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How Much Do Open Bars Cost At Weddings

Should You Have An Open Bar At Your Wedding

DIY Candy bar or buffet for weddings or special events

source: blmurch

Should you have an open bar at your wedding? This seems to be one of the most hotly debated topics for brides, wedding planners, and caterers alike. Some feel that an open bar at a wedding is a must and forcing your guests to pay for drinks shows a lack of courtesy. Others disagree just as strongly saying it shouldnt be incumbent on the bride and groom to pay for their friends and family to drink on their dime.

In the end, theres no right answer. Every situation is unique. But, its important to understanding your options so you can feel comfortable with your decision.

How Much Alcohol To Buy For Your Wedding

So, how much beer, wine and/or liquor do you need for your nuptials? The answer depends on multiple factors. Consider the size of the guest list, the length of the reception and the likelihood of an after-party. Next, take your guest list into account. If they love to party, you may want extra booze. If not, perhaps you can scale back your shopping list.

It’s also important to consider what you want to serve. If you’d like to offer a signature cocktail, you’ll need to secure multiple bottles of the required liquor and mixes. If you know many of your guests love beer, it’s best to stock up.

Finally, don’t forget any traditions or personalized moments during your reception. If you’d like to have a champagne toast, factor that into your wedding bar shopping list. If you’d rather pass out another cocktail, you’ll want to take that into account. Think through all of the different aspects of the night and write them down so you don’t lose track of anything important.

Who Supplies The Alcohol

If youre hosting your wedding in a hotel or banquet hall, liquor is usually provided in your contract, expect to be quoted either a per-person fee or a total price for alcohol. The same is true with established independent caterers. If the caterer does not have a liquor license, he or she will coordinate purchasing the alcohol from a vendor and quote you a price per bottle. If there are bottles left over, youll be able to keep them , so youll only be paying for what was actually consumed.

If your facility allows it, consider supplying the alcohol yourselvesit can be a huge money saver. You may be subjected to a corkage fee, a flat fee charged by the caterer per bottle opened its usually around $10 or more but can be negotiated. Even so, youll most likely see terrific savings especially if you purchase the alcohol from a wholesaler.

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How To Decide If An Open Bar Is Worth The Cost

It’s a pricey perk to provide all night, but one that guests appreciate.

There’s no way around it: An open bar is expensive. Depending on how many guests you’re inviting and the types and quality of alcohol you want to serve, an open bar can set you back several thousands of dollars. That’s a lot of vodka martinis! If you’re wondering whether or not you’re required to offer an open bar, the answer is absolutely not. Just as serving a three-course dinner or having a tiered wedding cake are traditional but are in no way must-haves, providing all-you-can-drink cocktails isn’t something you have to do. With that being said, you like the idea of an open baryou’ve been to a few weddings with cash bars, which is inhospitable and inconvenient so if it’s possible, you’d like to offer free booze to guests at your wedding. Here’s what to think about, plus all of your options.

Decide Who Will Provide The Alcohol

Is the Cost of Open Bar at Weddings *Really* Worth It?

You can choose to buy alcohol in bulk to reduce the overall cost of the open bar. Buying the alcohol yourself will enable you to save more money.

After all, bar catering companies typically bill by consumption . Its even better if you can buy alcoholic drinks from a store that has a refund policy for unopened products.

Also Check: How To Get Cheap Flowers For Wedding

The Open Bar Question: How Much Does It Really Cost

Posted in Planning2

I’m sitting here, trying to calculate my reception cost. My venue only allows for a consumption bar and I naively budgeted under & dollar 1000 for this. I was doing some research today and came across this:

Plan for two to three drinks per person for the first hour of the reception and one drink per person for every additional hour of the reception.

I’m getting at total of 840 drinks of wine, beer, or liquor!

I don’t know what to say or do. Is this typical prices for bar bills?? Or someone tell me where my math went wrong.


on March 3, 2021 at 3:33 PM

Wedding Cost: Flowers & Decor

There are many factors that contribute to the price of flowers, and right now the biggest one is the pandemic. Costs have soared as the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the supply chain, explains Stephanie Commisso, owner and head designer of Bluumblvd Floral Events and Bluum Maison. There is high demand and low supply due to factors including climate conditions and a lack of freight options. Less people travelling means less air transport and inflated shipping expenses for flowers.

If you dream of a floral-festooned, Instagram-perfect wedding day, its going to cost you. If you want bouquets, centrepieces, plus a floral arch and hanging installation, youre looking at an investment of at least $7,000, says Commisso. One thing many people dont consider with floral design, decor and pricing is it also includes setup and tear-down fees. For a full-service wedding, youre paying for flowers and to have them delivered, set up and collected post-event.

For creative decor ideas that dont cost the moon, Commisso suggests leaning on your florist to dream up something wonderful. Multipurpose items are always a good idea, she says. If you can swing it, a floral arch is amazing as it can be repurposed in many ways. I love the idea of using bud vases and candles to create beautifuland affordableatmosphere. Also, greenery-based designs are not less expensive than proper flowers: Eucalyptus garlands are just as pricey!

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Cost Of An Open Bar: Go Limited Bar Or Full Bar

Remember that a FULL open bar isnt your only option.

You can save money on your open bar by choosing to serve just beer and wine , for example. I tend to think that its better to have a limited bar than to make your guests pay for some or all of their drinks at your wedding .

Here are some cost options for different types of open bars:

  • Limited beer choices and house wine : $15-$20 per person
  • Full bar with limited beer choices and house wine : $20-$35 per person
  • Full bar with premium brand liquor with domestic and imported beer choices and house wine: $35-$40 per person

Of course, prices will vary as well as options, depending on your venue. It also depends which city or region you live in, as alcohol in New York City will probably cost a lot more money than alcohol in a small town in a rural area.

Open Bar Vs Hosted Bar

How to Calculate Alcohol Cost for Your Wedding

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From the perspective of the guest, these two options are the same. From the perspective of the host, they are entirely different.

In this case, were defining an open bar as charging per person, per hour.

A hosted bar means each drink is rung up when its served and the final bill is passed on to the host. Most venues, caterers or bartending services will give you the option of choosing between the two.

If you feel your guests are going to be heavy drinkers, youll be better off opting for an open bar so you dont risk them running up the bill at a hosted bar. An open bar is nice for budgeting a wedding since it gives you a definite number that youll be spending instead of forcing you to estimate as you would with a host bar.

If your guests are light drinkers, a hosted bar is a better choice since you wont be overpaying for a party that is going to stay rather mild anyway.

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Decide What You Want Your Alcohol Mix To Be

Note: For purposes of this article, were going to assume youre having a full open bar .

While sites like Total Wine encourage you to use a ratio of 50% wine drinkers, 30% beer, and 20% spirit drinkers, we think its safer to say 50% of guests want wine, 25% beer, and 25% want the hard stuff, though keep in mind you know your crowd better than anybody. For instance, at my wedding we had a lot of wine and spirit drinkers, so I would have made it 60% wine, 30% alcohol, 10% beer.

So using ALL those calculations, heres how you would figure out just how much you need in total, assuming the percentages and everything else above for a 100 person wedding:

For 100 guests:

=20 bottles of champagne needed


So to recap, for 100 guests you would need:

  • 70 bottles of wine
  • 15 bottles of liquor
  • 20 bottles of champagne for toast

Only Having Beer and Wine?

Of course if youre only having beer and wine, the percentages youll need for each would just go up accordingly. So you would most likely assume a 60% wine and 40% beer mix, making your numbers look like:

  • 84 bottles of wine
  • 280 bottles of beer

Ready to buy? If youre using the wedding alcohol calculator formula weve come up with, above, the shopping list for it is below.

What Are The Cons Of An Open Bar Wedding

Every wedding will see its fair share of unique challenges. Make decisions that help manifest the big picture, but also fit your budget restrictions. Sure, open bars are tried-and-true crowd-pleasers, but consider the pitfalls before placing a deposit on bar service.

1. A big open bar can leave you with a big outstanding tab.

The last thing you want to do is start your marriage off with wedding debt. Again, set a budget and stick to it. If your alcohol budget doesnt accommodate a full, premium open bar, dont force it. Your loved ones dont want to see you sacrifice your financial well-being to provide them with cocktails.

2. Guests could take advantage.

Unfortunately, open bars are often taken advantage of at weddings. A seemingly endless supply of alcohol can easily lead to overconsumption and overindulgence. It can also leave you with an astronomical bill if your contract allows for an open tab.

3. Unlimited booze = unforeseen complications.

Not all couples are looking for a rowdy ceremony. Be aware of the potential issues that could arise as a result of unlimited alcohol. If you have a lot of family tension or a group of wild friends, it may be more beneficial in the long run to try and limit consumption.

Also Check: How To Ask Groomsmen To Be In Wedding

Cost Of Having An Open Bar At Your Wedding

A recent report found that 72% of couples are opting for an open bar at their weddings, and we are planning on following suit! But were also wondering: how much is an open bar going to cost us on our wedding day?

A typical price to pay for an open bar at your wedding is approximately $20 per person. The average number of wedding guests is 126 guests* which adds up to $2,520 before taxes and fees . The total bill at this rate with 15% added for both taxes and fees is $3,276.

*According to the 2019 WeddingWire Newlywed Report

I dont know about you, but I think this is a pretty steep price to pay for an open bar, as important as I think open bars are to a wedding. And there are ways to do it so that it isnt as expensive as this. It just requires a bit of planning and asking around.

PRO-TIP: f youre going to DIY your open bar, remember to pick up some heavy duty, rustic stainless steel ice buckets with ice scoops from Amazon well in advance of the big day!

Im going to talk more about how to save money on booze at your wedding and what you can expect to have to pay for when you agree to an open bar . If youre interested in checking out the best DIY bar accessories, you can find them by .

Laurita Vineyard Wedding Event Summary

5 Reasons to Have an Open Bar Wedding

The winery sits on more than 250 acres, with a scene similar to Napa Valley. The event will be set in the middle of the yard bordered by outdoor tents. If you want an indoor wedding celebration, there is an indoor setting also. Regardless of the number of visitors you are planning for your wedding event, the Laurita Winery can fit nearly all demands. They can select a place that will accommodate as little as 40 individuals without looking empty to a space that can seat over 200 individuals without feeling crowded.

The wedding event bundles can include endless Laurita wines, a first course, main dish, custom-made wedding celebration cake, sodas, garnishes, pasta, cocktail station, all bar set-up, mixers, luxurious dessert display, imported cheese, and/or spreads. Bundles will also consist of folded chairs for the outdoor location along with linens.

The location can fit approximately 400 individuals, while the reception can cover 180 individuals for sit-down dinner as well as 200 for the buffet.

Also Check: How Much Is A Wedding

Pay Per Head Not Per Drink

If you think your guests will take full advantage of an open bar, try to pay per head instead of per drink. Depending on the quality of alcohol served, a single drink could run you nearly double digits while paying per head could be closer to $20 a person. You know your guests’ drinking habits best, so do the math and talk to you caterer about what options are available.

No : Wine Bottle Per Table

Instead of 450 servings of wine for all 100 guests, the best way to certainly cut the cost is to put a single bottle of wine per a table of 4 to 5. In fact, dividing a single bottle among several guests leaves organizing couples the option of buying only 20 to 25 bottles of a more luxurious wine such as Graci Etna Rosso 2013 instead of 75 or 112 bottles of low-cost brands. Taking into account that a single full keg of beer is already in the inventory, the total cost is roughly around $800.

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