Post # 1
So I have been thinking of the different ways to do the bar at our wedding and I think I want to have JUST our signature drink during the cocktail hour with the hor douvres, then an open bar of wine and beer at the reception. There will be around 50-75 people there and the reception will be about 4 hours NOT including the cocktail hour. I was wondering if anyone out there did a wine and beer open bar by consumption and could tell me what their tab was at the end? Also how many people were there and how many hours? Or if anyone is planning on doing it the same way, how much are you figuring it will be? I know that I want to do it this way, just need to know how much to budget for it 🙂
Post # 4
We’re contemplating an open consumption bar because the open bar prices are so high compared to other venues. We’re going to put a cap on it – talking about $5000 total (so ~$3800 before service & tax), but that’s fairly preliminary. That’d be roughly 6 drinks apiece for 125 people. Consider a cap (even if a high one) so that you can set your budget.
Post # 5
I’m not sure how much that would be because our bar put a set amound per person to do an open bar. Good Luck
Post # 6
Do you know how much your place charges for drinks? Some glasses of wine cost $6, others cost $12 – that would make a big difference in your final tab.
Post # 7
- Wedding: September 2011 - Mackinaw Valley Vineyard; Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts
I agree with @kay01, see if you can cap it. We’re doing open bar by consumption too, but I want to make sure out tab doesn’t go over a certain amount. We assume one drink per person per hour and went from there based on what we wanted to spend.
Post # 8
Our venue offered an open bar at $26/person for 5 hours. This included hard liquor, but not top shelf. I knew exactly what I was spending when I wrote the check.
Our venue coordinator did NOT recommend a per-drink plan because, as she put it, “The person paying the final tab usually spends the evening hanging around the bar, trying to calculate what it’s going to cost them, not having a very good time”. Unless your guests are REALLY light drinkers (Baptists, Mormons, pregnant, etc) it may actually cost you less money to do it the other way. Also, when the bar is open, people are very careless about leaving their drinks, servers pick them up, etc.
Check with your venue about putting a cap on it. For some, they will charge you more because it requires them to continuously calculate to make sure you aren’t over the tab.
As a guest, I would be REALLY unhappy with just a signature drink at cocktail hour since I do not drink any hard liquor. Also, as a PP noted, that drink may actually cost you more money.
Another option (which I personally would NEVER do, but it is apparently common in some parts of the country) is to give each guest a fixed number of drink tickets. Anything after that is cash bar. Again, a lot of venues don’t like to deal with that because they now also have to be prepared to deal with cash.
Post # 9
I know you said your mind is made up about paying by consumption, but “by consumption” is really a misnomer. Please do consider what @Georgia Bee said and keep in mind that you are paying for drinks ordered, not necessarily consumed. When people aren’t paying for alcohol they are much more likely to misplace their drinks, try a bunch of things they may not like and would not order if paying for, let their drinks get watery and then get new ones, etc.
Post # 10
Thanks for responding everyone. I actually dont have the option if per head, they only do consumption. The prices for drinks are $4 for beer, $6 for a glass of wine and ~$4 for mixed drinks. Maybe we should offer the signature drink all night instead of just cocktail hour? I guess I hadnt thought about that… I think setting a cap is a good idea. What do you think of this: I did the math and if everyone had one signature drink at cocktail hour (not everyone will even have one so I figure one per person will round out and there is also food), plus I figured if everyone had 2 beers AND 2 glasses of wine every hour after that it would be ~$2,364 for 70 guests for all 5 hours and that includes tax, gratuity, and bartender fee… does that sound like enough?