If you've never thrown a big party before and are planning to rent the barware for the reception, you'll need to figure out just how many glasses you need. There's no exact science, but there is a general rule: Figure on one drink/glass per hour per guest. If your wedding reception is a four-hour affair, that would mean four glasses per guest. But there's more to choosing your rentals than just giving your vendor a headcount. Here are some other tips that make choosing the right glassware a breeze.
Know your wedding style.
The number and type of glasses you need depends on whether you're offering a full bar (cocktails, wine, and beer) or wine and beer only. It also depends on whether you're having a seated dinner or a buffet (and therefore no place settings).
Keep it simple.
The basic glassware at a place setting is a water goblet, wineglass, and Champagne flute, but to pare things down, you may just want an all-purpose glass (plus flutes if you're having a Champagne toast).
Plan to wash them.
If you'll have servers who are able to clean the glasses during the party, you can rent fewer glasses. Ask your venue manager if it will be possible to clean barware during the party.
Consult a pro.
Before you even talk to a rental vendor, ask your caterer how many glasses (and which types!) they recommend you order based on your head count, signature cocktails, and what you know your guests like to drink. Then go to a party supply company to order, armed with all the information you'll need.
Factor in overages from the start.
For a seated dinner, have five percent more glasses on hand than you need; for a cocktail party, rent at least three glasses per person.
Say it with us: Bottles up!
To reduce the number of glasses you rent, let guests drink beer from the bottle.
Remember that marking glasses doesn't really work.
Don't assume that writing a guest's name on a glass means they'll keep using the same one all night. What happens if they start out drinking mojitos then switch to soda—would you really expect them to use the same glass? Also, some guests won't remember where they set down their drink, so they'll head to the bar for a replacement.