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Food and Cakes

Open bar??

I just need some help! We are due to turn in a rough draft of our contract for our reception hall and the only problem I'm having is the alcohol. We could offer open bar, rail mixers or just soda. What is the norm? When do people usually offer open bar? We're trying to be a little money savvy so is two hours long enough or do we just look cheap? And someone had told me you have open bar during cocktail hour, is that true? I always thought it was after the dinner! Also do you think it's a good idea to offer our wedding party open bar during the entire reception hall? If you could share your thoughts I would much appreciate it!

Re: Open bar??

  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_food-cakes_open-bar-3?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:23Discussion:bdede8ac-14ec-431a-bea5-e510cf7c43b2Post:9dc3b0d4-fd7b-4d7a-85c3-d3821c533303">Re: Open bar??</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Open bar?? : We had full open bar from 5-6 for cocktail hour, bar closed during dinner from 6-7 with wine poured table side and full open bar again from 7-11 p.m. My opinion is that if you are going to have open bar at the beginning of the night, it needs to stay that way.  I woudn't put a 2-hour time limit on it. If money is an issue, consider having open beer/wine/soda for the whole night. Don't offer your WP something that the rest of the guests would not be getting.  That is really rude.
    Posted by ILoveMilkDuds[/QUOTE]

    Ditto.  We are having an open bar for cocktail hour 6-7, closed 7-8 for dinner and re-open 8-12. 

    I think it is more complicated when it is only open for 2 hours.  People would assume there would be an open bar all evening.
    If money is the issue it is completely appropriate to have just beer, wine and soda, maybe even 1 signature drink if you can afford it.  This can save a lot of money for you. 
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  • edited December 2011
    Is the open bar your venue sets up consumption-based or per person per hour?  It's hard to control your budget with a consumption bar, since you'll get the bar tab at the end of the night and can really only estimate how much people will drink in advance.  

  • edited December 2011
    We are having a cash bar which is not the best normally etiquette wise however we litterally have 2 or 3 ppl out of everyone attending that drink and we didnt see the point in doubling our food cost for just 2-3 ppl. I am also doing a very early wedding though so for the most case drinking should not be an issue. Our wedding starts at 11:30 am
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  • samnooshkasamnooshka member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    We're having an open/account bar for Soft Drinks, Wine and Beer only. If people want Spirits then they will need to pay for them. We have about 80 guests and only half of those will be drinking due to people either driving home, or just not being "drinkers". Our bar opens at 8.30pm, and closes at 12.

    We're also having canipe's, and pimms in a drinks reception before the meal and wine on the tables during the wedding breakfast.


  • edited December 2011
    We had beer, wine and well liquor for the full reception - 6pm to 11pm.

    TBH, if there were no more drinks and no more food, I'm not sure how long I'd stay. I prefer having a drink and mingling to dancing. If dancing was all that was going on, I might leave before the end of the reception.

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  • edited December 2011
    I'm having open bar ALL NIGHT 5 Hours. I feel that if your going to do  it you might as well do it all throughout the night. Everyone opinion will be different sit down with your FI and see what he thinks.
  • blush64blush64 member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I am having an open bar from the start of the cocktail hour at 5pm until 1am when we'll have last call. 8 hours.

    I think an open bar for the whole reception is best but I know a lot of people who close it down over dinner. (only wine during dinner) No one would think anything of it. Maybe cut down to whatever you can afford to offer and then offer it all night. (or day, whenever you're reception is)

    EDITED Offer what you can afford and do it all night even if that means only pop and juice/water.
  • vexievexie member
    100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    We had an open bar during the cocktail hour (1 /2 hours) of wine and beer only.  During dinner the bar was closed but we did serve wine.  We didn't have a dance so the bar didn't open again after the dinner and speeches were finished.   We had 70 guests and the bar tab totalled approx $1300 which wasn't bad in my opinion!   Our budget was pretty tight which is why we limited the choices to beer and wine only. 
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  • edited December 2011

    Thank you for all of your input! I really feel better about everything. I think we decided to have beer, soda & wine during the cocktail hour. We're going to resume offering beer, soda & wine after dinner until midnight. We totalled it up & it really isn't going ridiculously a lot, although our friends know how to drink! Lol.

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