(Closed) Open Bar

posted 10 years ago in Food
Post # 3
Member
438 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2008

when you are trying to estimate the cost of doing it per drink, keep in mind that you are guessing how many drinks each person will have.  at a big celebration light drinkers may drink more.  also, when drinks are free, people tend to leave them around and just go back to get another rather than looking for it…..this can definitely add up!

Post # 4
Member
61 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2007

we had open bar during cocktail hour, and then wine/beer/soda only during dinner. it actually happened by accident – you’re not really allowed to split it and we originally chose wine/beer/soda b/c it was cheaper and i didn’t want too many crazy drunkards. they accidently opened the full bar and they said they could keep it open until dinner, but couldn’t keep it open the whole time b/c the bartender was afraid of getting in trouble w/ the head guy. so it worked out perfectly! and we didn’t have to pay for the extra cost for open bar which was nice but that was b/c it was their mistake.

just don’t do cash bar if you can help it – a lot of people get surprisingly offended.

Post # 5
Member
226 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

Definately good point dreambml!  I drink very rarely, but if the drinks are free and everyone’s jolly!

Here’s my huge advice (lesson learned from my sis’s wedding): Make it very clear (bridezilla clear!) that the waitstaff is never to clear a partially full or full glass from a table unless requested to.  You’d be surprised how many times people would get up to dance, get back and drink is gone, then go back up to the bar!  It *really* added up!

Post # 6
Member
471 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

An option you have is to order through BevMo. They can deliver and you save a lot of money by providing your own alcohol provided that the catering company/venue doesn’t charge corkage and allows you to bring your own.

Any unused portion you can return!

 

You can have an open bar and a limited bar at different times of the evening as well. When taking the cost into consideration, assume worst case scenario if it were to be per drink rather than per head or yourself bringing it. It can add up. 

Post # 7
Member
22 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2008

Would anyone who had an open bar (or limited bar) mind posting how much they ended up spending, or at least an approximate range? 

Post # 8
Member
25 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2007

one idea would be to have open bar during cocktail hour and the first hour of the party. then when dinner is served, you can switch to wine being poured at the tables (choose one red and one white that are reasonable and go nicely with your menu).

 then after dinner, you can either switch back to open bar or go for a consumption bar (based on the actual number of drinks ordered) since many people drink less after dinner than before and during. Most venues will work with you to pick out whatever combination will work well with your guests and budget.

Post # 9
Member
438 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2008

I will be spending about $5000 for 140 people.  open bar for 5 hours, includes wine, beer, premium liquor, soda and water….

Post # 10
Member
68 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2007 - Restaurant in Burlington

we went with an open bar because my mother insisted.  i really don’t think we had too — very few people took advantage of the bar (as i suspected) and we wouldn’t have spent more than $20 pp, which is what we ended up paying for the open bar. 

that’s just my experience — it can go either way and you really don’t know until the big day. 

Post # 11
Member
39 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: November 2007

We stocked our own bar and had way more than enough of everything for 65 people.  We did all top shelf high end liquor and beer and then mid-range wine ($15ish per bottle).  We spent about $1500 on the liquor and have lots of Christmas presents left over for our drinking friends and family!!!

Post # 12
Member
38 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2008

we are doing the open bar during cocktail hour, wine/beer for the rest of the evening, and wine service during dinner. this is budget-friendly without looking cheap and will keep people happy without the risk of certain uncles getting out of hand!

 

Post # 13
Member
38 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2008

We are having an open bar for a cockatil hour before dinner and then after dinner we are just having beer & wine. We are lucky because the  beer after dinner is included in the reception package. I figure this will keep most people happy.

Post # 14
Member
91 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: January 2007

we did a hosted bar – wine/beer/pop/and signature drinks named after the bride and groom in our wedding colors 🙂

when we calculated it out – our hosted bar ended up saving us $$$ compared to the open bar and we were able to have a bar for nearly the entire event from the cocktail hour to the last dance. 

Post # 15
Member
68 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

i’m going with the open bar. it was actually included in my catering contract, since i’m having the reception at a hotel. as long as you don’t do a cash bar, i think you’ll be okay with whatever decision you make. b/c u defintely should have liquor, whether it be only wine/beer or hard liquor.

Post # 16
Member
67 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

i am doing an open bar.  the price is included per person in my food & beverage contract and it’s pretty reasonable.  (about $20 per head)  the open bar includes all alcohol (which could be an issue) but our wedding is held in a hotel so no one has to drive. 

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