Wedding Reception Forum

What's the cheaper way to do an open bar?

I'm struggling with how to handle/pay for the booze during our reception. We hope to have 175 guests and plan on doing an open bar - with a wine/beer hour for dinner - and then back to an open bar. Half of our guests are drinkers but about a third of them are not. I'm not sure if it is cheaper to go with the reception hall's $/hr per person fee or should I just ask to be charged per drink. Does it all even out in the end? Heavy drinkers vs the lighter drinkers or could I be saving serious money one way or another? Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated!!

Re: What's the cheaper way to do an open bar?

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    Depends on the per person fee and the per drink fee
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    it's $11/person the first hr; $10/person the second and $9 every addl hr.
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    Some reception halls will honestly tell you, "Go with a per-person charge if you think your guests will drink less than x number of drinks each, because it will save you money." Some won't. If you haven't talked to them, ask them honestly home many drinks someone will consume on average (you may have to adjust think based on your list) and the price per drink. Then just run the numbers yourself. Keep in mind that many people will drink more at an open bar than they normally would otherwise.
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    Even if the consumption package ends up being cheaper, the flat rate may be worth the peace of mind of knowing exactly how much your bar tab will come to, so you're not unpleasantly surprised about how much it will come to, and not spending all night worrying about how much people are drinking.  Just a thought.
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    the venue we are having our reception at is letting us do both. During most of the reception we are doing a per person rate, but during dinner (when people are eating and not getting up to get drinks) and the last hour of the reception (when there are less people left) we are doing it per drink. you might want to ask if this is an option?
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    i would do per person.  to be honest, i think a lot of people take advantage and drink as much as they possibly can at open bars.  some people that don't usually drink have one anyway because it's free.  but, then again, maybe i only know alcoholics.  ;)
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    The only way to really get an accurrate estimate is to sit down and do the math. You may want your venue to help you with this...don't take this the wrong way but it doesn't seem like you are very good at math, "Half of our guests are drinkers but about a third of them are not," - if half of your guests are drinkers then the other half are not. If about 1/3 of them are not drinkers then 2/3 of them are. See what I'm sayin'? For us, it ended up being way cheaper (over $2K) to do a bar per consumption instead of a package and I would say 90% of our guests were big drinkers.
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    Instead of an open bar, which can be VERY expensive, you could have a wine, a beer, free soda, then pick one of your favorite mixed drinks (signature drink). Those could all be free and then if they want something else, they can pay for it. That's what we're gonna do
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    Hi - most of our guests are drinkers so I can't really help with your bar dilemma.  But, I noticed you posted a question on how to remove the "Edit" button from your wedding website.  Did anyone ever get back to you or did you figure out how to do it?

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