First and foremost, you'll need to determine who's responsible for placing the order.
rows of sorbet in glass goblets
Credit: Jose Villa

When it comes to budgeting for seemingly smaller wedding-related items, such as glassware, it's best to have a sense of how much you'll really need. Before you do anything, we recommend talking with your caterer about what's included in their pricing. They've likely included some basic stemware for your bar and your dining tables in their overall quote. If you haven't yet hired a caterer, or you're handling all your own glassware and bar setup, a tool like Savoury Chef's Glassware Calculator can be a tremendous help. Once it comes time to place your order for glassware, you'll likely have the help of a rental company and your caterer to guide you through the specifics and confirm that you really do need that many glasses. Here are some of the basic questions you'll need to answer before placing any glassware orders for your wedding.

Who's responsible for ordering glassware?

In most cases, the couple won't be the ones actually placing the glassware order. If you have a wedding planner or designer, this is something they'll take on. Otherwise, it usually falls to the catering team or bar manager. Check in with your team to confirm who's going to be responsible so that you can begin making your selections. Not working with any of these types of professionals? Then glassware rentals will likely fall into your purview.

How many types of glassware will the bar need?

Your bar manager or catering team should be able to advise on how many types of glassware will be needed. In most cases, you'll want beer glasses, white wine glasses, red wine glasses, cocktail glasses, Champagne glasses, and water glasses at the bar. Depending on your bar menu, you might also want to include shot glasses (unless you're discouraging shots), lowball glasses, and dessert wine glasses.

How many types of glassware will be on the dinner tables?

Between chargers, flowers, candles, and platters, most wedding reception tables are pretty limited in space. Unless you plan to serve multiple wine varietals in their own glasses, you can usually plan to have one water glass and one or two wine glasses per person. If you're planning a Champagne toast, you'll also want to include a Champagne glass. Alternatively, you can encourage guests to toast with whatever they have in hand during dinner.

Will any glasses be reused?

Remember that most venues don't offer dish washing services during a wedding, so you're going to need enough glasses for each guest to have multiple drinks throughout the course of the evening. Of course, some guests will be happy to have their wine glasses refilled, but you'll need to plan for a new cocktail glass with every visit to the bar. Keep in mind that a lot of guests misplace their drinks throughout the night and often return to the bar empty handed.

Will beer be served in bottles?

If your plan is to serve beer in bottles throughout the event, you don't need to provide glasses for this.

Do you need any specialty glasses?

You'll likely want to include an additional type of glassware for things like specialty cocktails, or any catering presentations that require glassware. This might include something like oyster shooters, sorbet, or affogato.

Is there a rule of thumb for ordering extra glassware?

You'll want to allow a little extra glassware in case there's any breakage during transportation or any other surprises. Your caterer will be able to advise on how much extra is needed for your guest count, but the general rule of thumb is to order about 10% more than you actually need.


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