(Closed) Average cost of open bar

posted 9 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
1896 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2009 - St. Thomas of Villanova Church & the F.U.E.L. House

We haven’t firmed this up yet, but I know there are resources that can help you guesstimate how many bottles of each kind of alcohol you need for your guest count.  Sorry I don’t have this info handy, but I know it’s out there!  (Often times, caterers have it, or can point you in the right direction.)

Post # 4
1156 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2005 - Westside Loft, New York

try using this drink calculator which helps you estimate how much alcohol you’ll need based on whether your crowd is light/medium/heavy drinkers.  That might be help you figure out which package is most cost effective for you.

http://www.evite.com/pages/party/drink-calculator.jsp’ defer=’defer

Good luck!  

Post # 8
3332 posts
Sugar bee

The event coordinator at our venue told us that the lowest he’s ever seen was $16/person and the highest was $24/person.  Of course, my family will be at the $24 end, if not more.  Actually, the price of the alcohol is one of the things that’s most stressing me out right now.

Post # 9
2022 posts
Buzzing bee

My sister’s wedding was 160 people and the bar tab was 7500.  It depends on if you do price per person or price per drink.  We’re having open bar and planning on approximately the same.

Post # 10
1423 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

If it helps — at my venue its $18 plus tax and tip per person for 3 hours (it’s one of the cheapest rates I’ve seen and a big reason why we went with this venue).  I’m going to do a bit of negotiating to arrive at a price for the full 6 hours of the reception.  Wish me luck 😉

Post # 11
225 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

Like you, we cannot opt to bring in our own liquor. However, we decided to do a hosted tab open bar. You can ask your venue the average cost of 1 drink, and estimate how many drinks each person will have (2-4 depending on the crowd) times the number of guests.

After you reach your tab limit, you can choose to a) extend the tab by another amount, and pay for it afterwards, b) do a cash bar for your guests, or c) close the bar. We are going to do a), especially since we’re having a Monday wedding and am expecting light drinkers. 

To answer your question, our tab is $1500 for 225 guests, for 1 hour of open bar. Average drink cost at our venue is $6/drink. 

Post # 12
208 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Our tab was ~$850 for about 65 drinkers. We offered beer/wine that cost about $5 each.

It was actually way less than we were expected (we budgeted $1500) because at previous family weddings on both sides of our families people hadn’t held back with the drinks. We thought it came in lower than we expected because: 

1) Many of our friends/family now have children, which they didn’t have at previous weddings. They probably didn’t go as wild.

2) Nearly everyone drank Guinness (we were married at an Irish restaurant), which is really filling.

It’s probably also worth noting that our reception consisted of ~1 hour cocktail hour, and ~2 hour dinner. It wasn’t an all-night dance party, where people may have drank more.

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