If you've began even a sliver of wedding planning, you know how daunting and overwhelming it can be! And when it comes to how much alcohol (or even soft drinks!) to serve? Well, I'm sure your brain is on overload. I know mine was!

One way to estimate the amount of alcohol you will need is to consider the number of drinks per wedding guest. This will also, in turn, help you figure out the number of bar cups!

The amount of alcohol and number of bar cups per guest can vary greatly depending on the preferences and drinking habits of your guests, as well as the overall theme and tone of your wedding.

A few questions to consider:

  • Are the majority of your guests heavy drinkers or light drinkers?
  • How many drinks per hour do you think each guest will have?
  • What is their main drink of choice? Liquor / Beer / Seltzers / Wine?
  • How many guests do not drink?

For example, if 75% of your guests mainly consume seltzers and beer - let's focus on that. Or, do you have a more shophisticted, high-end guest list that prefers wine and champagne? You know your guest list better than anyone!


A good rule of thumb is to provide one bar cup per guest per hour of the reception. For example, if your reception is four hours long, you should provide 4 bar cups per guest. At 100 guests, that equates to 400 cups.

If you are only planning to provide bar cups for your cocktail hour, you only need to provide enough for one hour! Whether you provide 1 or 2 cups per guest per hour is up to you.

It's important to keep in mind that not all of your guests will use all of their bar cups, and some may not use any at all! You may also want to consider providing additional bar cups for those guests who tend to drink more.

Another important factor to consider is the type of alcohol you will be serving. If you are serving a signature cocktails or speciality drinks, you may want to provide fewer bar cups per guest as these drinks tend to  be sipped on slowly. On the other hand, if you are serving a variety of beer, wine, and cocktails, you may want to provide more bar cups per guest as these drinks tend to be consumed more quickly. If you won’t be having an open bar, you may choose to order cups based on the number of bottles of alcohol you will be ordering.

Different drinks require different sized cups, so try to bear your bar menu in mind in the process of selecting the perfect cups. We recommend that you should order 8-9 oz cups for wine, 10-12 oz cups for standard cocktails, and 14-16 oz cups for large cocktails like bloody marys, sangria, and beer. 

Overall, the number of bar cups per wedding guest is a personal decision that should be based on the specific preferences and drinking habits of your guests, as well as the overall theme and tone of your wedding. By considering these factors, you can help ensure that your wedding reception is a memorable and enjoyable experience for all of your guests!


Kayla Reitzes