(Closed) Annoyed that Open Bar will be 30% of my wedding budget

posted 8 years ago in Money
Post # 32
Member
748 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

They aren’t classy and they expect you to foot the bill for the booze? I’d either set a $ cap or do a cash bar. I wouldn’t deplete my savings so people can get wasted on my dime. But I’m a mean bride 🙂

Post # 33
Member
2819 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

My advice? Have a cash bar.

Post # 34
Member
162 posts
Blushing bee

I don’t see how inviting people to celebrate with you = paying for them to get wasted.

$16k is a huge amount of money to spend just so you don’t feel judged by a few friends who’ll expect a free bar. I’d prefer to have a cash bar, feel ever so slightly humiliated and keep my $16k in my pocket!

Post # 35
Member
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Hi OP, I feel your pain and am going through the same thing right now!! If it makes you feel better, our open bar tab is looking the same for about half your guest list!!!!  Our venue wants to charge us $86 a head (including tax/tip) for a five hour reception open bar! AWFUL.  We are in a similar boat that our families aren’t huge drinkers/don’t expect open bars, but all of our friends expect full open bar. People complain when it’s just beer and wine (I can’t even imagine doing a cash bar!!). 

I think we are going to switch to a consumption bar during dinner (b/c most people will drink wine at dinner) OR shut down the bar for the dinner hour; go to full open bar for the first one or two post-dinner hours, and then switch to consumption for the last hour or two.  Most of the older generations will either have gone home or be done drinking by then, and I don’t really want to pay their per head cost.  That being said, I am afraid that some of the partiers will drink us out of house and home (literally!!!).  

Post # 36
Member
96 posts
Worker bee

I’m from Mass and maybe things are different here, but I’m in my 50’s and I’ve been to too many weddings to count, both low key and elegant.  I’ve NEVER in all my years been to a full open bar wedding, unless it was a backyard wedding.  It’s just not the norm around here.  

 

It’s also against the law in Mass to bring alcohol to any venue, so we’re stuck paying full price for everything.  We’re doing open bar with beer and wine only for the cocktail hour and switching to a cash bar after that.  I don’t feel bad about it.  Around here, no one would ever expect a full open bar for the whole duration.

 

I would NEVER pay $16K for alcohol.  That’s a nice start to a down payment on a house!

Post # 37
Member
13901 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I don’t really get how it’s 16k.  I live in a very expensive area (my wedding was in the heart of downtown DC) and my open bar wasn’t even close to that.  Granted, I had fewer guests (130) but there’s no way I could have stomached 16k.

Is there any way you can provide your own alcohol?  We purchased alcohol from a wholesaler, who delivered it the day of, and then they picked up the unopened bottles the following day and refunded me the cost of those.

Post # 37
Member
13901 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Double Trouble!

Post # 39
Member
6349 posts
Bee Keeper

View original reply
@abbie017:  TBF alcohol is our single  biggest cost too, at £4700/7000 USD, which is about 1/4 of our total budget. And that’s for just 60 day guests and another 40 evening guests, and doesn’t include an open bar. A fully-open bar for that number would have cost more than double that, and the thought of the cost of an open bar for a whopping 300 guest makes me shudder! So I think it depends on where you live. 

Post # 40
Member
13901 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

View original reply
@barbie86:  Wow, that’s nuts!  We had top-shelf liquors, wine, and beer all night (5 hrs) for 130, and it cost right around $4,000, in downtown DC (so a decently expensive area, too).

Post # 41
Member
47 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Ugh, I feel ya. Weddings are so freaking overpriced! Some ways you could possibly save are purchasing the hard liquor and mixers through a company and providing your own wine and beer. If you are already paying for their lisence to pour they shouldn’t charge you much more.   Alternately, you could just have a wine and beer bar with a bride’s drink and grooms drink? It was important to be to have a really extensive wine selection, and if we got the wine I wanted through our caterer it would have been $100pp (just for booze!) so we worked something out with him such that my Fiance and I are going to provide the champagne and cases of wine and he will have his staff pour it. 

Post # 42
Member
170 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

View original reply
@Eglantine:  +1 x10000000000

LESS FLOWERS AND MORE ALCOHOL WILL MAKE FOR HAPPY GUESTS. 🙂 

Post # 43
Member
212 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

OMG that’s so much money.

I’m having a cash bar and that’s that.  I realize a lot of people think that what I’m doing is “tacky” or “poor etiquitte,” but they can think that all they want.  I am getting married two hours away from home and I do NOT want anything bad to happen to anyone for drinking too much booze that I supplied.  I would feel very guilty if anything were to happen.  Also, when you have an open bar, people love to take a sip of a drink, then leave it somewhere and get another one.  They don’t care at all because to them, it’s “free.”

I’m a photographer.  I can tell you that ALL the weddings I have ever been to socially and for work, ONE wedding had a full open bar.  It was kind of awful.  Everyone was so flushed from over-drinking, the photos weren’t great.  It gets too loud and I worried about people driving home.

I’m firm in saying I don’t believe in open bars.  You have put SO much work into your day that adding that expense is totally unneccesary!  I’d cut it and have a cash bar.  I mean, that’s a huge down payment on a home or any other very large purchase.

We’re paying for a champagne toast to be supplied at ours, but everything else is cash.

I hope this helps somewhat, but seriously, this is YOUR day and you can do it however you want to, without buckling under the pressure of other people’s comments (although I know how difficult that can get.)

Post # 44
Member
2555 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

beer, wine and one mixed drink.

Post # 45
Member
3460 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

FOLKS, THIS THREAD IS 11 MONTHS OLD.  I am pretty sure the OP is all set on this topic by this point.

Post # 46
Member
5874 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

You are in a tough situation!  Most of us don’t have 300 people at our weddings, and I’ve got to say that I you’ve done a good job by keeping it down to $50k (I throw parties of that size for work, so I have a sense of how tough that is to achieve).

Hmm…that’s $50 per person for drinks alone.  That seems a little high to me too.  While on the one hand I think you should dedicate a signifigant part of your budget to booze (it’s what peopel will appreciate), on the other hand, $50 per person seems high.  Are you doing a gauranteed per head costs?  Usually those a skewed very high, I’d recomend paying per drink instead.

I would say though, that you need to follow your own heart to a certain degree, and not get lost in trying to meet everyone’s expecations.  If you haven’t already, consider some cuts since this is obviously not sitting well with you.  For example, I think open beer and wine is more than generous.  Even if the cost per drink is the same, people tend to pound through mixed drinks and cocktails more quickly than beer or wine, which takes some time to drink.  Or you could limit using drink tickets, fee wine on tables combined with a cash bar, and so on.

No matter which way you slice it, throwing a party for 300 people is extremely generous.  Take some pressure off yourself and allow yourself to follow your gut. You will NEVER make everyone happy or meet everyone’s expectations, so you might as well make choices that you won’t regret.  

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