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Wedding - How Much Wine To Provide?


#1

I’m planning a wedding for later this year and all the alcohol throughout the day will be provided by us. No pay bar of any kind.

I am struggling to get a sense of the quantities of wine to be ordering. I do not massively want a loan of wedding wine left over but nor do I want to under buy. I am aware of sale and return schemes but would also prefer to avoid this hassle.

My online research has suggested that my initial ideas for wine provision are over the top but I personally feel that the online guides provide far too little wine per person - perhaps because they think there will be a pay bar in the evening.

Essentially the wedding starts at 1pm and people will be drinking by 1.30pm. We then have around two and a half hours of reception where mostly sparkling wine will be drunk, then the meal where it will be mostly white and red, followed by sparkling for toasts and then white and red in the evening. In addition, we will be providing beer, spirits, and soft drinks in addition to the wine. Final drinks at 11.30pm.

My initial jottings for wine look like this (there will be around 85 drinking guests throughout the day and night).

Sparkling for reception: 45 bottles (reception from 1.30pm to around 4pm)
White wine for meal and evening consumption: 50 bottles
Red wine for meal and evening consumption: 50 bottles
Rose wine, probably for all day drinking: 15 bottles
Sparkling wine for toasts: 15 bottles
Total: 175 bottles

Essentially it averages out to around 2 bottles of wine per person which does sound like a lot but we are also talking of around 10 hours of possible drinking time per person.

I would be happy to receive any feedback, I think I’m broadly on the ball but happy to hear if people think I am over going over or under the top and if people think I am getting the bottle splits wrong (white/red/rose etc.). Another reason not to buy any more wine than necessary is that i have a set budget for wine, which obviously equals a higher per bottle price if less bottles need to be purchased.


#2

Most important question you need an answer to: What are your guests like and how do they drink?

I think that as long as your guests are not total alcoholics / wine fiends then you are providing generously and will probably have some wine left over.

I’m assuming it’s a summer wedding (the rosé)
I’m assuming you’ll have a fair few people switching to spirits & beers in the evening (some may well even request beer for the meal - though again, you know your guests).

If you’re considering price per bottle then you could potentially switch wines for meal / for evening more food friendly / structured while eating then something glou glou for the evening. More enjoyable for guests and would potentially give you the freedom to play with bottle price.


#3

Allow me a cautionary tale…

I got married in September 2016 and I still have 20+ bottles of Chablis which I bought non-SOR in France. I love it but I had cases and cases and cases left over and cannot get through them quick enough.

I took four/five cases of red back to Majestic a couple of days later and have never thought of them again!

The amount of half-drunk glasses that get left on tables and abandoned as the day wears on is staggering so do bear that in mind if you serve the same wine all the way through as wastage will be high.

Consider your menu. We served beef as the only meat choice which contributed to the imbalance.

You do not want your wedding to be remembered as the one where the booze ran out becuase you didn’t want the hassle of SOR!


#4

Depends on the amount people drink, on how many drivers there are, on the weather (we had cases and cases of red left over from my sister’s wedding as it turned out to be the hottest day in years), on the age range (generally older people drink less)…

Sorry not helpfiul. All I can say is better to have too much than too little. Don’t TWS provide a wedding service? They will surely have the experience to know how much is average for the number of guests you have?


#5

We’re definitely a crowd that can get through a decent amount of booze but equally there will be plenty of spirits, cocktails and beer available in the evening. Yes a summer wedding with beef as the primary main course.

I think it is a good idea to have a ‘meal’ wine and then have something more easy drinking for the evening. If I go down the route of sale and return then it would be easy to stock up with the evening wine.


#6

SOR does sound tempting in that respect. There is a Majestic nearby which could be an option, I would prefer WS though. WS does do SOR but obviously not quite as straightforward as dropping the excess wines back in the local store.

I’m broadly confident we’ll not run out of booze, we’re going to have a decent amount of spirits on hand. Just want to try and get the wine supply broadly right.


#7

Yes, have spoken to TWS who have been very helpful. They felt the number of wine bottles I was thinking about was on the high side for the number of guests so I just thought I would get some other opinions regarding wine supplied for an lengthy wedding style event.


#8

It sounds high. Even for all day.

I would also definitely want to do it on SOR. I’ve done two big sports dinners on that basis, and the admin wasn’t bad at all. These were with Majestic. I appreciate the WS is probably a bit more complicated, but it’s worth it for the piece of mind in either direction.


#9

When I worked in the business a while back, we used to suggest 1/2 bottle per head, plus whatever you need for the toasts. It’s not that some people wouldn’t drink way, way more than that, but as an average, and if beer and spirits are available on top…

As others have said, it depends on the guests (how many will mainly drink beer or softs? How many will have kids with them?) and how many are driving (really key as they may have nothing but the toast).

If I wanted to be sure of not running out (if the venue is self contained, it’s for daytime and evening, and no paying bar to fall back on, I’d say a bottle per head (remember this is an average), plus beer and you should still have plenty left. Unless everyone there works in the wine trade!


#10

We got married in October and had 60 bts of Champagne for 112 guests. We ended up with 18 left after a 2 hour reception. NB that we didn’t do a separate toast; that was part of the drinks.

We also had 40 bts of white and 48 bts of red with the meal. I believe we had around 9 bts of white left and about 12 red. 5 (75cl) bottles of Dessert wine were drunk!

In the evening we had a further 18 bts of red and 24 of white; about 10 red were drunk and 12-15 white.

We also provided 36 pts of cask ale and 40 litres of stuff brewed especially for the day - c.30 pints of the former went, less than 20 of the latter.

Guest-profile wise lots aged 30-40 plus family and friends. I would consider most of our peers as fairly keen drinkers but even so vastly over-catered.

Edit: Drinking started at 4pm


#11

Oh and some links to the TWS contributions!






#12

My friend got married last year. He had just over a bottle of wine per guest and had quite a bit left at the end of the night. I know that I personally drank more than a bottle :woozy_face:

I don’t know if that is any help. I don’t remember how much I had at my wedding but I would say you could cut a good chunk off your order and still have plenty remaining.


#13

Can’t be much help on the wedding breakfast…only 10 of us…got the amount pretty much spot on (and the cellars of the venue were fairly accommodating…it was a Rothschild property) :joy:

from organising a few wine dinners/large parties, I do think you might have over-estimated though and given you say its a summer wedding (even with beef) I would expect less red drunk and more lager/beer. Also consider - lots of people will do a G&T at some point, even Pimms…

I know it may take some time but almost go through individuals and try to work out red/white/rose/beer & approx how much you think they might drink…some great aunt Maude’s at 90 will sip a sparkles for the toast and some will be knocking back single malts at 11:30pm

Other option is to pour particular wines with each course of the meal ?

Most of all…don’t worry on the day, just enjoy yourselves - your wedding day goes in a flash !


#14

Thanks. That is really helpful and very similar profile to us -30-40, kids aren’t invited and I think most people are staying locally so very few designated drivers.

Dessert wine is a fun idea, but yes no need to go too crazy on the quantities. What time did you go onto? We start drinking circa 2pm and finish 11.30pm.

Given your quantities, albeit with around 25 more guests, you purchased 190 bottles and consumed around 135. Given that I might be able to trim my quantities slightly but it is really helpful info to know.

Cheers for the suggestions too. One of the reasons I’d prefer to try and get the quantities right is that there is a majestic nearby but I’d rather use the Wine Society since I rate them a lot higher in general quality terms than Majestic.


#15

Yeah, I’m starting to come to that view as well. We will be having plenty of beer and spirits available to and a couple of cocktail options in the evening as well the standard pimms type fair for the reception.


#16

I like the idea of a wine paired to each course. I’m meeting with the caterers soon and will raise it.

Whilst I’m trying to work out the logistics of quantity, I must admit that we’re getting to the stage of planning which is personally much more interesting for me - choosing the wine and drinks! Everything before this has been very crucial to organise but not as interesting.


#17

We finished at 11.30. I neglected to mention that there were around 15 extra evening guests too, though at least 50% of them would have been driving/not drinking.


#18

There’s no mention of corkage.

My experience with a couple of venues where I get the wine and we pay corkage is that the venue will enthusiastically open as many bottles as they can, as everyone opened is a corkage fee to them


#19

Thankfully we chose a no corkage venue so we are completely free to have whatever wine we want and in whatever quantities! I just don’t really want to have 30 bottles of wedding white sitting at home - perhaps a bottle of excess wine could be the wedding favour…