Post # 1
I will have an open bar. My venue offers two options: Pay a flat rate of $23 per adult for four hours of open bar or have a running tab. Sorry to ask such a crass, financial question, but do you think I could save substantially by running the tab? Here are some facts to consider:
There will be about 50 adults. It is a Sunday afternoon. Short ceremony at 12:30 P.M., followed by reception at same location.
Some guests don’t drink at all; others are known to be fairly heavy drinkers. With the flat rate, I pay for all adults whether they drink or not. But I’m also “covered” as far as the heavy drinkers.
A number of guests will have to go to work the next day, but there are also a substantial number of retired people who won’t and will be more inclined to drink.
Beer will be $4 to $5; wine $7, and other drinks from $6 to $10.
I can set a limit on the tab (tell them I to stop when it reaches a certain amount), but I may have to shut the bar down earlier than I’d like. On the other hand, the bar may be open 4 hours and the tab still much less than what I would have paid for a flat rate.
Let me know what you think or what happened at your wedding. I’m inclined to think I might save money just running a tab, and even a couple of hundred would help me pay for other parts of the wedding.
Post # 3
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
Run a tab ad cut it at a specific amount. I did that at my first wedding and we never even hit the stop amount.
Post # 4
Could you run a tab ask them to remove the really expensive drinks like top shelf liqours? Unless everyone’s drinking those $10 drinks, I can’t imagine spending more on a tab bar.
Post # 5
That’s a tough call. $23 a head isn’t bad for open bar. But Sunday afternoon, some people don’t drink at all, etc… It’s a tough call. If you have the spare $1200 in your budget, the open bar is the safest bet. But if you’re pinching pennies and really trying to save, the tab with the cut off will guarantee you don’t overspend (although it might piss off some guests).
Honestly, I’d go with the open bar if your reception is more than like two hours long. But like I said, it’s a really tough call in this situation.
Post # 6
Do the running tab. But you should consider the drinking habits of those invited and if they are going to be driving home afterwards or not. (Try and guess what folks will drink and do the math.) With it being a day wedding, I would think people wouldn’t drink as much.
Another options to save on costs is to just do beer and wine.
Post # 7
@beachbride1216: What do you think a good cut-off amount is? We are putting money in the bar too and would like to know how much for around 80 people. We have a mix of drinkers and non-drinkers too so I haven’t an idea.
Thanks in advance.
Post # 8
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
I did a tab of $800 for draft beer, well liquor and house wine; guests could pay for top shelf if they wanted. We only hit a little over $300 with 55 guests even though it was Saturday night because many were non-drinkers and a lot of guests left after we cut the cake.
Post # 9
@Flanders: I am just not sure in your situation. It is easy for me to figure out because I can use the $23 flat rate the venue would charge me as a guide. I can figure what I would have spent if I paid the $23 per person, and then make the “limit” the same (hoping it might come out to less), or make the limit lower. My venue offers the option of setting a limit, and then they will come and tell me when I’m close, offering me the option to raise the limit if I want to.
Post # 10
Run the tab. My parents have paid for 3 weddings and he’s found it to be cheaper in the long run.
Post # 11
@Carolsays: Yeah, this makes it tough because we don’t have a per head option for booze :/ I’ll have to show FI the menu and prices because he is more mathematically minded than me. Thanks!
Post # 12
I faced this dilemma as well. If it was a Saturday night, I definitely would’ve advised you to just pay for the open bar. But on a Sunday, in the daytime, and you know for a fact that a few people don’t drink? And I’m assuming you’re also providing soft drinks so people can alternate. Will there be any dancing or anything? I’m asking because sitting around chatting at a table would encourage more heavy drinking than would an activity like dancing.
A responsible drinker who has to drive will have 1-2 drinks per hour. Even a heavy drinker will not have more than 3 drinks per hour in broad daylight, right? times 4 hours, that’s 12 drinks (which…nobody freaking has 12 drinks in a sitting. I mean, really, lol.
We decided to run a tab and we don’t even have any non-drinkers coming!
Post # 13
@Carolsays: i had the exact same scenario as you. some non-drinkers, some heavy drinkers, etc.
i ended up going with the running bar tab. the bar was open immediately after the ceremony (open 6.30pm) and stayed open all night until 1am. i was shocked when i got the total. i thought the price would be similar to the set bar amount. no. it was half of what i expected it to be. it even included the passed wine service for dinner.
i would go with the running bar tab. i can’t imagine a large bar tab on a sunday afternoon. you can always request to stop it once it reaches a certain amount.
Post # 14
@beachbride1216: Wedding was a week ago. We ran the tab and saved about $500.
Post # 15
@mypinkshoes: Glad we listened to your advice. Married a week ago and saved big by running tab.
Post # 16
@Overjoyed: Thanks to you and all others who offered advice. We went with running tab based on all the responses, and we saved substantially!