(Closed) Semi-Open Bar… Opinions?

posted 8 years ago in Food
Post # 4
5657 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2012
That is basically what we are doing. We are providing free wine (which is being served at the table), but any additional drinks can be purchased at the cash bar. We also have free coffee, tea and water. We’re lucky because our families are not big drinkers, so we’ve only purchased 25 bottles of wine for our 90-100 guests, it’s costing us around $500 I think. 

I doubt that having a cash bar will lessen the amount of wine people drink by a significant amount… only people who really don’t like wine will pay for a drink or two and the rest will probably be very happy with just the free wine lol. Are you sure you need to spend a grand on wine to begin with? How many guests do you have?

Post # 5
2606 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Good plan.  You’re being good hosts by providing the wine, but also giving non wine drinkers the option for purchasing themselves something different.

Post # 6
4824 posts
Honey bee

Go for it, BUT what happens if you dont finish a bottle of something, do you have to purchase the remaining bottle. Will that make up the difference in money saved of those who didnt drink wine?

What are you paying per bottle? Are you bringing it in or is a vendor?

Post # 7
213 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Thats what we plan on… On our website it says “For our guests who enjoy an adult beverage or two, beer and wine will be served. All other alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.”  As long as they know that they may have to pay, then it’s okay.  We also may have to cut the complementary drinks at some point in the night depending on how much people drink.  You can also look into getting a distributor that would be willing to give the venue a discount and asking the manager if you bring them a supplier that is less if they will pass those savings on to you- so that they still make their normal profit, but it helps you both out.  Just a thought, and worth a try.  If you dont ask… you cant recieve.

Post # 8
4582 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

If you’re paying for the bartender anyway, I see nothing wrong with allowing guests the option to purchase mixed drinks if they want to. You could have signage at the bar or a message on your wedding website explaining that the wine is on you but that they are welcome to purchase any other drinks they would like.

Since we definitely can’t afford open bar, my Fiance wants to just provide it to our bridal party with cash bar for everyone else. I’m not super into this idea because I think some guests might be irritated. I’d much rather see how much it would cost to provide guests with a couple of hosted beer and wine options and allow them the option to buy mixed drinks, so pretty similar to your idea.

Post # 9
1119 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

I like this idea – I don’t know how much it will decrease your alsohol bill though. At least for the folks in our crowd, they would definitely just drink whichever drink was free rather than pay.

Post # 11
1314 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

I’m doing this! We’re providing wine and 2 kegs of beer. We’ll have a cash bar so guests can get wasted off mixed drinks if they so choose. We have about 1,000 to spend on beer and wine, so we’re still spending a lot, but we probably won’t use it all (which means more wine for ME!). We have to purchase the beer through the venue but can bring our own wine. I can see where you’re running into a pickle because purchasing the venue’s wine can be really expensive for what you’re getting (i.e. sometimes lower quality wine at 20 dollars a bottle).

Post # 12
2600 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

@Mrs Hedgehog:  Leaving things as a cash bar for everything besides your wine is fine, there’s nothing wrong with that!  But, depending on your crowd it may not affect your tab very much. 

Also, I’m unfamiliar with the liquor laws where you are, but double check that you’ll be allowed to take the unused wine with you.  I’ve worked in some states that allow that and some that don’t. 

Double check that they will ‘marry’ up the bottles for you.  If you are only providing 3 kinds of wine for example, they may have 2 or more bottles of the same opened at the same time to serve your guests quickly (this is especially important for anyone wine service at the tables) but they should be combining (aka marrying) up the bottles later, so you aren’t paying for both.

Also ask them to keep the empty bottles for you or your parents to review at the end of the night.

Good luck!

Post # 13
610 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

Our alcohol situation is going to be free champagne on the guest tables. Than we are going to have two free drinks per a guest which will be possible by giving them drink tickets as they walk in the door to the reception. After that they are on their own and all drinks will be a toonie ($2). We think it is fair.

Post # 14
189 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

We are doing the same thing- beer and wine provided by us but we are putting a cap at 4 cases of wine for 150 guests, and then the champagne toast. That’s alot of bottles! But we are getting a deal- a case of Covey Run for $163.00, and at least it’s a decent brand. We must purchase all alcohol through our venue.
What I do like is the this wording (Onelove) On our website it says “For our guests who enjoy an adult beverage or two, beer and wine will be served. All other alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase.” Gonna have to steal that!!!

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