Post # 1
I’m newly engaged and have started looking at hotel venues in my city. All of the email proposals I’ve received have options of alcohol packages, about $45 per person, and hosted per-drink options, about $7-$10 per drink based on beer, wine or cocktail. I know I can crunch the numbers, and I will, but I’m wondering what other brides decided to do when they had these options.
We expect to have about 200 guests, no kids. Everyone (except for maybe a handful of pregnant guests) will have at least one drink, most will have two, and about 75 I would say will be consuming a lot, as our friends like to imbibe. We have a relatively high budget for food and drink, so if the likely difference comes down to a few hundred, would it be less stressful to just pay the per person package and not have the staff updaing us all night on how high our tab is?
Any insight appreciated, thanks!
Post # 2
bear123 : I would do a full open bar (that’s what we did). You don’t want to be stressed the day of thinking about what the bill will come back looking like at the end of the night.
Post # 3
I’d do full open bar – most of my friends who did consumption said their bill was much higher than they anticipated and people always get drinks and then leave them half full which you’re going to be annoyed about knowing you’re paying per drink. I think not having to worry about the bill is worth a little extra peace of mind the day of!
I didn’t have an option to do consumption vs. open bar – I just had to do open bar but I’m glad I’m doing it this way, even though I have a lot of family that doesn’t drink. Hopefully my friends will make up for it!
Post # 4
bear123 : It sounds like it may be may be easier for you to go with the per person package since you have drinkers.
We had a full open bar, our reception venue allowed us to set an amount in which they would notify us (if we reached that amount). We had a small guest list and set a high tab amount; therefore, we never reached that amount. We had an afternoon wedding so it was pretty laid back. 🙂
Post # 5
If you can comfortably afford it, I would just go ahead and do the open bar option. It will be less stress the day of, no surprising bill the day after, and just one more thing you can knock out now.
Post # 6
I had a friend tell me recently they paid per drink. $20,000 bar tab. I was in shock when he told me. That was the cost of our entire reception!
Our venue just lumped food and alcohol into one price ($55.50/person). Much better for peace of mind!
Post # 7
For that guest list makeup, I would go with a per person open bar.
We are doing consumption bar because we have an unusually light re: drinking guest list. A decent number don’t drink at all, or only drink one or two. The ones who would normally more will be driving 2-3 hours right after, and so will be reigning it in, etc. But if we weren’t so confident that consumption bar would come under hosted, we would do hosted.
Post # 8
The rule of thumb is assume 2 drinks the first hour (so cocktail hour) and one drink per hour each additional hour after that. Some will drink more, some less. That formula will give you about the average.
So if you are having a cocktail hour followed by a four hour reception, expect people to have five drinks. That means $35-50 if you’re paying based on consumption. If you are having a longer reception or have a heavier concentration of heavy drinkers, then paying per person is likely going to be your safer bet. If you have a heavier concentration of light drinkers (for example, my entire family rarely drinks and when they do it’s one drink max., I’m the lush of the family), then consumption bar is safer or you can talk to the bar and ask if they’ll start with consumption and if you total ends up being the same as open/per person if they’ll just charge you that. The venue I used to work for used to do that occasionally if it seemed like someone was really struggling with the decision (we didn’t advertise it as an option though).
Your situation, I’d just go open bar per person though.
Post # 9
If the per person amount gives the guests access to whatever drinks they want then that sounds cheap to me. I would want my guests to have whatever they fancied and I imagine that the 75 drinkers will more than make up for the rest!
Post # 10
Just realized in my example that should have been six drinks, not five, for a cocktail hour plus four hour reception – so that would be a price of $42 – 60. So the only way you come out ahead doing consumption is to either have a super-short reception or know that all of your guests will only drink the very cheapest option available.
Post # 11
- Wedding: April 2017 - Valleybrook Country Club
bear123 : How many hours is your cocktail hour and reception? Most people who are social drinkers will have about one drink per hour, others who really like to imbibe more often may have 1 per half hour on average. So, if it is 4+ hours long, it is well worth it to pay the set price per person. No guessing and no stressing. The big drinkers will make up for the rest and make it worth it.