One of the hardest parts of planning a wedding reception is calculating how much of everything you’ll need. Running out of beer for thirsty guests or printed napkins for messy eaters can be embarrassing.

Much of your planning will revolve around how many guests show up. Factors like weather can greatly alter wedding guest calculations, but the general rule of thumb is that 75-85 percent of invitees will make it.

So, with that knowledge, let’s tackle what I call the four biggest “how much” challenges:

1. How many favors will I need for a wedding?

Estimating how many wedding koozies and other custom wedding favors you’ll need is fairly easy. Here’s a quick guide:

  • High-end favors or items exclusively for taking home: One per household
  • Favors to use at the reception and take home (like koozies!): One per guest
  • Throw away or edible items: One per guest
  • Favors for kids: One per child

How many wedding favors to buy? infographic

* A thought to consider: If your guests include small children, please choose favors that are appropriate and safe for all ages.

Note: Some favors have a short lifespan. However, Koozies® and can coolers will be used for years to come at backyard BBQs, on road trips and even at work. Guests will appreciate your generosity and thoughtfulness every time they use them!

2. How much alcohol to buy for a wedding?

wine in custom cups

Every person differs on the amount and type of alcohol they’ll consume on a given day. But since you hand-picked your guests, you should be fairly certain how much they’ll consume and what type of alcohol they prefer.

I urge you to try one of the many online drink calculators. Most ask you to estimate the number of light-to-heavy drinkers, the duration of the reception and the type of alcohol or other beverages you’ll serve. Then, presto! You’ve got numbers.

You may also want to get advice from a seasoned bartender with a lot of wedding reception experience.

3. How much food to buy for a wedding?

Most people rely on a caterer or local cook to order food for their wedding. But their calculations are only as good as the guest count you give them.

If you’re the one estimating food amounts, here’s a quick guide:

  • Meat or main entree: 6-8 ounce servings per guest. If you are serving more than one meat dish/entree, reduce it to 4-6 ounces each.
  • Side dishes: 4-6 ounce servings per person if offering three side dishes.
  • Fruit: 1 cup per person.
  • Salad: 1 cup per person.
  • Bread/rolls: 1 1/2-2 per guest.
  • Dessert: One piece of cake per person. How much food to buy for a wedding diagram* If you are also having a dessert buffet, candy buffet or ice cream bar, decrease the amount of cake by 10-15 percent.

4. How much cake will I need for a wedding?

Since we already established in No. 2 that one piece of cake should suffice per person, this question should be as easy as calculating your expected guests. Right? Well, not so fast.

First of all, the standard wedding cake portion is much smaller than most of us are used to. The customary individual wedding cake portion is 2″ deep by 1″ wide.

The experts at have a handy serving size guide for round and square tiers:

Round Tiers 

Diameter / Servings

  • 6″ / 14
  • 8″ / 25
  • 10″ / 39
  • 12″ / 48
  • 14″ / 77
  • 16″ / 100
  • 18″ / 127

Square Tiers

Length (of side) / Servings

  • 8″ / 32
  • 10″ / 40
  • 12″ / 72
  • 14″ / 98
  • 16″ / 128

Share your tricks and tips!

Do you have a tried-and-true method for wedding planning? We’d love to hear from you! Please share your great ideas below!

Get the best deals on premium wedding favors!

custom koozie wedding favors

Totally Wedding Koozies has a fantastic selection of wedding favors at unbeatable low prices! Choose from customized wedding cups and can coolers, with special styles for the wedding party. We also offer bulk wedding lip balm, party sunglasses and pens.

Make your big day even more unique with personalized wedding banners and our new premium 3-ply foil napkins!

Now that you’ve conquered the “how much” mysteries of wedding planning, it’s time to place your orders! Let us know if we can help you in any way.

Happy planning!


Written by our experts for you!

Write A Comment