How Many Cups Should I Order? (& Other Questions Only Someone Planning a Wedding Would Ask)

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You guys, we’ve heard it all. Really. If the questions aren’t from one of our lovely clients, then they are most certainly from one of our favorite brides: shop owner and Ivory & Beau’s head honcho Nicole. I can’t tell you how many times she’s asked us to huddle around the front desk and help her choose her rentals-- or, perhaps our favorite question of all-- “is this too crazy?”  

The answer (to not only Nicole, but to everyone out there planning a wedding!) is almost always no. But sometimes, it’s pretty hard not to laugh when your newly-engaged boss stops to ask you, “hey, do you think you could do some research and write a blog about how many cups I should order for my wedding?”


Yes, Nicole. I most certainly can.

As it turns out, there isn’t really an easy answer. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I googled “how many cups should I buy for a wedding reception,” but it certainly wasn’t what I got. Some wedding forums recommended as many as three to four cups per person, while others suggested that guests would need a new cup every hour, on average.

(My personal favorite response? “One for each boob.” HA!)


The cost effectiveness of each option ranges, as well. Depending upon the price of the cups you would like to order, it may be cheaper to arrange to have one set of reusable glass cups or sturdy plastic cups like these stadium cups from For Your Party for dinner, with a more disposable option available for guests at the bar.

It’s always important to remember that it isn’t just your guests who will need a little refreshment! An outdoor wedding ceremony and reception can get a little toasty for vendors, too, so try to include enough cups to make sure that they can stay hydrated throughout your big day.


Side note: did you know you could design your own shot glasses? That’s literally the coolest customization I’ve heard of in a while!

As it turns out, it’s not just the number of cups that matters, either. Different drinks require different sized cups, so try to bear your bar menu in mind in the process of selecting the perfect cups. The Stationery Studio recommends that you should order 8-9 oz cups (like these adorable frosted cups from For Your Party) for punch, 10-12 oz cups for standard beverages, and 14-16oz cups for large cocktails like bloody marys, sangria, and beer.


If you won’t be having an open bar, you may choose to order cups based on the number of bottles of alcohol you will be ordering. For a better breakdown, we recommend checking out the Ever After Guide’s blog.

But all of this-- and believe me, I’m really paring it down here-- still doesn’t quite answer Nicole’s question.

The general consensus seems to be that you should order at least three cups per attendee. Remember that you can always save by providing one sturdy, customized cup as a take-home gift (because who doesn’t love a good cup?) and serving the rest of the drinks in a cheaper disposable cup. Before you order, be sure that your caterer, venue, and bar service won’t be providing glasses-- nobody likes to waste money or cups, after all!


So, there you go. Everything you may need to know about ordering just the right amount of cups for your wedding. Let this blog serve as living proof that there is no question too crazy to explore. Cheers to that!

{Vendor Credits} Photography: Danielle George Photography // Gowns, florals, and design: Ivory & Beau // Venue: Ships of the Sea // Spray Tan: Body Bronzing by Becca // Hair & Makeup: Hustle & Blow Dry Bar // Rentals: Event Works, Southern Belle Events