(Closed) How much are you paying for your bar?

posted 7 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
262 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

We have budgeted $3500 for our 5 hour open bar for 200 people.  We get to purchase the alcohol ourselves so it will be less expensive than if we were paying for it as part of a package I think.

Post # 5
7603 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

We paid about $5800 for the premium open bar which included the top shelf liquor, two beer choices, and all of their wine options. This was for 7 hours for about 200 guests with a per person rate. We did have to meet our minimum because we had so many declines so the bar was the first thing that we upgraded. 

Post # 6
1849 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

We’re planning on allowing $1500 (before tax or service charge) for open bar for about 70 people, and if we reach that point, we’ll be given the option to increase our budget or switch to cash bar. The amount is determined by consumption, there are no packages. I’ve seen some per person/per hour open bar packages that blew me away in terms of cost, so your friend may have picked one of those. 

Post # 7
1326 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

If we do the open bar (we will if we can afford it), it will be $9.95/per person. It is looking like we’ll have at least 70 adults there, so we’ll see if we can swing it. We’re on a very tight budget and we don’t drink much ourselves.

Post # 8
5789 posts
Bee Keeper

Ours was almost $1500. for 85 people (in 2010) which we were allowed to provide ourselves. We did a full top shelf open bar, and had very little remaining for buyback.

Post # 9
6382 posts
Bee Keeper

We’re not having an open bar. We’re providing our 60 day guests with 2 glasses of bucks fizz, 1/2 boted of wine/2 bottles of lager/2 bottles of cider, and a glass of champagne (or soft drinks for non-drinkers), then in the evening we’re putting £2.5k behind the bar to be spent on certain drinks. Our total drinks cost is 7k (USD). 


There’s no such thing as an open bar package at the venues we looked at; if you have an open bar guests basically have what they want, and you settle the bill, whatever it happens to be, at the end. As a rough guess, we’d have had to have budgeted around 11-12k, possibly more, for a fully open bar for the duration; and that would be for 60 during the day, and 100 in the evening ie a modest-sized wedding. 

Post # 10
721 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

We are doing the “midrange” Liquour package at $10pp we are having between 175-200 people. Beer and Wine is included in our dinner price

Edit: We will have 6 continuous hours of bar service




Post # 11
323 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Top Shelf liquor, wine (red and white), champagne, and beer for 200 people, 5 hours, just under $2000. We’re bringing in our own liquor (which I got at a GREAT buy one, get one 1/2 off sale) and getting the rest through a bar owner who is selling it to us at his cost, then buying back anything that is unopened.

I have 38 bottles of liquor, 40 bottles of wine, 350 bottles of beer, and 45 bottles of champagne. (plus all the mixers and stuff needed…)

Post # 12
9950 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

TO @Future_Ms.Bostonceltics:  As a Canadian, the answers you get here (mostly from the USA) are going to be VASTLY different from the reality you find here in Canada.

And that is BECAUSE Alcohol (just the base price) to begin with is a lot more expensive in Canada (an average drink… be that Beer or Wine, is gonna cost you approx $ 10 PER POUR when you add in the required HST Tax of 13% and Tip on the Bill 15% MINIMUM the Venue is going to give you.  Go onto hard stuff and the bill could be much higher, as Mixed Drinks, Martinis, and Fancy Items, can easily come in at the $ 12 to $ 15 mark EACH)

AND in the Province of Ontario (where I also reside) you’ll find that our antiquated Alcohol Laws also will come into play…

In that you’ll have to purchase your Booze from either the Venue directly (with their mark-up) OR direct from the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario)

Versus in the USA, where one can BYOB… or buy from private liquor stores… and they also have flat rate per hour rates for Wedding Guests and such (another thing not generally found in Canada, cause of our Alcohol Laws… in the same way that we don’t have true Happy Hours)

So you won’t find the $ 1, $ 2 or $ 3 pours that you’ll hear about from the US Bees.  Or the amazing flat rate options … (not hourly… actual flat rates per person for the whole event)

In Canada this stuff just doesn’t exit.

And there is NO COMPETITION… alcohol prices are set by the Provincial Government… so things tend to be based solely on consumption… which is also one of the reasons that Canadian Weddings rarely are OPEN BARS, most couples opt to have some sort of “Compensated” Alcohol Service

Be that offering a Welcome Cocktail / Signature Drink… Spiked Punch… Wine with Dinner… Champagne / Sparkling for Toasting… a Wine & Beer Only Option… a White Bar… or the ever popular off-set Loonie or Toonie Bar.

Most Canadian Weddings, usually choose to leave the Bar available to their Guests beyond whatever they choose to provide… so that folks who want to drink more / or differently than the provided complimentary drinks can do so (with Cash)

As a general rule of thumb… if you are going to do ROUGH calculations for an Open Bar, I’d recommend $ 10 per pour x 1 drink per person (full Guest List) per hour as a MINIMUM.

Being aware that…

IF it is a night-time event, people will drink more than in the daytime.  IF it is a Hot Day, people will drink more.  IF people are younger they will drink more.  And sadly, there will be drinks that will be got but not consumed (a fact when you offer up some element of an OPEN Bar)

Mr TTR and I had a Back Home Reception Party (evening 8 to 1 AM) with Hors d’ouevres & Cake for eats.  We offered our Guests a Complimentary Welcome Cocktail when they arrived… THEIR CHOICE from the Bar (including ALL top shelf liquor). 

We also had available FREE Bottled Water, Juice, Pop, Tea or Coffee all night long.  And we bought several cases of Bubbly that we used for the Toast with our Cake, and also made available all night long (lol, it was a Celebration afterall).  The Ladies present enjoyed the bubbly for sure.

Our Venue marked up our Champagne / Sparkling to 2.5 times (so the Bottle at the LCBO was listed at $ 13 and cost us close to $ 35 each).  There was also a clause that said, the Venue OWNED the Alcohol we order (even tho we had to pay for it in advance… not unheard of in Canada… so be sure and read / understand the fine print)… This meant that anything that wasn’t drank was theirs to keep (and not ours).  Which is one of the reasons we made the Champagne available all night long.

Our Reception was low-key for sure… and cost us between $ 80 and $ 100 per person… and our math tells us that approx $ 50 of that was for booze.

And like I said, we didn’t have anything near a full-on OPEN Bar (we estimated that would have been closer to $ 100 or more per head, and would have very quickly have taken us into an area that we could not afford… MEGA Thousands)

Hope this helps,


Post # 13
1192 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Our open bar (premium liquor, wine and beer) is included in our $90-100/pp dinner

Post # 14
3274 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

We are having an open bar for 300+ people. We have unlimited bottled beers (6 types), 4 wines (2 red, 2 white), premium mixed drinks, and a margerita/daquiri/cosmo bar. It will be $14 a person for 5 hours, we figured this was a pretty good deal.

Post # 15
4027 posts
Honey bee

@Future_Ms.Bostonceltics:  We are paying $650 for 90 guests to have an open bar with  3 kinds of beer, two kinds of wine and two signature drinks. That cost includes a bar tender fee as well. Fortunately, we can bring in our own alcohol and we are paying the “at cost” price (purchased from a friend’s liquor store). 

Post # 16
2143 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

Yeah I’m from Ontairo and the two numbers that we’ve gotten so far (just a little looking around ) is 12 grand for aprox 250 people for the night (the place we love) or 8 grand for the same amount at another venue… Yikes. 

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