(Closed) Lets Talk Open Bar!!

posted 4 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
Member
628 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

We opened a bar tab but the staff forgot and ran it as an open bar, didn’t ring up any of the drinks. At the end of the night, my Mom went to close the tab and they had no idea what we were talking about. The venue tried to retroactively charge us the open bar rate pp but ended up comping the whole thing. And that’s how everyone drank for free at my wedding – not helpful at all, I know, just wanted to share this weird wedding glitch… sometime vendor mistakes pay off. 

Post # 3
Member
196 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017 - Sauk Valley Resort

I’m always surprised by him much open bars cost people. We are having an open bar, but we had to supply all of our own alcohol, a couple mixers (soda and few juices are provided and were included with the price per person for dinner), and bartenders. We’ve spent about $1,300 for about 130 guests, plus $300 for our two bartenders.

Post # 4
Member
32 posts
Newbee

Ours was gona cost us around 4K(in Vermont).  Decided not to do it – cash bar.  Pay for your own drinks people lol.  We did spurlge on additional food and meal options.  Both our families I would considered drinkers and can drink a lot so we were nervous about how much we would end up paying in the end.  

Post # 5
Member
1575 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

Those prices sound very reasonable to me! Ours cost ~6 k for the open bar at our brunch wedding and we were actively encouraging people to enjoy it. 

Post # 6
Member
521 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2017 - Lake Louise Canada

Our dinner $20k for 45 people includes 4 hours of open bar. After that it’s $250/hour for the bartender if no one drinks anything, or $10 per drink.

Post # 7
Member
3046 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2017 - Poppy Ridge Golf Course

I would do the unlimited and 500 mixed drinks. We were supposed to have an open bar for the entire 5 hours with 54 people. Unlimited non-alcoholic drinks and $800 in the consumption account for alcohol which we’d add to once it reached the max. Mother-In-Law offered to pay anything over the $800, keep this in mind she offered without prompt. DOC said ok, please provide payment info day of prior to ceremony start. I had no clue but Mother-In-Law never gave this info. $800 ran out around hour 3 and Mother-In-Law then refused to pay for the extra. Instead of DOC letting us know she turned it into a cash bar for the last two hours. Was clueless about this until the following day but I felt like crap. 😣 Cash bars are common in our circle but thats not what we wanted for our wedding. I wish DOC or a guest had let us know. People were still going up to the bar toward the end of the night so it might have been ok but it wasn’t ok to us.

Post # 8
Member
5304 posts
Bee Keeper

Our bar tab was about $5k (130 guests but this number included about 20 children/ minors). This didn’t include the wine bottles on the table with dinner (that was about another $400-500). We knew the owners of the venue and got a free venue/ deal on the open bar (likely would’ve cost us $6-8k elsewhere). Many people drank wine and beer but some had cocktails- and several pepole/ groups of people were doing shots. 

Post # 9
Member
2838 posts
Sugar bee

We had top shelf open bar from 5pm-1:30am that was included with dinner and spent an additional $7K for 30 bottles of champagne for toasting.

All in all, it cost us $60K for 300 guests.

Post # 10
Member
25 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: July 2017

I can’t remember exactly what the bar ended up costing us for 150 guests but we did have a full open bar. Our venue did give us an estimate based on previous weddings our size, perhaps you could ask your venue to do this as well to get a better idea? I would worry if you start with an open bar and switch to cash, that your guests might be caught off guard. So if you do go that route I would just make sure that your guests are aware ahead of time. I hope this helps! Goodluck! 

Post # 11
Member
527 posts
Busy bee

Our open bar price per drink is $4-$8, and we have put a cap on the limit. I can’t believe the price of some of these open bars 😳

Post # 12
Member
9443 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

Wow. We chose a venue that let us bring in our own alcohol. We had 5 types of beer, a red and a white wine, champagne for the toasts, and 3 different types of liquor for mixed drinks. It cost $700 for 65 guests and we also had some left over. The bartenders were included in the price of our venue.

I can’t imagine paying as much as some of PPs open bars cost.

Post # 13
Member
1025 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

We did open bar, but our venue charged us an estimate per person. We had 110 guests, they estimated each would spend about $38 at the open bar, so that was a little over $4k. We had to pay our total invoice before the wedding, so we just went with the estimate. The plan was, when the bar tab got close to the amount we prepaid, the coordinator would ask if we wanted to keep it open bar or change to cash. It turns out that we didn’t even hit that amount we pre-paid. Our guests only consumed around $3000 worth of alcohol between the cocktail hour and 5 hour reception. In th end, we got a reimbursement check for the difference. I feel like $6,000 should be plenty!

Post # 14
Member
302 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

So much price tag shock going on right now! yell

Post # 15
Member
206 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

We’re doing open bar, since I did the math on the options and figured out it would take 3drinks/person over 19 for it to be cheaper, and there is no way our guests will drink an average below that (my family will, but his family and our friends will probably have way more to balance it out)

We’re also paying extra to have some special brands brought in – they have a stock list of a few basic beers, two choices each for red and white wine and then 5 basic liquors, but we’re going to have mead and Brennivin available as well (even though we can’t get the really good stuff because it’s not available in Canada) and maybe cider

Whoops, realized I’m rambling without answering your question! ETA: It’s going to cost us about 20$/guest for 75-120 people so 1500-2500 total, plus 150 charge for picking up other types and the cost per bottle of anything extra we want. In your situation I would probably go with the unlimited, because as long as the beer/wine doesn’t run out, most folks will probably be happy, and everyone will still be happier than having to fuss about with a cash bar (especially if it’s open to start…)

The topic ‘Lets Talk Open Bar!!’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors