(Closed) Alternatives to Open Bar?

posted 9 years ago in Food
Post # 3
Member
275 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

It probably depends on your venue, but possibly see if you can bring in your on liquor.  We can’t do this, but every venue is different.

Offer a few signature drinks, like many of the bees have done, but all other drinks would be cash bar.  You could also have an open tab for a certain amount of time or dollar amount and then the guests would be responsible for anything outside of that.

I know a lot of people won’t agree, but we’re offering x amount of beer and wine.  When its gone, its gone.  All liquor will be cash bar.

Post # 4
Member
6009 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

A lot of places offer consumption bars, but depending on the per person price, consumption might actually cost more.  Could you cut out hard A?  We’re doing beer and wine only, but you could also offer a signature cocktai.  Limiting the variety cuts down on the cost a lot.  Also, see if you might be able to bring in your own alcohol.  Place like CostCo and Wal-Mart usually cost less and you can return unopened bottles.

Post # 5
Member
45 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2009

Maybe instead of a full open bar, you could have one or two premixed drinks? 

Post # 6
Member
468 posts
Helper bee

Depending on our venue, we plan to offer a red and white wine and a regular and light beer. I like the idea that Hbowr sugguested. Good luck!

Post # 7
Member
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

I’ve been to lots of weddings with a set amount of wine/beer and then when it runs out, it’s cash bar time.  IMO it’s a much better option than just cutting off (alcoholic) drink service — which usually would indicate that the party’s over…

Or you can do beer/wine service all night.  That’s good, too!  I would hate to pay for a consumption bar — who knows if you can trust the person tallying the drinks!

Post # 8
Member
232 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

i have always heard that consumption costs more b/c people even if people don’t drink more at your wedding, they order more drinks.  uncle bob gets a drink, then starts talking to cousin ed, so he puts down his drink and then moves on forgetting his drink behind.  uncle bob then realizes he doesn’t have a drink and goes back to the bar to get another one (it’s free after all) leaving his half filled drink somewhere on a table.  plus – with consumption you have no way of really knowing if you are getting ripped off or not.

Post # 9
Member
70 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

I do wedding planning for a venue in Portland.  The vast majority of my clients do hosted beer and wine and leave the liquor as a cash bar.  Our of the hosted beer and wine, most just run a tab.  If you know that you have more people that drink beer, you may want to consider purchasing a keg or pony keg instead.  The total cost is less than the per beer or per cup price.  The same applies to wine.  Some venues charge by the bottle, others charge by the glass.  I’ve also had clients that do drink tickets, but I personally think its a bit tacky.  We also offer bar packages that are a flat fee for an unlimited number of drinks, but more times than not, our company makes more money because they open bar doesn’t take into account kids and guests who won’t be drinking.

I am running a rab for beer and wine for my wedding in August.  If we have more room in our budget due to a lower turnout, we may add liquor to the hosted bar.  

Post # 10
Member
232 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

@ mattsonc – we didn’t include kids in our guest number for our bar.  is that something people usually do?

Post # 11
Member
140 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2001

I went to a wedding where they had a bar tab up to $500 and when it reached, they told the bride and groom. There weren’t many people who did drink, and they never reached their $500 mark. So i guess this would depend on how many people drink.

Post # 12
Member
2680 posts
Sugar bee

@djmaddiebluedog – At our venue we dont include the kids in the bar count, but we do offer a price for kids where they can get unlimited sodas and water.  Kids are still going to drink, just not alcohol so you need to have an option in your bar somewhere for kids.

Post # 13
Member
4 posts
Wannabee

Another option is charging $1 per drink, friends did this to limit waste and people putting down a full drink and getting a new one. You could even make the money from the bar go for donations to a charity or something of the sort, so people are not upset it is sort of a cash bar.

Post # 14
Member
735 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2009

We just used beer and wine. no one complained, and plenty of people were DRUNK drunk drunk. Also, we were able to return all of the unused alcohol after the wedding for a full refund ( BevMo)

Post # 15
Member
1023 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

Yea, I agree with naangel55. Definitely make sure you are taking care of your non-alcohol drinking guests. I just went to a wedding where there was free keg beer and strawberry punch and everything else guests had to pay for. It didn’t take long for the punch to run out (like didn’t even cover dinner) and all the other guests were stuck buying drinks (even water). Granted this was one of those small town hick vfw weddings (which are quite the norm where I’m from), but still…

Post # 16
Member
31 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: October 2008

What about just doing wine and bar?  I don’t think that people really need more than that.  That way you appease your drinkers and non-drinkers.  An open bar is very nice, but not necessary!

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