Post # 1
- Wedding: October 2014 - Squaw Valley
Fiance & I have always assumed that when we got married we would obviously have an open bar for the duration of the event because that’s what we wanted… well now that I’m no longer in blissfully ignorant land and we are pricing venues/food/beverage/etc. I’m shocked at the costs I’m finding.
At our 4 favorite venues, we are looking at over $25k for open bar for 4 hours! I can’t fathom spending that much on alcohol for the night but Fiance hates the idea of people having to pay for drinks. (the majority of our guests like to drink, a lot) We can save over $10k if we choose to do open bar for cocktail hour and hosted beer & wine for 3 hrs of reception. We’ve been to 15+ weddings in the last 2 years & only 2 of those had full open bar. Most had beer & wine hosted w/ no host cocktails, and every still drank up and had a good time.
I know a lot of people feel no host anything is in bad form. But I’m now facing the realization that with over 300 people on the list this is an item we can compromise on. Whereas Fiance is like, if we can’t offer our guests drinks all night, then why should we even bother with the big wedding, let’s just elope.
Am I in the wrong on this?
Post # 3
@KDOS: Oh my god, that number is ridiculous.
I’d do just beer and wine. I’ve never been to a wedding that had a full open bar, and nobody has ever complained. Our venue (and many others in our area) doesn’t even allow liquor on the premises.
Post # 4
Dear god that’s more then my entire wedding is. That’s absurd for just an open bar, find a different vendor, bring in your own booze, or have only beer and wine. You could always cut the guest list down. 300 people is a lot.
Post # 5
I’ve been to full open bar weddings, it is très, très nice.
But a choice between $25k bar tab or eloping seems abrupt. There are compromises, maybe beer + wine + a signature cocktail or two?
Post # 6
What the heck, why is it so much!?
Post # 7
We are having 200 people and at our vendor it was like $2000 more just for an open bar, so we decied on beer and wine, and if they decide they want to have a different kind then that’s up to them.
Post # 8
That’s pricey. You must be getting married in San Francisco or LA…
Anyway, you should think about maybe doing beer+wine+a couple of drinks.
Post # 9
Yikes! That’s nuts — it comes out to nearly $85/person for your four-hour open bar. Is there any way you can negotiate for a lower price? Our wedding was at a high-end venue in an expensive city, and even so, we paid $35/person for our premium four-hour open bar, with the option to extend at $9/person for each additional hour.
Some ideas for negotiating — other than just telling them how outrageous that price is — might be to do lower shelf alcohol, and exclude certain expensive items (like martinis and champagne, or substitute cava or prosecco). If you can’t do the open bar, another option to pursue with your venue might be to do wine, beer, and two signature cocktails, rather than open hard liquor. I’d suggest seeing if they’re willing to be creative and accommodate your budget somehow. Good luck!
Post # 10
We had beer and wine and two signature cocktails and people had lots of drinks and got super drunk. In a very high priced area that cost us $22 per person.
Post # 11
Definitely compromise!! I wouldn’t do a full open bar at that price either! OUCH!
Post # 12
I would skip the one-hour full open bar and just do beer and wine if it saves you more money. Who is really going to complain about free beer and wine? Usually everybody likes at least one of the 2… if anyone whines about not having a full open bar then they have entitlement issues.
Post # 13
Option 4: Just do hosted beer + wine for entire reception.
If a full open bar will rbeak the bank, dont’ do it. But, cash bar is no bueno and I don’t think switching it up after the first hour is good because epople will be confused and it can get awkward (What do you mean I can’t have another Vodka Soda???).
Post # 14
Gah! That’s 2.5 times the cost of our entire wedding! And we’re only doing a cash bar!
You’re giving these people a lovely dinner and entertainment. I think you should host beer and wine, and let the guests pay cash for any liquor they may want. I agree with a previous poster that switching from open to cash midway through the event will be jarring for your guests.
Post # 15
Yikes! That is a lot of cash. There’s no need to have a full open bar at that price. We had to compromise a bit, too just because we had a 6 hour reception, and the owners didn’t want a full open bar for that length of time. So, we had full open bar for 5 hours, stopping an hour shy of the end of our reception. (I don’t think the bartenders actually stopped serving, though, even though they were supposed to. The staff liked our guests!). The bouns was that it also saved us a good chunk of change.
Post # 16
That is insane.
I would go a cheaper route… unless I was very wealthy, I can’t fathom spending $25K on four hours of drinks. That’s over $100 per minute you can count flying out of your wallet.
No one will comment after the wedding on how they may not have had a full open bar. You’ll be remembering each and every day it takes to get out of wedding debt…