TO @Future_Ms.Bostonceltics: As a Canadian, the answers you get here (mostly from the USA) are going to be VASTLY different from the reality you find here in Canada.
And that is BECAUSE Alcohol (just the base price) to begin with is a lot more expensive in Canada (an average drink… be that Beer or Wine, is gonna cost you approx $ 10 PER POUR when you add in the required HST Tax of 13% and Tip on the Bill 15% MINIMUM the Venue is going to give you. Go onto hard stuff and the bill could be much higher, as Mixed Drinks, Martinis, and Fancy Items, can easily come in at the $ 12 to $ 15 mark EACH)
AND in the Province of Ontario (where I also reside) you’ll find that our antiquated Alcohol Laws also will come into play…
In that you’ll have to purchase your Booze from either the Venue directly (with their mark-up) OR direct from the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario)
Versus in the USA, where one can BYOB… or buy from private liquor stores… and they also have flat rate per hour rates for Wedding Guests and such (another thing not generally found in Canada, cause of our Alcohol Laws… in the same way that we don’t have true Happy Hours)
So you won’t find the $ 1, $ 2 or $ 3 pours that you’ll hear about from the US Bees. Or the amazing flat rate options … (not hourly… actual flat rates per person for the whole event)
In Canada this stuff just doesn’t exit.
And there is NO COMPETITION… alcohol prices are set by the Provincial Government… so things tend to be based solely on consumption… which is also one of the reasons that Canadian Weddings rarely are OPEN BARS, most couples opt to have some sort of “Compensated” Alcohol Service
Be that offering a Welcome Cocktail / Signature Drink… Spiked Punch… Wine with Dinner… Champagne / Sparkling for Toasting… a Wine & Beer Only Option… a White Bar… or the ever popular off-set Loonie or Toonie Bar.
Most Canadian Weddings, usually choose to leave the Bar available to their Guests beyond whatever they choose to provide… so that folks who want to drink more / or differently than the provided complimentary drinks can do so (with Cash)
As a general rule of thumb… if you are going to do ROUGH calculations for an Open Bar, I’d recommend $ 10 per pour x 1 drink per person (full Guest List) per hour as a MINIMUM.
Being aware that…
IF it is a night-time event, people will drink more than in the daytime. IF it is a Hot Day, people will drink more. IF people are younger they will drink more. And sadly, there will be drinks that will be got but not consumed (a fact when you offer up some element of an OPEN Bar)
Mr TTR and I had a Back Home Reception Party (evening 8 to 1 AM) with Hors d’ouevres & Cake for eats. We offered our Guests a Complimentary Welcome Cocktail when they arrived… THEIR CHOICE from the Bar (including ALL top shelf liquor).
We also had available FREE Bottled Water, Juice, Pop, Tea or Coffee all night long. And we bought several cases of Bubbly that we used for the Toast with our Cake, and also made available all night long (lol, it was a Celebration afterall). The Ladies present enjoyed the bubbly for sure.
Our Venue marked up our Champagne / Sparkling to 2.5 times (so the Bottle at the LCBO was listed at $ 13 and cost us close to $ 35 each). There was also a clause that said, the Venue OWNED the Alcohol we order (even tho we had to pay for it in advance… not unheard of in Canada… so be sure and read / understand the fine print)… This meant that anything that wasn’t drank was theirs to keep (and not ours). Which is one of the reasons we made the Champagne available all night long.
Our Reception was low-key for sure… and cost us between $ 80 and $ 100 per person… and our math tells us that approx $ 50 of that was for booze.
And like I said, we didn’t have anything near a full-on OPEN Bar (we estimated that would have been closer to $ 100 or more per head, and would have very quickly have taken us into an area that we could not afford… MEGA Thousands)
Hope this helps,