Post # 1
We are weighing the options of a consumption bar (where we pay for each drink the guest orders) or a hosted bar (unlimited drinks at a per head price). Have any of you had experience with thIs? In looking at the guest list, there seems to be a pretty fair mix of heavy drinkers, moderate drinkers, and tea totalers. i hate to pay $40 a head for someone that will only have a drink or two, but I also don’t want an unpleasant surprise at the end of the night if I misjudged our guests’ drinking habits. Please share any experiences you’ve had. Thanks!
Post # 2
If you have a spread of different drinking habits, typically by consumption is cheaper. If you’d rather just take care of the cost before hand and not worry about it then do hosted.
Post # 3
We aren’t doing a formal reception anymore, but when we were we chose a by consumption.
We both have a lot of alcoholism in our families and didn’t want to deal with anyone trashed at our wedding.
Post # 4
For our venue and caterer, hosted was by far the best cost-wise.
Post # 5
by consumption means the host is still paying the bill and guests can still get trashed if they want. It’s just charged to the host per drink vs a flat per person fee.
Post # 6
Our consumption bar for 120 people ended up being so much cheaper than the cost per head for open bar. I think it cost us $2k lesS. We had a mix of families and our younger friends who are bigger drinkers. I think unless you have a huge group of heavy drinkers, consumption bar will end up being cheaper.
Post # 7
My parents paid per head as an add on to our catering package. It was definitely less expensive than I thought it would be!
ETA: 75% Of my family doesn’t drink (my grandfather is a pastor), and we also had children at the event. Our caterer had us tally how many drinkers we’d have and we paid the price per head on those people, not on the total number of guests. It may be worth asking… The worst someone can tell you is no!
Post # 8
We did a consumption bar. The price per head for an unlimited package was quite expensive…it worked out to approximately 8 alcoholic drinks per person. We did a host consumption bar and it came out to half of what it would have been if we did the package price per person. We had an average mix of heavy, moderate, and non drinkers. We also had a non alcoholic hot Apple cider bar during cocktail hour and I think that cut down on the number of alcoholic drinks because people went for that first. It really depends on your crowd and on how much the package is. Good luck with your planning!
Post # 9
Consumption is usually cheaper. But like PPs have said – consider your crowd. If EVERYONE is a big drinker, hosted might be cheaper for you. We had a lot of family members who don’t drink much or will only have 1-2 drinks throughout the night – so it wouldn’t have made sense to spend $50/pp on them or whatever the cost of the package is. We went with consumption and actually spent less than the estimate – we got almost $1000 back after the wedding (we had to pay upfront, and then would have had to pay the difference is we had gone over the estimate).
Post # 10
also take the length of the reception into account because $40 for 7 hours with heavy boozers is better than $40 for 3 hours with non drinkers. We ended up hosted because the caterer didn’t want to deal with serving booze we brought ourselves for some reason (venue was BYOB) so they offered us a full 5 hour open bar for $12/head. I think they were gambling that we didn’t have big drinkers but boy were they wrong! They had to send a waiter out for more gin an hour into the reception (luckily before they ran out but they knew they were about to) and with 20 minutes left in the night the bar was pretty tapped – our friends were so proud of themselves lol
Post # 11
Oh. That wasn’t an option for ours, it was either we paid open bar or they paid. Sorry!
In that case OP, I think consumption bar is best 🙂
Post # 12
I’m an event coordinator for a venue that only charges by consumption. I have to explain this every day; it really is the better deal most times. Its very rare that a host would pay the same per person as what is being served, in my experience.
From I’ve seen at other establishments they are raking it in by doing it per person.
Personally I like consumption. It’s better for my host/s.
ETA: Let your venue know what number you want to be updated at. I usually budget at 50pp. Once you hit certain numbers by a certain hour you should know what the final will be. I make sure my hosts know when they hit the minimum and when they hit their update numbers.