wedding reception time is 4 hours, you should plan for at least 500 drinks to be served during that time.
At a high level, there are 3 kinds of beverage services at a wedding. The first is a cash bar where the guests are required to pay for any alcoholic beverage, including beer and wine. The second is complimentary beer and wine. The third option is a full open bar, which also includes mixed beverages and signature cocktails. Depending on the type of beverage menu you’ve selected, the number of kegs, bottles and liquor vary.
Generally speaking, at a wine and beer only event 75% of guests will choose to drink wine and 25% will drink beer. With a full bar option, 50% tend to choose wine, 20% beer and 30% liquor. This distinction matters because it will help guide the number of kegs and bottles that need to be purchased for your reception:
A keg of beer contains 165 12 oz. beers
A 750 mL bottle of wine contains approximately 4 6 oz. glasses
A 750 mL bottle of champagne contains approximately 5 5 oz. glasses
A 750 mL bottle of liquor contains 17 1.5 oz shots
Going back to our example, if you are hosting a 4-hour event with 100 21+ guests, at least 500 drinks are needed. If you’re hosting a beer and wine only celebration, you will need approximately 375 glasses of wine and 125 beers. This means you will need 94 bottles (not accounting for spillage or over-pours) of wine to fulfill the wine portion of the menu.
Because this article focuses on the wine portion of the menu, we’ll cover how to select beer and liquor in future articles.
What are the best types of wine to serve at a wedding?
Now that we know how many bottles of wine are needed for your event, the next step in selecting your wine menu for your wedding is to explore the variety of wine styles available to you and your guests. Did you know there are over 10,000 unique varieties of wine grapes around the world? According to Stacker, there are nearly 65,000 wine producers worldwide, with around 14,000 of those producers located within the United States. Despite the overwhelming variety of selection, you can easily accommodate your guests with a few crowd-pleasers.