Cheers! Your Guide to Wedding Drinks

A sign of a good wedding is one where the guests are enjoying themselves and the booze keeps flowing! Whether you’re tee-total or are planning a big night on the bubbly, we’ll share some tips to keep you and your guests watered with our guide to wedding drinks.

Red Martini |


Reception Drinks

Welcome your guests to your wedding reception with a drink. If you’re having a swanky Art Deco themed wedding, you might opt for an aperitif such as a sherry or glass of champagne. Outdoor weddings in the summer months would benefit from a fruity cocktail such as a daiquiri or Pimms. If your W Day falls in the chillier months, hot apple cider spiked with a bit of rum for those of drinking age is always a popular drink. To ensure everyone enjoys your reception, make sure you provide plenty of water, soft drinks and juices for those who don’t imbibe. As the night winds down, consider having a table set up with tea and coffee for your guests. This is a nice touch, especially for winter weddings.

Drinks with the reception dinner |

Photo courtesy of Abigail and Chris’s Real Wedding.

Drinks with the Meal

When it comes to keeping your guests hydrated during your meal, it’s traditional to opt for a classic red and a classic white to be placed on the table. Usually, guests help themselves, choosing which they prefer and refilling their glasses as needed. Wait staff are normally on hand to replenish the table with wine and remove empty bottles as necessary. Depending on your venue, servers may stand by waiting to serve your guests. Again, don’t forget to provide drinks for those who don’t drink alcohol or who are choosing not to. Orange or apple juice is usually the preferred juice drink but any juice would be welcome. Don’t forget bottles or pitchers of still and sparkling water, too.

Chin chin!

Photo courtesy of Veronica & ‘Alejandro’s Urban Real Wedding

Champers for the Toast

It’s traditional for a glass of champagne to be served to each guest before the speeches, so they can toast the bride and groom. Alternatively, you could serve up sparkling wine instead. Non-French bubblies such as cava and sekt are very popular and usually cheaper too.

Beware: at a wedding reception, guests tend to drink a lot! The following drinks quantities are recommended per guest:

LunchAfternoon receptionEvening reception
¼ bottle Champagne¼ bottle Champagne¼ bottle champagne
¼ bottle red wine¼ bottle red wine¼ bottle white wine
¼ bottle white wine¼ bottle red wine½ bottle red wine
1 litre mineral water70cl bottle mineral water2 bottles beer
½ litre fresh fruit juice½ litre fresh fruit juice1 litre mineral water

How much is enough?

How much booze you decide to provide your guests with is usually an intensely debated topic. Too little and your guests will go thirsty; too much and you might see a side of your guests you never knew existed! Consult our handy chart above but bear in mind it’s been slightly embellished: better to have more than you need than have to send someone out to the off licence!

Double check with your venue to determine what their rules are regarding bubbly and drinks. Some venues provide the drinks while others charge corkage. Corkage is generally the fee applied per bottle for all the alcohol you provide for your own wedding. Corkage prices can range from reasonably low to absolutely extortionate, so make sure you are aware before you sign your contract.

If you supply your own drinks for your reception, buy the biggest bottles you can: bigger bottles means less bottles, which equates to you shelling out fewer pounds for corkage charges. Also, arrange for the alcohol to be purchased from a supplier who accepts returns, this way you’re stuck with cases of booze after the wedding.


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