(Closed) Deciding on open bar/consumption bar

posted 5 years ago in Reception
Post # 16
9380 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

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musket87 :  I got $12pp total (not per hour) for 5 hours open bar in Boston. For 125 guests I paid $1,500 for the bar.  It took a LOT of negotiation, but since my venue allowed me to BYOB the caterer/bartenders decided that if they are losing the profit either way they’d rather not have the additional logisitics of dealing with my BYOB. 

Post # 17
9632 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

wine service is expensive.  i would cancel that and have an open bar from 5:30 to 10 and close the bar at 10.  no need to advertise cash bar.

Post # 18
2921 posts
Sugar bee

Oh hon, that would be too confusing .Just keep it open.  I know a lot of people who don’t do wine but like a cocktail with their dinner.

Post # 19
1744 posts
Bumble bee

8.00 pp/hr would be easy, but IF you are doing wine with dinner, AND you feel you must go to comsumption to pay at some point I’d do consumption with dinner.  

Say they charge you 10.00 per drink on a consumption basis. That means if keeping the bar open for an extra hour costs 1000.00, you’d be even if all 100 guests got a drink from the bar during dinner.  I doubt all guests will get up and go get a drink from the bar during meal service.  Maybe 1/3 will, or maybe 1/2?   The weddings I’ve been to maybe one or two guests gets up from the table of 8 during the meal to get a drink?  Think about weddings you’ve been to and how many are making trips to the bar.  Obviously rework the numbers is the per cost per drink is different.  

You will have to guess about your crowd. Maybe they’ll be slowing down at the end, or maybe they go strong until after last call, and will be drinking hard up until the end.  How are they when you go out other times?  

Post # 21
1493 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

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sweetness09 :  I would be afraid to have it by consumption, especially if you have drinkers at the wedding. Seeing what PP wrote would terrify me knowing I have to cough up that much cash at the end of the night.

Post # 22
427 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

Ok so as others have said, you should go with “open” (aka open and/or consumption to you) all night and not do a cash bar as far as your guests are concerned, will be confusing. Went to a wedding with open during cocktail and cash after dinner and kinda sucked.

Now the question is if at some point you’d rather switch from the open flat pricing per hour to per consumption depends on a lot of factors:

– Will you have many drinkers overall

– How many heavy drinkers will there be?

– Will most drinkers slow down when the night dwindles? In my experience there’s always a crowd of folk hanging out and doing some shots, but are the gonna drink more than $8/pp/hour?

You’ll have to do the math and take the risk. My now husband really thought people would not go anywhere near and open bar price, and it paid off, people only drank $14/pp THE ENTIRE NIGHT so we made the right call on consumption as a 4 hour package would’ve been $25-$30 pp. We actually estimated on paper with people’s names down and x # drinks, etc. 

It really depends on your crowd. Open buys you peace of mind, consumption *could* save you money but may cause some stress as they start counting. Maybe do your open earlier when ppl start going then switch to consumption last hour or 2?

Also, your venue will let you switch between open set pricing and consumption? I’ve never heard of that, usually they’d do 1 or the other but if you can do that, make sure they can track it accurately?

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