(Closed) Open bar estimate

posted 4 years ago in Money
Post # 3
Hostess
12103 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

i would allow a drink an hour per person to be safe.

Post # 4
Member
822 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

i think it depends on whether or not your guests are heavy drinkers.  if you’re concerned about not being able to control the total cost, you have a few options.  first is pay for an unlimited package or give out drink tickets. 

Post # 6
Member
913 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

For 170 people, the $1000 we put towards the bar during cocktail hour was gone in less than 45mins.  Granted, we had double your guest list, but still.  45mins!

 

Post # 8
Member
850 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@leenh78:  How long is the reception? I think 1 drink per hour makes sense. Your per drink cost is $4. So $4 x number of drinking guests x number of hours would be how to get the best estimate. Would it be less to serve wine and beer only with dinner and have open bar for cocktails and dancing?

We’re paying $1700 for only wine (moderately priced) + beer (local, in a keg, very affordable) for 85 guests, estimating an average of 4 drinks per person (we have a mix of non-drinkers, medium, and heavy drinkers) over our 5 hour reception. If we added a signature cocktail (1 per person) it would have increased the price by $500. I can’t imagine how much an open bar would be for the whole night!

Post # 10
Member
822 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

i understand the anxiety. we paid 100% of the wedding ourselves. we also have family and friends who can run up a bar tab really quickly.  at our rehearsal dinner, we didn’t think people would order alcohol.  we didn’t tell the restaurant not to serve it so it was our fault.  our rehearsal dinner ended up costing twice as much as we expected.  because we know our guests, we paid for an unlimited package that ended costing more per person than the meal. this was a struggle for me because i think alcohol is a waste of money. we looked at our options. in the end, i didn’t want to have to spend the night monitoring the bar tab and getting worried about the constant stream of people at the bar.  i think we averaged 15-20 drinks per person that night. (maybe more since one of my aunts was still in bed at 4 pm the next day.)  i even have a picture of another drunk aunt on the dance floor holding a drink in each hand.  our best man was the only one that drank the bud light.  the bartender said he stocked the fridge with 20 bud lights and only had 3 left at the end of the night. he drank 18 bud lights and probably some mixed drinks too.

i’ve gone to weddings where i had 20 drinks and i also gone to weddings where i didn’t have one drink despite the open bar.  i think it really depends on the group of people.  so you might be fine with estimating 2-4 drinks per person over the course of the night but then you might end up with a group like my family and friends and end up stressing when you see the bartenders pouring ten drinks a minute. 

in order to not stress about the total bill, you have to set parameters.  maybe the bartender can warn you when you reach $500 and then you can decide to close the bar?  i’m not a fan of drink tickets but i’m sure people understand that drinks are expensive.  i knew drinks at clubs were expensive but $15 per drink is just crazy.  (and yes i paid for a round of drinks for all the girls and it was $15 per drink. i then forgot to close my tab and left without my credit card.)

Post # 11
Member
913 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Maybe just do an open wine/beer bar and people have to pay if they want mixed drinks?

Post # 13
Member
850 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@leenh78:  1200 sounds about right! 4 x 63 x 4.5 = 1134. Good to estimate a little extra on top of that for tips for bartenders at the end of the night unless gratuity was factored into your estimate already.

Post # 15
Member
1467 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

@leenh78:  There’s a lot of people saying that it’s bad etiquette not to have an open bar… I guess it depends on your guests but I think it’s perfectly reasonable to only have open bar for an hour or two! At my FSIL’s wedding no one complained about the 100% cash bar and everyone had an awesome time. At my friend’s wedding, cash bar, yeah things didn’t get rowdy much but we had a great time anyways! Really, the people who will complain about that may be the people who care more about their day than your day. Hell to bar ettiquette. (although, of course, there should always be non-alcoholic drinks available free of charge! People need to stay hydrated)

Post # 16
Member
514 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@leenh78:  we are having around 70 people with an open bar for 4 hours and the venue estimated about 1,400

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