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Full open bar vs. Per drink

Has anyone had a reception where they ended up paying per drink rather than doing an open bar for the entire evening? Does this actually bring down the cost because you aren't paying for EVERYONE to drink for 5 hours. I have some pretty big drinkers coming to my reception and I'm nervous about not knowing what the bill will be at the end of the evening.  Thanks!!

Re: Full open bar vs. Per drink

  • jtritchjtritch
    edited December 2011
    That was something that we looked at- and decided that it wasn't worth the effort or the worry to try to save an undetermined amount of money.  Since we have some (lots) of drinkers as well, we figured it was prudent to just suck up the money and do the open bar. 
  • NicoleB331NicoleB331
    edited December 2011
    I like the idea of knowing what my cost is up front and being able to budget. You could do an open bar for a shorter amount of time. We decided to do a 4 hr open bar instead of 5. My FI and I figured that 4 hrs of an open bar was enough for people.
    Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination.-Voltaire image
  • navybride02navybride02
    edited December 2011
    We had a set bar company we had to go through for our venue and when we looked at their packages, we realized that if every guest had two drinks and about half had more than two, we would be WAY over the cost of having a premium open bar. The open bar worked for us b/c quite honestly we had a lot of drinkers attending. Looking back, I'm so glad we didn't have to worry about a random sum at the end of the evening and that we got to have one amazing party. 
  • ufsweetiebearufsweetiebear
    edited December 2011
    We also checked it out and the cost of the open bar was better. You could ask the venue to let you know when your per drink costs have hit $xxxx but that could come very early in the reception if you have a lot of drinkers (who are assuming the bar is open so they drink a lot more).
  • cmeyer3946cmeyer3946
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I think only one place I looked at Honeymoon Island was cheaper per drink.  Only because their open bar was $35 per hour per person!!  The way I look at it is even your normal drinkers are going to have a bottle and a half of wine.  This may sound like a lot but that's only 1 drink per hour if you have 6 hours between cocktail hour and the wedding.
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • edited December 2011

    Our location does pay per drink for their open bar.  They do let you set an amount and if you are getting close they will let us know and we can determine if we want to raise it or go to cash bar.  
    We are budgeters too and didn't want to be too surprised at the final amount..so to have a good idea of what we would spend, we assumed each guest would have 7 drinks, multiplied that by the highest drink price ($9), no shots and got a price.  We also included the tax and gratuity on top of that. It might not work for larger parties but we felt we put a good buffer in to make sure we weren't hit with a crazy amount the day of.   I guess we also know that we don't have a ton of partiers in our group, so we know that this is a realistic assumption.


    updated: 8/23 the wedding plan 60 in the mailimage 42 Bags are packedimage 18 Missing the funimage
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