(Closed) Paying based on consumption vs open bar?

posted 10 years ago in Money
Post # 3
Member
3572 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

Our guests were drinkers so we were not comfortable with a consumption bar. We just didn’t want to be surprised. If you have a decent amount of people who do not drink at all, by consumption may be the better option. It also depends on time of day, by consumption its prob better for an afternoon wedding.

We had a mojito bar at cocktail hour that was capped at 150 drinks and it ran out before cocktail hour was even over (we had 102 guests). The next day I was at brunch with our friends and I was like “how the h*ll did that happen” and one friend was like “oh I think I had 9”. From what I’ve seen people at weddings tend to leave half empty glasses sitting around and just go back up to the bar to get a new drink.

Post # 4
Member
60 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I’m wondering the same thing! A lot of the people at my wedding will be drinkers, but that is okay with my Fiance and I – we want everyone to have fun. I’m thinking we’ll do open bar, maybe for 3 hours, and have cash bar for the remaining 2 hours

Post # 5
Member
2637 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Same thing with us. Our bar package is about $23, or drinks go for about $2-$6 based on consumption.

I figure that the reception place has it pretty well calculated so it’s a wash.

We have a fair number or people who won’t drink much, and a fair number of people who will drink a ton. I’d rather not be worried about it, so we’re going with consumption.

Post # 6
Member
338 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

It really depends on your crowd.  If your crowd is going to KILL the bar, you’re better off with a host bar.  If you think that a lot of people aren’t going to drink, you’re probably better with consumption.  If the crowd is 50/50…it’s kind of a crapshoot, because those who kill the bar would probably make up for those who don’t drink very much if you did a consumption bar.

Also…as @LGenz: mentioned above, keep in mind that at a lot of weddings, if the guests aren’t paying for it, they don’t care how often they put a glass down and lose it/the ice melts/don’t know whose is whose and go back for a new one.  🙂

We’re doing a 5 hour host bar at our wedding so we can keep it open during dinner, and we’re scrapping the wine service with dinner so that everyone can just get what they like.

Post # 7
Member
12261 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

We had this same problem, cept only maybe 15% of our wedding is drinkers so we went the consuption route.  We also limited the bar to wine and beer only, mixed drinks were cash to make the money stretch futher.  We figure, if mix drinks were provided, people would probably go for that and run through the money a lot faster.  But even if just wine and beer is provided, people will drink it and probably wont miss the mixed drinks..

Post # 8
Member
71 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

“keep in mind that at a lot of weddings, if the guests aren’t paying for it, they don’t care how often they put a glass down and lose it/the ice melts/don’t know whose is whose and go back for a new one.”

SO MUCH THIS.  i chose to pay the per person fee because i am not going to spend my wedding looking at half empty glasses and thinking about how i paid for that wasted drink.  i would prefer to pay for them all and not care how many are wasted.

Post # 9
Member
420 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

If you have the option like a previous poster mentioned doing open bar initially then changing to consumption half way through would probably work out to be the best fiscally (people drink less as the night goes on)

Post # 10
Member
1696 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

I think mine is different. We’re having an open bar… but we pay for the alcohol ahead of time. So when it runs out, it runs out. If we have more leftover, any unopen bottles will be given to us. Can you do that?

Post # 12
Member
4560 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Depends on time of day, if there is dancing, how long it will go on, age of crowd, etc. We had an afternoon wedding with no dancing–so we paid by consumption– open premium bar for the cocktail hour and red or white wine only during the meal.

Post # 13
Member
1374 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

For a budget wedding we decided to not have an open bar.Nor to pay for stronger drinks.What we are doing is paying for a couple of barrels of beer and soda.Plus before they tap into a new barrel we decided that we would want to know beforehand.We will look at the time and see if its worth opening up a new barrel of beer.Guess u dont want to tap a barrel and only a few cups are given out and thats it.Once a barrel is tapped we have to pay for it.

Post # 14
Member
338 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@qwerty1:  Hahaha you crack me up!!  Yeah, it’s super frustrating.  I’ve worked in catering for years, and you see a LOT of alcohol go down the drain.  Heck, I’ll even admit that I’ve done it myself…I’ll take an open bar as an opportunity to try drinks that I don’t know if I like or not, because then I’m not paying $15 for a martini that I thought tasted like gasoline and immediately abandoned somewhere.  The bad thing is that the guests don’t know the difference between open and consumption because it’s not like you put out a sign that says “we’re paying by the drink – please be nice to us”.  🙂

Post # 15
Member
2637 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@qwerty1: haha, thata is exactly what I would be thinking as I were looking at those half-full glasses!

View original reply
@FutureMrsBPB: yeah, too bad the reception place doesn’t let you put out a sign like that… 

Post # 16
Member
30 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@MissNachoLover: We had one venue manager (a fancy restaurant) tell us that consumption-based almost always comes out to around $10 per person per hour (so $50 per person for a five hour event).  Consumption-based prices were a little more expensive there (maybe $2 more per drink) than what you’re quoting, so maybe you could assume around $9/person/hour.  Sounds like it would be about even with an open bar, which makes sense.

As a side note, when she told us that number, we said that it sounded low and that our family/friends can drink a lot.  She replied that people in the restaurant industry can drink more than anyone (??) and even when they have industry events, it still comes out to around $10/person/hour. 

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