Ugh, the stupid bar issue!

posted 3 years ago in Reception
  • poll:
    Suck it up and pay the $25k+ for the 4 hr full bar : (5 votes)
    5 %
    Compromise: 1 hr full open, 3 hrs beer & wine : (81 votes)
    89 %
    forget it - no bar = no wedding, just elope : (5 votes)
    5 %
  • Post # 3
    1068 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2014

    @KDOS:  Oh my god, that number is ridiculous.

    I’d do just beer and wine.  I’ve never been to a wedding that had a full open bar, and nobody has ever complained.  Our venue (and many others in our area) doesn’t even allow liquor on the premises.

    Post # 4
    2788 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    Dear god that’s more then my entire wedding is. That’s absurd for just an open bar, find a different vendor, bring in your own booze,  or have only beer and wine. You could always cut the guest list down. 300 people is a lot.

    Post # 5
    716 posts
    Busy bee

    I’ve been to full open bar weddings, it is très, très nice.  

    But a choice between $25k bar tab or eloping seems abrupt.  There are compromises, maybe beer + wine + a signature cocktail or two?

    Post # 6
    1414 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: February 2009

    What the heck, why is it so much!?

    Post # 7
    188 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    We are having 200 people and at our vendor it was like $2000 more just for an open bar, so we decied on beer and wine, and if they decide they want to have a different kind then that’s up to them.


    Post # 8
    2537 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: November 2013

    That’s pricey.  You must be getting married in San Francisco or LA…

    Anyway, you should think about maybe doing beer+wine+a couple of drinks.

    Post # 9
    232 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: April 2013

    Yikes!  That’s nuts — it comes out to nearly $85/person for your four-hour open bar.  Is there any way you can negotiate for a lower price?  Our wedding was at a high-end venue in an expensive city, and even so, we paid $35/person for our premium four-hour open bar, with the option to extend at $9/person for each additional hour. 

    Some ideas for negotiating — other than just telling them how outrageous that price is — might be to do lower shelf alcohol, and exclude certain expensive items (like martinis and champagne, or substitute cava or prosecco).  If you can’t do the open bar, another option to pursue with your venue might be to do wine, beer, and two signature cocktails, rather than open hard liquor.  I’d suggest seeing if they’re willing to be creative and accommodate your budget somehow.  Good luck!

    Post # 10
    789 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    We had beer and wine and two signature cocktails and people had lots of drinks and got super drunk. In a very high priced area that cost us $22 per person.

    Post # 11
    2115 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    Definitely compromise!! I wouldn’t do a full open bar at that price either! OUCH!

    Post # 12
    687 posts
    Busy bee

    I would skip the one-hour full open bar and just do beer and wine if it saves you more money. Who is really going to complain about free beer and wine? Usually everybody likes at least one of the 2… if anyone whines about not having a full open bar then they have entitlement issues.

    Post # 13
    1881 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    Option 4: Just do hosted beer + wine for entire reception.

    If a full open bar will rbeak the bank, dont’ do it. But, cash bar is no bueno and I don’t think switching it up after the first hour is good because epople will be confused and it can get awkward (What do you mean I can’t have another Vodka Soda???).

    Post # 14
    903 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2015

    Gah!  That’s 2.5 times the cost of our entire wedding!  And we’re only doing a cash bar!


    You’re giving these people a lovely dinner and entertainment.  I think you should host beer and wine, and let the guests pay cash for any liquor they may want.  I agree with a previous poster that switching from open to cash midway through the event will be jarring for your guests.

    Post # 15
    1421 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2009

    Yikes!  That is a lot of cash.  There’s no need to have a full open bar at that price.  We had to compromise a bit, too just because we had a 6 hour reception, and the owners didn’t want a full open bar for that length of time.  So, we had full open bar for 5 hours, stopping an hour shy of  the end of our reception. (I don’t think the bartenders actually stopped serving, though, even though they were supposed to.  The staff liked our guests!).  The bouns was that it also saved us a good chunk of change. 

    Post # 16
    7997 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: December 2013

    That is insane.

    I would go a cheaper route… unless I was very wealthy, I can’t fathom spending $25K on four hours of drinks. That’s over $100 per minute you can count flying out of your wallet.


    No one will comment after the wedding on how they may not have had a full open bar. You’ll be remembering each and every day it takes to get out of wedding debt…


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