Post # 1
Fiance and I are trying to decide what to offer our guests for our wedding. I’m not too particularly happy with the beverage packages that my venue offers (set drinks from each category for a period of x hours for x price per person). I think because if I were a guest to be able to truly enjoy myself I would like to drink what I want to drink rather than have to choose from beverages I might not be into. I feel that its really important to me that our guests enjoy themselves.
Also, I love cocktails. I want to drink cocktails at my own wedding. Everyone that knows me and has been out with me before knows that I’m a cocktail girl but there’s no way I could have the drinks that I enjoy whilst everyone else has to stick to the set menu. We have considered adding a signature cocktail to the packages but it doesn’t work out value for money when you factor in heavy drinkers, non drinkers, and dudes who would probably not care for a cocktail.
If you have thrown an open bar event yourself – did the total cost in the end shock you or break the bank? Did you put a ‘limit’ on the open bar at all? E.g. capped at x amount of $ or no top shelf liquor?
We are having a 30-40 person small wedding
Thoughts on any of the above?
Post # 2
having an open bar was super important to us so we budgeted accordingly. The bar was open from 4pm-1am, but we didn’t have any top shelf liquor in our package (no one seemed to notice or care). We had a small wedding too (65 guests) and it was absolutely worth the cost. With a 30-40 person wedding I would especially recommend it.
Post # 3
Honestly we were shocked how “cheap” it was. We were expecting it to be way more expensive than it was, so we made sure enough savings put away for it and in the end we used less than a quarter of what we saved.
Post # 4
We had an open bar with no limitations. IA with you I wouldn’t like the set package if it may not be to everyone’s taste. Plus you’d have to pay per adult, including any non-drinkers. Not gonna lie, the open bar was one of our two highest costs (food understandably being the other), but we figured as much so there was no sticker shock.
But I’m an older Bee, ‘encore bride’ and definitely more financially comfortable than I was when I was younger, so we could afford a no-limitations bar for our guests. I wouldn’t go to someone else’s wedding and expect this, in fact I’d feel badly if they went over-budget to provide for such things. I have no problem with a cash bar, a wine & beer only bar or a dry wedding with Diet Coke.
I’d also like to say, that with so many people drinking, you want to make sure no-one drinks and drives. We hired a local service that is like a taxi service only two drivers show up- one takes the guests home, the second driver follows behind and parks their vehicle in their driveway for them. We also had a sign near the main entrance with phone numbers for this service plus taxi numbers. And many people use Uber these days. If a lot of people are from out of town, perhaps a shuttle to the hotel.
Post # 5
We switched from beer/wine only to open bar at the last minute. It was much cheaper than I anticipated surprisingly. We had a very family friendly wedding though, lots of people brought their kids and we ended at 10 pm because of local noise ordinances. It was worth every penny. I don’t drink beer or wine so I hate attending weddings that limit the options. We also had a signature cocktail during cocktail hour.
Post # 6
- Wedding: September 2017 - Pearson Convention Centre
For our wedding we hosted an open bar but during our cocktail hour only our signature drink and non alcoholic drinks were offered. During dinner only wine and beer were offered and throughout the rest of the evening the bar was opened. It worked well for us
Post # 7
- Wedding: December 1969 - City, State
Our venue offered open bar – per drink or package. We felt that the package was quite pricey at $50 per person for mostly rail, wine, and beer. We decided to open it up and let people choose what they wanted to drink. We had about 100 ppl, and we spent about $3000 at the bar, so definitely cheaper to open it up and pay per drink. It was open from 5pm until 1am. We had some heavy drinkers, and some moderate.
Post # 8
It depends if it’s in your budget! I’ve never been to wedding with an open bar, I really don’t think anyone expects it anymore (I would honestly be shocked if I ever saw an open bar!). So don’t push your budget or get in debt over a small thing
Post # 9
I host open bar regardless of the event I am throwing. Depending on the crowd, I may arrange to do it as consumption if I know this particular crowd consists of light drinkers vs. set price per person (but either way I am paying the full bill – there is no cut-off). I never regret making sure my guests do not have to open their wallets and hosting them well.
I have been to bait and switch events where certain things were hosted at certain times or switched over to cash bar and it was awkward and unpleasant. People don’t tell the hosts that because you don’t treat a faux pas with another one by being ungrateful and complaining to your hosts, but I guarantee guests will notice and vent about it to others.
That said – I don’t mind some limitation to the options so long as no guest has to open their wallet and those options are available the entire event. If you can only afford well liquor and not top shelf, so be it. If you can’t afford or your venue doesn’t offer cordial or cocktails with more than two ingredients or requiring different glassware, so be it (i.e. they won’t do cosmos, martinis, or mojitos, but you can get a rum and coke or gin and tonic).
Post # 10
We had an open bar (no limitations, but only two signature cocktails as it wasn’t a cocktail bar) during our reception, which is virtually unheard of in the UK. I’m not sure whether it was because it was unexpected, or our crowd weren’t big drinkers, but the bill was half what we would’ve expected.
On the basis of this, I’ll definitely look to offer an open bar at any event I host in the future.
Post # 11
we had a full open bar for 4.5 hours (the venue made us close it up 30 minutes before the reception ended). It wasn’t very expensive for us and it was totally worth it. My friends managed to drink the bar dry of gin by the end of the night and were proud little drunkers lol.
Post # 12
We had a small wedding (30) and hosted an open bar. Honestly, I was shocked by how little it cost, esp given that all of our attendees were drinkers and no one drove (hotel shuttle for the win!).
Post # 13
I went to a wedding where it was open bar. It went over and before the bride and groom left, the staff at the venue made the couple pay an extra $2000 before they left. The couple had to open up their wishing well and pay their gifted money for the tab.
That is why my family and I are buying alcohol when we see it on special. A mix of wine and beer. If it runs out then tough tittles. I am even considering putting on BYO if the guests want.
Post # 14
We had a full open bar for 120 people and it was much more reasonable than I expected (and we hosted some heavy drinkers!!). Our circles only ever do full open bars (except for religious family members who have had dry weddings) so we never considered doing anything else. It sounds like it would be worth it to you, since your preference is also to drink liquor.
Post # 15
We are having over 100 people and open bar was never an option for us – we were dead set on having it. We budgeted for it just like food and my dress. We are allowed to bring our own liquor so that is cutting the cost way down but either way we would have had open bar!