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The last thing you want to do on your Queenstown wedding day is run out of alcohol, glasses, or stress about your bar tab limit…

But where do you even start with working out how much to budget for?

Here’s some handy tips to consider when planning for your Queenstown wedding bar: 

Wedding party cheersing drinks


Start by tallying-up your wedding RSVPs and split them up into two camps – alcohol drinkers and non-drinkers. Then, split the drinkers according to whether they will mostly be drinking beer or wine.  Typically this tends to be 50/50, but you know your friends and family better than we do!

Alcoholic drinks lined up at a wedding bar


Now, think about the length of time your guests will be drinking and how much they are likely to consume per hour, and then work out the average.

For example: over the several hours of ceremony, reception and dancing, your beer drinkers might consume 6-9 beers each and it’s standard to offer one lager option and one dark beer option. Your wine-fans may drink 3-5 glasses of wine each during that time, and are twice as likely to drink white wine than red wine.  Every five glasses of wine is one bottle to order and you’ll need 2 bottles of white for every 1 bottle of red.


Planning for a champagne toast together with your guests?  You’ll need at least one glass per person and can expect to get 5-6 glasses out of each bottle of bubbles.  If you want bubbles flowing all night long, you’ll need to order more.

Pouring champagine for the bride and her bridesmaids


Some couples create a signature cocktail especially for the wedding day whilst others want the whole top shelf open for everyone to enjoy as they wish.  Either way, remember that you’ll get around 20 serves of 50ml per bottle for most spirits, plus you’ll need to consider mixers, fruit and garnishes too.

Liquor bottles and flasks for groomsmen


Ensure your guests have access to plenty of water at their tables and at the bar.  Those who aren’t drinking alcohol won’t consume anywhere near as much as those who are, so you’ll only need to allow for 2-3 soft drinks per person.


Take it from us – we’ve compiled some mistakes that have been learned the hard way, so you don’t have to:Wedding dinner cheers with groom and father in law

> Trying to please everyone – just because Aunt Mavis only drinks Merlot doesn’t mean you have to order a case of the stuff.

> Having too many options – many drinks vendors will take back and refund you for unopened bottles that have no label damage.  The more choice there is at the bar, the more left over open bottles you’ll have that you can’t return.

> Overestimating how much your friends can drink – there’s a big difference between a footy end-of-season shindig and a wedding and people do tend to be a bit less rowdy at the latter.

> Plan for the weather – it can change pretty quickly here in Queenstown from sweltering hot in the afternoon to chilly and fresh when the sun goes down.  This shift in temps can change drinking habits, from cold refreshments to warming drinks.

> Top shelf is always the top seller – the most expensive options will go first such as bubbles before wine, and stronger beers before a lighter option.


A few popular options for you to consider:

> Wines from local vineyards, beers from local craft breweries and even locally crafted spirits and juices are popular drink options for Queenstown weddings.  It’s a great way to support local businesses and you can try before you buy at many of the tasting rooms!

> Consider a keg – great for craft beers and you don’t have lots of empties to get rid of, but not ideal for other run of the mill beers.

Wedding Cocktail served on a platter

> Get creative – Queenstown has some great beer, wine and liquor suppliers that can get hold of pretty much anything you could ever want on your wedding day.  Talk to them about ideas and options that suit your wedding style and budget.


Check out all the Queenstown Wedding Association beverage providers HERE and let us know how you get on with stocking your own Queenstown wedding bar!

THANK YOU to our talented wedding vendors who contributed images for this blog:

Williams Photography
Holly & Co 
Relax It’s Done



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