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Hosted Bar, The real cost

Ok Ladies, Open question:
  • What did you pay (/person, /hour, grand total, whatever) for whatever bar option you had.


Re: Hosted Bar, The real cost

  • smalfrie19smalfrie19 Home of SB XLVIII Champs member
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper

    Luckily, we have a venue that allows us to bring our own alcohol, so its the cost of the banquet license, the event insurance, the licensed bartender and the alcohol itself.


  • auriannaaurianna member
    Ninth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited December 2013
    I want to say ours was $18 pp? Not top shelf, but beer, wine and all types of liquor. (for four hours)

    ETA: Oh. Not sure if it was $18 pp per hour or just total. Mom paid for the alcohol...
  • csuavecsuave member
    500 Comments Third Anniversary 100 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2013

    $20.55pp/for a full bar for 4.5 hours.  Not top shelf but included some nicer brand names than your standard house brands. 

    The one teenage guest that we had was $5.10 for just soda/juice.

    Kids 12 and under no charge.

    ETA: I originally put per hour but it was really only $20.55pp for the full 4.5 hours.

  • JCbride2015JCbride2015 Dirty Jerz member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    Our $120/pp includes everything at the reception hall, including ceremony, all food and top shelf open bar with extra craft beer.  Five hours.  I have no idea what proportion of this price would break down for alcohol but it feels like we're getting a good deal for our area.
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  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Depending on the entrees chosen, ours will range from $120 to $160pp. This includes use of the venue, tables, linens, small centerpieces, cake, open top-shelf bar for 5 hours, champagne toast, menu cards and even the dance floor. Like PP said, not sure what breaks down to just open bar. I really appreciate the all-inclusive cost and given the location, I also think this is a good deal. 

  • huskypuppy14huskypuppy14 Boston Suburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Our bar package is 30 dollars per person for 5 hours of beer and wine only or 36 per person for premium open bar and I think 40 for top shelf. We haven't decided which option we are doing yet.


  • Ours is only about $10/per person over the package with no alcohol. It's called 'premium' open bar, all alcohol, wine, 2 draft and 2 bottled beer for 5 hours. I took a late March date, considered 'off season'. Huge bargaining tool for pretty much everything for the wedding.
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  • $24 pp for 4 hours for full open bar.
  • Ours was $40/pp but that was from 4pm-10pm for a full open bar plus we offered sangria as an additional option. This also included wine served with dinner and champagne for the toast and passed around during cocktail hour. 
  • Ours is ~$60/pp for 6 hours which includes full open bar, tables, linens, chair covers, small centerpieces, plated dinner, appetizers, late night snack, and ceremony.


  • Ours was included in our package, but based on the discount for people under 21, I think it was technically $12 per person for a 5 hour open bar. I'd assume it cost more than that, though, and that the "discount" only took off some of the open bar money.
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  • We paid $88/pp but it included everything (5.5 hours of open bar -1.5hr cocktails and 4hr reception- as well as unlimited bottles of red & white wine on the tables, all of the food, the venue itself, 20% tip for all servers and busboys, etc.).  I'm not sure what percentage of that was spent on alcohol alone.
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    We'll be paying $40pp for top shelf open bar for the entire event.  

  • My venue didn't offer open packages, so we paid the tab. With grat, it was $1,800 for 120 21+ people for five hours of beer, wine and mid shelf liquor.

  • To add an open bar to our package was an additional $10pp/ph. It included everything but shots. Our package included 1 hour so we only had to add 3 more. We had a small wedding (50 people), so the total was $1500.
  • edited December 2013
    Ours wasn't a pp cost or hourly rate. We paid by the bottle so it was more or less consumption based. So they gave us a list of liquors they stocked and the price per bottle. We told them how many we wanted of each and if a bottle didn't get opened, they'd "buy it back" (refund us). There were a few bottles we wanted that weren't on the list (a type of scotch, a bourbon, and a wine that we drank the night we got engaged). Because it wasn't alcohol they stock, they gave us the unopened bottles. All the liquor and wine was top shelf and open bar. We had a light domestic beer and then two craft beers - one from a brewery in my college town and one from a brewery in FI's college town. 

    We had about 175 people and I think our end bar tab ended up being between $5-6K. We were split between heavy drinkers and then folks that have one glass of wine with dinner or don't drink at all. The consumption bar ended up being a good choice for us.

  • Our premium open bar is $90/person after grat and tax for 5 hours. Under 21 is $38/person for 5 hours. Luckily they are letting me count pregnant women as under 21, since table wine is included with dinner anyway, and it's unlikely they will drink more than a glass or so of wine.
  • MrsMack10612MrsMack10612 The Witch City member
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer

    Our open bar with 4 different wines, mid to top shelf liquor (we had a mix), 6 commercial beers nd 2 homebrews on tap for 6 hours for 88 people was $20/pp.

    Our venue allowed us to bring in our own liquor so we had more options than most traditional venues.  Our caterer handled the liquor license & liability.

    Our total pp cost when you count food, cocktail hour, booze and rentals was around $160/pp.  I have no idea what it would be if you add in the favors, centerpieces and what all else.


  • $40 pp for top shelf (that was the only option our venue had), but we nix'd the wine service at the tables as well as a champagne toast.
  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited December 2013
    $36/pp plus tax and 20% service fee. It included top shelf, 5 wines, champagne (at the bar, not a poured toast) and 7 different beers for 5 hours. No table service for alcohol.

    ETA - totally thought this thread was gong to be about someone getting a DUI or sued for contributing to the delinquency of a minor or something :-p
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  • InkdancerInkdancer The Shire member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer

    We went with a package that was $40 per person that included dinner/open bar/cake/DJ/hall rental. Nope, I'm not lying.
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  • We're having a dry wedding so ours is $6 pp of soda, water, iced teas, lemonades, etc. But if we had gone with alcohol it would have been $29 pp for premium, $24 pp for standard and $21 pp for beer and wine. That's all for four hours.
  • msuprincess04msuprincess04 member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    edited December 2013

    $15pp/hr for 4 hours, plus a 15% service charge. I think it worked out to about $7k.

    ETA: Top shelf open bar

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  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I think ours is $35 per person for 6 hours of beer (5 choices), wine (5 choices) and a signature cocktail.  We are hosting a limited bar, not a full open bar. . . that would increase the costs to about $50 per person.

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  • Mine isn't broken down, but ours is $48pp for sit-down meal, dancing, drinking, table numbers, floral pieces throughout (not centerpieces) I imagine the bar is 28 or so based on the food we picked. It included 5 hour reception
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  • We were going to do the open bar package which would cost $35 per person for beer, wine, and call liquor. But after looking at our guest list, we determined we would waste a LOT of money on many guests who wouldn't drink much, if at all - our $35pp charge would put our open bar at around $5,000 +/- - so we are doing it based on consumption and figure we should come in around $3,000 +/-. My fiance's father is also bringing in cases of both our favorite wines and kegs of their favorite beer (the venue does charge a corking fee per bottle), we are hoping the availability of the beer/wine will keep the bar tab down a little (which my father is paying for). A bar on consumption can also go totally ABOVE the projected PP budget, but we are crossing fingers and hoping to stay well under :)
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  • We have two open bar options - regular is $28/person (21+) and high end is $34/person (21+).  We can't decide which one to do yet, and we may also special order some items which would add a bit to that.  That only inlcudes the beer/wine/booze for 4 hours - we get the mixers/nonalcoholic beverages from the caterer for $6/head.  Consumption bar isn't an option (of course).  Sigh.

  • Premium open bar was included in the price per person of my venue for the cocktail hour and the 4 hr reception


  • hoffsehoffse member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 100 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2013
    Unless you have a lot of heavy drinkers, consumption usually costs less than paying a flat rate per person.

    Our total bar tab was about $2700 - this included beer (domestic and some imports we requested), wine, soda, and bottled water. Tap water, iced tea, and coffee were provided in our dinner price.  We had 170 people there.  So we ended up paying about $15/person for drink when all is said and done for a 5 hour reception.  That included the 20% service charge and the 10% tax.

    That said, we had a live band and our wedding guests really like to dance - so a lot of people basically stopped drinking (heavily) when the band started to play.  We spent about $2K on the band.

    So with the band's cost included, it was $27.60/person (with tax and tip) - still less than what a lot of folks quoted.  And we had awesome entertainment.

    Venues sell per head because it usually makes them more money than selling on a consumption basis.  And couples pay for it because they think it will help their budget.  Very often, that's not the case, especially if your guest list is a bit older.  So I would take a look at your guest list and really ask if you have a group of folks who are going to be taking shots all night (ie: your college friends), or if you are likely to have guests consume one or two drinks before being done (older relatives).  If it's the latter, see if you can get consumption.
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  • I should add: if you have the option to bring in your own alcohol, TAKE IT.  Even if it's not all consumed (and it shouldn't be), you will be saving money and you can always return bottles that are unopened if you keep the receipts.

    H and I had very limited venue options due to the location where we got married (small town).  But you had better believe that if we could have provided our own alcohol, we would have done it.
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