Post # 1
I’m finalizing my wedding buget with my parents before we book a venue, and we’ve ran into a bit of a snag. I want to have an open bar at the wedding, and my parents are fine with that – but they have pointed out that likely 1/3 of the guests (over 21) won’t be drinking, because they’re Southern Baptists. Because these guests are over 21, we won’t be able to pay the standard under 21 price for those not drinking. Has anyone ran into this issue? What were your solutions to get the most for your money?
We just don’t want to pay $40-60 per person for an open bar for 100, when only 60 to 80 people will actually be drinking.
Post # 2
Can you do a consumption bar, ie pay for what people actually drink?
Post # 3
A cash bar is fine. People understand. When my parents and I talked about the reception (which they paid quite a bit towards), they requested that their money not go towards an open bar. My husband and I couldn’t fund an open bar ourselves so we had a cash bar. No complaints, no issues.
Post # 4
Can you do a consumption bar? Essentially, you open a tab that you pay at the end of the night, and it covers only what people drink. Since you have so many non-drinkers, it may come out to your advantage. My FI’s parents are paying for our bar, and this is how they want to go, since all of the older adults in our family are light drinkers or non-drinkers.
Post # 5
You should be able to have it billed by consumption. Or maybe just beer and wine would be a better fit? I don’t think it’s appropriate for guests to pay for anything at a wedding*
*I know some disagree and that’s fine- sorry/not sorry
Post # 6
Tell the drinkers to just drink more so it will balance out.
Post # 7
That’s exactly what I did for my wedding. My family doesn’t really drink, so I told my friends it was their job to cut extra loose that night.
Post # 8
A cash bar is not fine. See if you can do a consumption bar.
Post # 9
Thank you all for your help! I agree that a cash bar is tacky, especially since most guests will be traveling 4+ hours to get there, and paying for a hotel room. I’ll make sure to ask if they can do a consumption bar when booking a venue and/or caterer!
Post # 10
I’ve never understood why people are so adamently against cash bars. We had over 200 guests and there was absolutely no way we could have afforded paying for an open bar, even just wine and beer. I wasn’t about to push my wedding back so we could save enough money for an open bar……we had other priorities.
Post # 11
I tried to run numbers based on who wouldn’t drink, who would have a few, and who would have too much to see if a consumption bar or open bar would be better. For me, open bar seems more logical. Paying full price for each drink, means that after 3.5 drinks/pp open bar could have been paid for ( for what I am paying). My FIs friends will easily make up the cost of 3-4 non drinkers each.
Post # 12
- Wedding: March 2013 - Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
Depending on your venue/caterer, you might be able to buy all of the alcohol for the bar yourself and hire bartenders through the catering company/venue. That way, if there are unopened bottles, you can return them to the liquor store. It ended up being cheaper for us to do it that way and we could provide the brands that we wanted (since most drink packages had terrible beers).
Post # 13
See in Ireland we do cash bars or we would be bankurpt by the bill! Guests get a drink on arrival, wine with dinner – sometimes a toast drink and then once the music starts they start paying, no one thinks they’re tacky cause its the norm.
OP, I would talk to the venue about your options they should advise you the best way to go!
Post # 14
- Wedding: November 2017 - 1800s era Church
Are you able to bring your own caterer? That’s what we’re doing, and out caterer only charges us for the bartenders time. We provide all of the alcohol. Also, I don’t know what state you’re in, so may or may not be able to do this, but here in Florida, you can return unopened bottles. So that’s our plan. Over estimate what we think will be used, and then return any unused. It’s saving us thousands. So it might be something you want to look into if you’re able.
Post # 15
We used our own caterer who allowed us to buy the alcohol ourselves. Saved a ton of money and we were able to buy quantities and types based on our guests and what we knew they would like. We also got to keep whatever wasn’t used at the end of the night so had a nice bar setup for us at home after the wedding! Consumption bar is definitely a good idea too.