(Closed) HELP! Open Bar for 4 hrs. when reception is 5 hrs.?

posted 8 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
18643 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

I think it might be okay to cut people off from the free alcohol an hour before the end to make sure that people aren’t getting too drunk to drive home.  A sign might be a good idea.

Post # 5
5823 posts
Bee Keeper

I don’t see a problem with closing the bar an hour before the end of the reception.  People should really be toning it down by 10pm anyway…I’d just put up the sign and let people pay after 10.  Four hours is a perfectly reasonable for an open bar!

Post # 6
1892 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I agree with MissAsB. I think cutting off an hour before the evening ends is a great idea for safety reasons (might actually be why your venue does it that way?). I would put a sign at the bar so everyone knows when it is open until. I’d rather have everyone have a safe return home and not over drink than pay till the end and have someone have that one drink over their limit.

Post # 7
1075 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I agree with MissASB

You don’t want to provide these guests with liquor 5 minutes before they need to drive home.  I think an hour prior will help them sober up a bit.

Post # 8
179 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

How about opening the bar a half our after your reception begins and closing it a half hour before it ends?

I’m putting up a sign at our open bar letting people know that the bar will close a half hour before the reception does. Like MissAsB said, having a last call is a good way to signal people to dial it down or make alternate arrangements to get home.

If you’re worried about a few guests who might be too drunk to drive home, you could add the telephone number of a local taxi service to your sign. Ultimately, they’re adults and have plenty of options to get home safely after a night of drinking.

Post # 9
11 posts
  • Wedding: October 2010

I looked into something like this for my upcoming wedding….we are having a 5 hour event with only 4 hours of open bar provided.  We asked to shut down the bar for 1/2 while people transition from cocktail to reception and then close down the last 1/2 hour.  They said they can’t do that…(I’m sure they can really…its not hard)  but whatever..

Our was only $3/pp for the extra hour, so my father just said to do it..because more than half our guests are staying at the hotel, so driving won’t be an issue.

If you don’t pay the extra hour, then definetely put a sign stating that the last hour is cash and list the prices…I’ve been to a few weddings who did that.

Only downside to that…the first wedding I went to that had this…none of us knew this..so none of had cash for drinks…ATM was no on site.

Hope this helps somewhat.  😀




Post # 10
1740 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

i think the sign is a good idea. i wouldnt bother for the last hour because as you said by that time everybody will be getting ready to go

Post # 11
1940 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I think this is pretty common.  Our contract states that we are not allowed to serve any alcohol the last hour of the reception.  From a liability standpoint, this makes sense.  As MissAB said, you don’t want people to drink then drive right away.

We will just pass this information along by word of mouth.

Post # 12
2344 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I think it is very common to have the bar completely closed an hour before the event ends, so I don’t think your guests will be that surprised or even upset. I don’t think you even need to let them know – just have the bartender let people know the bar will be closing soon about 15 minutes before the 4 hours are up.

Post # 13
604 posts
Busy bee

I’m guessing you still pay for the full 5 hours? or it depends on the venue? Cutting people off is a great idea you don’t want people getting into accidents etc. just let them know it will close.

Post # 14
1523 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

My venue has the same arrangement. This is how they explained the 4 hour bar to us which makes a lot of sense (to us).

The bar will be closed for a half an hour two different times during our wedding. The first half hour block is right after our cocktail hour. So between cocktail hour and dinner the bar will be closed. It really shouldn’t matter because people will have champagne for toasts during that time and will be distracted with cake cutting, our first dance etc. If you are not doing a champagne toast, your venue will announce that the bar is closing for a half hour so people can grab a drink if they need to before it closes. 

The bar will also close a half hour before the reception ends.

Anyways, that’s how we’re doing it and what I suggest you do too!

Good luck!

Post # 15
414 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

It’s like at a baseball game…don’t they stop serving beer in the 8th inning?  I agree, don’t serve your guests drinks and then send them home; close it an hour before.  I also like the sign idea. 

Post # 16
581 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2015

I think its ok as long as you let the guest know…

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