How Much Is An Open Bar At A Wedding Reception?
There’s a lot to think about when planning for a wedding – there's type, themes, outfits, and reception. With all these, it only gets harder to find the balance between impressing your guests with the choices you make, keeping an eye on charges, and making sure the day turns out memorable for everyone.
And so is the case when choosing the type of bar for the wedding celebration. Should you go for an open or a cash bar? As open bars make a more pleasing option for guests, the question of how much is an open bar at a wedding reception then pops out.
Let’s find out.
The Cost of an Open Bar
Throwing in an open bar on the wedding reception is a costly stance, yet 56% still choose to do it. And so you might ask, ‘how much is an open bar at a wedding?’ Well, there’s no straight answer to this as there’s a lot to consider before your bar host can give you the price of their service.
If you’re going for an open bar, would you like to have it for a flat-rate or billed by consumption?
In flat-rate pricing, you will be asked a fixed rate for every adult partygoer for each hour of bar servicing, regardless of your guests' drinking habits. With your guest list already established, identifying the cost for the bar set up is easy. The average wedding guests is 120-170 persons, and in this crowd, prepare to spend around $2500 for an open bar with cheaper liquors and $4,500 for an open bar with premium drink offerings.
If you opt for billing by consumption, you will only be charged for your drinks your guests have taken. The bar service will keep a tab on each drink served of which you will have to pay. The price is not fixed, but this option will work on your advantage if your guests aren't heavy drinkers.
Pros and Cons of an Open Bar
After we finally settled how much is an open bar at a wedding, let’s help you decide if an open bar is indeed for you. Here are its upsides and downsides.
- Your guests will be pleased, and they're likely to toast to it.
- It's a way of saying thank you to your guests for celebrating with you on your wedding day. Your guests, especially the ones coming from afar, will surely appreciate your way of giving back to them for the efforts they've made to be at your wedding.
- It's a financially savvy decision to go for an open bar if you know and have planned your guests well. If you're familiar with your guests' drinking habits and you know most of them to be light drinkers or teetotalers, then an open bar is a great choice. It has some risks, but if you're confident, why not?
- Prepare yourself for drunk guests. How much is an open bar at a wedding is not the only problem you’ll have when you opt for one. If you aren't aware of how your guests act when they're drunk, an open bar may be a wrong idea. Prepare a contingency for when an intoxicated guest starts acting out.
- The charges can go enormous if your guests go overboard. The after event bill can stress you out. Make sure you are ready for this set up before going for a full open bar.
- With guests and perhaps yourself getting drunk, you might not remember the bests of the day, defeating your purpose of prepping well for a memorable day.
A Cash Bar as an Alternative
If you're obsessing with the idea of a bar in the reception but don't have that much to spend for everyone's booze, you can opt for a cash bar. It's a cost-effective alternative to an open bar.
A full range of liquor is offered in a cash bar, but the guests pay for what they drink. It's a pocket-safe way of bringing alcohol at your wedding reception minus the worries of covering the cost.
But in wedding stats, cash bars were hired for only 7% of weddings, and this low number means couples still believe that a cash bar is a less hospital way of accommodating guests at the reception.
Because it's deemed not too friendly, top wedding organizers advise that couples pay for a complimentary drink or two, and should the guests opt for more drinks, that's going to be on the guest's end. This is a better way of striking a balance between treating your guests well and keeping the cost at bay.
Pros and Cons of a Cash Bar
The main concern over setting up a cash bar dwells on hospitality issues versus keeping the cost pocket-friendly. Here are more pros and cons of a cash bar.
- You don't get silently stressed out, seeing guests getting drunk from your bar as you aren't paying for it. They can have all the booze they want as long as it's not on you. You both end up enjoying the day!
- Instead of using the money to pay for an open bar, you can prioritize other more important aspects of the wedding, such as making sure you serve sumptuous food over meals. Nothing compares to serving good food as a means of thanking your guests for coming, not even a free premium liquor.
- Guests who do not drink may find the ambiance more comfortable than having guests getting drunk in every nook in the party. Paying for your drink is an effective way of limiting your alcohol intake.
- Cash bars may be considered rude in some cultures. It's also not a great way of thanking guests who've traveled far to celebrate with you, only to pay for their party drinks.
- You may leave an impression of tackiness. Inviting people and letting them pay for their happy time can come across as distasteful. Find out more about wedding receptions.
To truly enjoy your day, a couple needs to plan every possible detail of the wedding and the reception that entails, and this includes finding out how much is an open bar at a wedding. By asking this vital question ahead of time, you will likely avert stressful post-wedding scenarios when after-party bills are presented to you.
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