(Closed) Open Bar by consumption cost?

posted 9 years ago in Food
Post # 4
4090 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

We were going to have an open bar with wine and beer and non-alcoholic drinks.  They gave us an average of $25 per person roughly for a normal evening reception, including the kids who would get pop, etc.

Post # 5
856 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

My sister did open bar by consumption for the wine only (all other alcohol was a true open bar paid per head), every bottle OPENED she was charged for, she had a $20,000 wine bill at the end, yes your eyes are not playing tricks on you TWENTY THOUSAND.  Her wedding was 150 guests, and she has no way of even knowing if that many bottles were used.  I’m totally against doing any bar by consumption because there is no way for you to really know how much was consumed, plus people get drinks, leave them, go get another one.

Post # 6
5229 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

My XH’s brother did this at his wedding. They espected to save over a per person open bar, but after about 2 hours, he checked with the bartender and the tab was already at $5000. He told them to cut it at $6k and regretted that they hadn’t done the per person. So about 30 minutes later, the bar closed and the party was just getting started. There were maybe 100 guests.

Post # 7
2128 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

One of my good friends had an open bar by consumption and her bill was $23000. It was at the Ritz Carlton for 150 guests. I was shocked when I heard that number!!!

My open bar was just a flat $15 a head (I paid out the teeth for the food though, so at least the alcohol was cheap). I didn’t want to pay by consumption.

Maybe your venue could close the bar once it goes over a certain amount- like $2500?

Post # 8
12326 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

We had 150 guests with open bar of soda, wine, and beer.  We actually only had maybe 50 guest stay around after dinner (it’s really common for Asian, espsically older generations, to run right after dinner, and it was Sunday).  Our tab ended up being about 1k.

Post # 9
514 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Holy smokes some of these bar tabs are crazy! I’m very happy we have an open bar included in the per head price. I would faint if I had a $20K bar tab!

Post # 10
2933 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

We could only choose from cash bar or consumption based and went with full open bar by consumption.  It ended up being about $4100 for 114 people.


If we could go back and change it we probably would’ve done open wine/beer/signature cocktail and not full blown open.

Post # 11
1736 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

Do a open till a certain amout. We  had a wedding of 100 people at work last week. Their tab that they paid prior was 5000$ this group drank like fish and wanted high end drinks. They ran trough their tab by dinner time 

Post # 12
420 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

My venue allowed me to buy my own alcohol and have wine by consumption (It was at a winery so we had to use their wine).  I got to choose what bottles I wanted to offer,  but kept it pretty reasonable (only offered one that was $20 a bottle,  several $12 bottles etc). 


I bought 2k in alcohol and beer and had a $900 wine bill.  There was some booze and beer left over and my wedding was largely comprised of heavy drinkers (about 136 guests).  I guess people really get burned on the venue charging $7 for a mixed drink vs.  me paying $20 for a bottle of vodka. 

Post # 13
470 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

This is making me a little nervous! I can only do by consumption or cash bar. The venue is telling me that they charge by the tenth of a bottle, so I won’t be paying for an entire bottle if it is not used.

I can also choose the level of liquor I want to include (call, house, premium). They told me that average bar bill is $15 a person. My group has some drinkers in it, so I’m planning on more like $20-25 per person. I have 320 people invited (hoping for 250) and 1/2 my guests are from out of town and only have to walk across the street to get to their hotel.

I’m suddenly feeling like this is the perfect storm… :/

Post # 14
2865 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: City, State

We are doing it. We priced out the cost per drink ($8 at my venue) and how much we expected each person on our guest list to drink. While some people will get 10 drinks, many others don’t drink or would only have 2-3. We budgeted out that it would be $2000 less this way and we will have a set cap that if it goes over our estimated amount they will shut the bar down.

Post # 15
306 posts
Helper bee

i would adivse against it…i was just at a wedding a couple weeks ago and it was somewhat small(granted we are kind of a rowdy crowd) but we went through 10 bottles of vodka 😉 i cant imagine how $$$ that would be if they did it by consumption, plus all the other wine,beer, etc we drank too!!

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