Consumption vs Open Bar!?

posted 2 years ago in Food
Post # 2
2782 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

MeandMyLouboutins:  We had about 100 guests at our wedding.

The venue only did consumption.  Our wedding coordinator told us that on average, you should count 4 beverages per/guest.  Some will drink, others won’t.  The majority of people invited to our wedding were drinkers- and my family are all definite social drinkers.

Our coordinator was spot on– and even when DH and I ordered a few top shelf rounds of shots 2x during the evening for about 10 people, we were still pleasantly surprised at the bar bill– 

Our total bill was about $2300. 

We had complete open bar (all beers and ALL liquors including top shelf) for 1 hour forty five minutes (cocktail hour)- which is when drinking is heaviest.  Our cocktail hour started at 5:15pm.  Our car stayed open until  11:30pm- and after cocktail hour, we hosted all beers and wine.  Liquor was cash. Beers were $6-7/each, soda was $4/5 (consumption included sodas)- and wines was $6/7.

 In your case, I highly suggest gong the consumption route since most of your family aren’t drinkers.

  • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by  .
Post # 3
7286 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I think it depends on how many people actually are drinkers and how many drinks the consume on average. It also depends on the cost per drink And what they drink. For example is the mostly drink beer then consumption might be the better option since a beer is bigger and cheaper.

When you go out with FI’s friends how many drinks do they have? How many do your friends have? It might be good to try and work out anticipated drinks that way. But remember to factor in the free drinks factors. People tend to drink more than they usually do when it is someone else’s shout.

Post # 5
552 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Consumption based was our only option. I would have rather had open bar. We had about 200 people and had one top shelf grey goose option. We ended up paying around $40 per person and then extra per person for pop/mixers which I thought was included. It sucks getting that bill after the reception. 

Post # 7
2782 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

MeandMyLouboutins:  That’s not what happened at our wedding– people finished thier drinks.  People don’t just automaticaly get new ones if they aren’t paying.  

I’ve had plenty of free drinks in my day- and I still treat it the same whether I have paid for it or not.  The only time someone might get a new drink before they are finished- is if it gets put down and then taken.  But most people literally hold on to thier drinks until they are finished.  This did happen once to my husband- he had a whiskey that he put down so we could go outside and take pics- and when we came back- it was gone.  Someone had cleaned it up.  But we were gone quite awhile- so it wasn’t exactly a surprise.

Post # 9
2782 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

MeandMyLouboutins:  There are inevitably going to be  *some* people who drink more- but again, as my wedding coordinator assured us– it evens out across the the board.

People still need to get home at the end of the night- and contrary to what you might think, not everyone is going to take a cab or pay for transportation.  It’s a bigger pain to get your car the next day, depending on where you live.

I suppose it also depends on the maturity level of your guests– meaning– are they actually responsible drinkers?  Or are they likely to get in thier car after many drinks.  We had many guests who thouroughly enjoy drinking.  My dad’s family- while they are responsible, they had a limo for the evening– and even then- our bar tab still ended up being right where the coordinator said it would be.  Because enough people drove- and drove responsibly.

I was unsure of what my coordinator said, too- it’s almost hard to believe.  But she’s been doing this for years- and she works at the venue- where they only allow consumption- where all sorts of different weddings (big drinkers/no drinkers/moderate drinkers) have all hosted and attended.  It’s her job to pay attention to these things and be knowledgable on them.

If it matters, I live in- and our venue was in a larger city (Minneapolis).


A lot of places will try to get you to do open bar per person– because you feel like you have security, knowing the most it will cost is XX dollars per person– but they know they are *winning* in terms of cost.

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