Post # 1
We are trying to decide whether to pay for our bar by consumption, or for a fixed fee per person (which is pretty high). I did the math, and it looks like if people drink 6.5 drinks or more per person (on average), than the fixed fee is cheaper. But below that, consumption is cheaper. Also, we cannot bring in our own alcohol.
Looking online, most caterers say that guests consume 5-6 drinks on average. Is this accurate? It seems like it would be correct, but I also know that people tend to order more when the bar is open, or put down a drink to dance and then don’t finish it and order another one. Our wedding is on a Saturday evening, and about 2/3 of the guests are a younger crowd and tend to drink more, while the other 1/3 is extended family, kids, or older people who drink less.
Thanks so much for your help! It would be great to have feedback from other bees who had a wedding or are considering this too!
Post # 3
i would estimate for 1/hour.
some will drink more, some will drink less.
Post # 4
People drank a lot at our wedding. I don’t know how much per person because we just had an open bar, but I know it was a ton (we brought our own alcohol, and really didn’t have much left over).
Post # 5
@happycamper8: I had the same question and we’re going to do the fix rate for wine and beer. Because a lot of people will have a drink leave it somewhere and get another drink. Or a glass a wine is 7 bucks one person alone can dirnk 3 glasses or more which is 21 dollars or more which is 3 dollars off of the fix rate. I would be to scared to do the drinks by consumption.
Post # 6
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
There was a lot of alcohol consumed at our wedding, and there were only 30 people in attendance. It was easily 6+ drinks per person.
Post # 7
- Wedding: October 2014 - Church
@happycamper8: People will automatically drink more (and waste more) if you have an open bar. The standard calculation is one drink per hour, but two for the first hour. So it depends on how long your event is. I don’t know what area you live in but our venue does not actually have an open bar or fee per person option at the moment, but we are able to choose what we want to do beyond that (ie. pay for a certain number of drinks per person, pay for only certain types of beverage, do a toonie bar, do a complete host bar based on consumption, do a host bar until a certain amount of money is consumed, do a complete cash bar, etc.), so maybe you have some other options?
Our venue includes some drinks with our package and we are opting to pay for all non-alcohilic beverages and tack on a few additional drinks ourselves in the form of drink tickets (so they will have a welcome drink, two glasses of wine at dinner, and a total of three-four drink tickets per person after dinner – have not decided how many yet!).
It is hard to say in your case what would work better without the following info:
1. How much would you be charged per drink if you did it based on consumption?
2. How much would the fee be per person? Does it include non-alcohilic beverages?
3. How many people are you inviting?
4. Do you have any drinks included in your package already?
5. What time does your reception start and end?
Post # 8
People drank a lot at my wedding so I wanted to choose the fixed rate. Otherwise things can get really out of hand.
Do you have a lot of heavy drinkers coming to the reception? We did so we knew it was the right choice. If your friends and family dont drink a lot, go for the pay by drink option.
Post # 9
As a guest I know I tend to drink a little more. You are partying, having a good time, catching up with people that you haven’t seen for awhile. And I’m not a massive drinker.
Our venue has a package for food and drinks so I don’t know what the breakup would be. But like others have said, when you have an open bar people sometimes “forget” where their drink is and just go and get another one.
I’d go fixed if more of your guests are bigger drinkers.
Post # 10
We served wine, beer, and 2 signiture cocktails. We had 85 in attendance. I would say we had several non-drinkers, some light drinkers, and some moderate drinkers. We only had about 2 heavy drinkers. I definitely went into it thinking we didn’t have a huge drinking crowed. We went through 17 bottles of wine, 2 cases of bottled beer, 5 liters of Crown, and one liter of amoretto. So, people averaged about 4 drinks per person for our 4 hour reception. So, I think 1 drink per person per hour is a good guess. Even take into account people who won’t drink or kids though in your numbers.
Post # 11
I’m not sure how much people drank at my wedding but I personally will have at least six drinks if I don’t have to drive. Most of our friends will easily drink that amount as well. I personally would just go for the fixed rate.
Post # 12
People drank a lot at our wedding. Like 8.5 drinks/person (if you consider one drink an ounce of hard liquor, one bottle of beer and one 5 oz glass of wine).
BUT we had an open bar, wine passed during cocktail hour, wine poured at the table, with the remainder of the bottles placed on the table, and a martini bar (the martini bar alone had over 150 oz of flavoured vodka consumed for 140 people, not to mention the cointreau, which I think there was about 50 oz consumed). I think if we hadn’t done the wine at cocktail hour, the martini bar and the wine poured at the tables we would have consumed way less. Everyone raved about the martini bar though!
Post # 13
how did you figure out how much to buy and what?
Post # 14
Our wedding was a BYO, so people drank whatever they brought with them. Between 3 and 5 on average.
Post # 15
@happycamper8: It really depends on your circle of friends IMO and how much, and what, they drink.
I tend to find that if people drink spirits they drink more than people drinks pints, as they’re much smaller drinks, and less gassy, so people drink them much more quickly; I would probably drink 8-10 single spirits and mixers over 5 hours, whereas most men I know would drink maybe 6 pints.
It might also depend on the age of your guests; my parents and their friends do like a drink, but they don’t knock them back as quickly as people my age might; they’d probably have on average 4-5 drinks over a 5 hour period.
I would work on an average of 6 drinks pp based on my social circle, meaning you’d be better off going with a consumption bar; but, as I said it really depends on your guests.
Post # 15
We had a late afternoon reception 2-6pm and our guests drank an average of 3.5 alcoholic drinks per person. We paid for our bar by consumption. It ended up being cheaper than an open bar package. DH’s friends and family are HUGE drinkers. Mine are not. The guest list was split just about evenly between the two of us.
And just in case this helps with your pricing, half of the drinks were cocktails (more expensive at our venue) and the other half of the bar bill was was split pretty evenly between beer and wine.