Open bar: Running a tab or flat rate?

posted 4 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
Member
9147 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

Run a tab ad cut it at a specific amount.  I did that at my first wedding and we never even hit the stop amount.

Post # 4
Hostess
7568 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

Could you run a tab ask them to remove the really expensive drinks like top shelf liqours? Unless everyone’s drinking those $10 drinks, I can’t imagine spending more on a tab bar. 

Post # 5
Member
330 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

That’s a tough call. $23 a head isn’t bad for open bar.  But Sunday afternoon, some people don’t drink at all, etc… It’s a tough call.  If you have the spare $1200 in your budget, the open bar is the safest bet. But if you’re pinching pennies and really trying to save, the tab with the cut off will guarantee you don’t overspend (although it might piss off some guests).

Honestly, I’d go with the open bar if your reception is more than like two hours long.  But like I said, it’s a really tough call in this situation.

Post # 6
Member
163 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Do the running tab.  But you should consider the drinking habits of those invited and if they are going to be driving home afterwards or not.  (Try and guess what folks will drink and do the math.)  With it being a day wedding, I would think people wouldn’t drink as much.

Another options to save on costs is to just do beer and wine.

Post # 7
Member
846 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

@beachbride1216:  What do you think a good cut-off amount is? We are putting money in the bar too and would like to know how much for around 80 people. We have a mix of drinkers and non-drinkers too so I haven’t an idea.

 

Thanks in advance.

Post # 8
Member
9147 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

I did a tab of $800 for draft beer, well liquor and house wine; guests could pay for top shelf if they wanted.  We only hit a little over $300 with 55 guests even though it was Saturday night because many were non-drinkers and a lot of guests left after we cut the cake.

Post # 10
Member
418 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

Run the tab. My parents have paid for 3 weddings and he’s found it to be cheaper in the long run.

Post # 11
Member
846 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

@Carolsays:  Yeah, this makes it tough because we don’t have a per head option for booze :/ I’ll have to show FI the menu and prices because he is more mathematically minded than me. Thanks!

Post # 12
Member
3032 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I faced this dilemma as well.  If it was a Saturday night, I definitely would’ve advised you to just pay for the open bar. But on a Sunday, in the daytime, and you know for a fact that a few people don’t drink? And I’m assuming you’re also providing soft drinks so people can alternate. Will there be any dancing or anything? I’m asking because sitting around chatting at a table would encourage more heavy drinking than would an activity like dancing.

A responsible drinker who has to drive will have 1-2 drinks per hour. Even a heavy drinker will not have more than 3 drinks per hour in broad daylight, right? times 4 hours, that’s 12 drinks (which…nobody freaking has 12 drinks in a sitting. I mean, really, lol. 

We decided to run a tab and we don’t even have any non-drinkers coming!

Post # 13
Member
11287 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

@Carolsays:  i had the exact same scenario as you.  some non-drinkers, some heavy drinkers, etc. 

i ended up going with the running bar tab.  the bar was open immediately after the ceremony (open 6.30pm) and stayed open all night until 1am.  i was shocked when i got the total.  i thought the price would be similar to the set bar amount.  no.  it was half of what i expected it to be.  it even included the passed wine service for dinner.

i would go with the running bar tab.  i can’t imagine a large bar tab on a sunday afternoon.  you can always request to stop it once it reaches a certain amount.

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