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Am I Crazy??

My fiance and I are having a destination wedding in Hawaii. Our ceremony and reception are taking place at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel on Oahu. In all honesty we are getting a great deal for our wedding at this hotel. And we are very happy with our decision to have our big day at this hotel. But, I am having a dilemma with the cost for an open bar. Since the majority of our guests will be travelling to Hawaii for our celebration we want to have an open bar. We both agree with not having our guests pay for their alcohol at our wedding. The issue is that I really feel as though the bar package pricing for an open bar at this hotel is outrageous!! I wanted to find out if I wasn't taking into consideration the location of the wedding, which could be why the cost is soooo high. I want to make sure this is a typical cost in Hawaii for an open bar! 

The hotel's open bar package is for $25 per person, per hour. So we are essentially talking $100 per person for a 4 hour wedding, just for the bar. And the alcohol is well liquor only (plus wine and beer options). I needed clarification on this price with the wedding planner I am in discussions with and she ended up knocking the price to $25 per person for the first 2 hours, and then $15 per person for the last 2 hours. Now we are talking $80 per person for four hours of open bar. Is this really high?! What kind of leverage would I have in attempting to negotiate this price down?? I mean, that is a lot of money per person for well liquor only (in my opinion). I mean I have a friend who is getting married in Boca Raton, FL at a very ritzy country club and for premium liquor their open bar cost will be $45 per person. Am I crazy? Is anyone else having any issues like this for a destination wedding? HELP, PLEASE!!! I NEED ADVISE! 

Re: Am I Crazy??

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Islands tend to be prices because 90+% of their products have to be shipped in to the islands.   You will find milk in HI costs upwards of $7 per gallon.   Price you pay for living in paradise.


    Still I find that price to be on the high end.   All you can do is negotiate and hope for the best.  Ask about limiting the options to a few to see if they can get the price down a little more.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    melbelleup
  • JCbride2015JCbride2015 Dirty Jerz member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer

    My fiance and I are having a destination wedding in Hawaii. Our ceremony and reception are taking place at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel on Oahu. In all honesty we are getting a great deal for our wedding at this hotel. And we are very happy with our decision to have our big day at this hotel. But, I am having a dilemma with the cost for an open bar. Since the majority of our guests will be travelling to Hawaii for our celebration we want to have an open bar. We both agree with not having our guests pay for their alcohol at our wedding. The issue is that I really feel as though the bar package pricing for an open bar at this hotel is outrageous!! I wanted to find out if I wasn't taking into consideration the location of the wedding, which could be why the cost is soooo high. I want to make sure this is a typical cost in Hawaii for an open bar! 

    The hotel's open bar package is for $25 per person, per hour. So we are essentially talking $100 per person for a 4 hour wedding, just for the bar. And the alcohol is well liquor only (plus wine and beer options). I needed clarification on this price with the wedding planner I am in discussions with and she ended up knocking the price to $25 per person for the first 2 hours, and then $15 per person for the last 2 hours. Now we are talking $80 per person for four hours of open bar. Is this really high?! What kind of leverage would I have in attempting to negotiate this price down?? I mean, that is a lot of money per person for well liquor only (in my opinion). I mean I have a friend who is getting married in Boca Raton, FL at a very ritzy country club and for premium liquor their open bar cost will be $45 per person. Am I crazy? Is anyone else having any issues like this for a destination wedding? HELP, PLEASE!!! I NEED ADVISE! 
    Hmm.  That actually does sound really high for an open bar.  And I'm used to NYC drink prices.

    Can you ask for a consumption bar?  Can you threaten to take the whole wedding elsewhere?  Can you ask them to make it top shelf (which I think would still be overpriced)?  What about offering just beer and wine if it's that important you cut costs?

    And to the bolded: thank you.  I was worried this thread was heading toward a cash bar.  THANK YOU.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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    "I'm not a rude bitch.  I'm ten rude bitches in a large coat."

    melbelleup
  • sarahuflsarahufl New York member
    Tenth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    haha, yes- I was thinking cash bar, too. What a relief!

    I, too, am used to NYC drink prices and agree that the 80 bucks pp is high. Especially considering that I really appreciate an open bar, but I honestly drink 1 or 2 drinks just because I am not a big drinker. I can't imagine my glass of wine costing 40 bucks!
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  • I would ask about doing wine on the tables for the first 2 hours/during dinner (assuming you're serving dinner), and then open bar for the rest.

    Alternatively, if you're doing hors d'oeuvres or want another option, you could do consumption-based, or negotiate open for the first two hours and consumption after that.


    image
  • WinstonsGirlWinstonsGirl The Cold North member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I got married at the Outrigger on the Reef next door.  We paid per consumption, but slushy drinks were $8 (I think) plus tax and tip.  4% tax and 18% tip, I believe, but it's been a while.  Hawaii is expensive as they have to boat everything in , so you're going to be paying for that cost too.  Is this price including your tax and tip, and that is why it's higher??  

    As for open bar, it's not very polite to have guests pay at the reception, and asking people to pay to fly to Hawaii and pay for their drinks on top of it is even worse in my opinion.  I hope you can find a way around the bar costs.  Keep looking at options with your coordinator.  Good luck!!

  • drinks in Hawaii are expensive as is (as other PPs pointed out).  That is A LOT to pay for open bar.  Do they have an option for Beer & Wine only or a signature drink instead of full open bar?  As long as you host something you are good to go.  But yes, as a guest if I paid money to go to your destination wedding and there was nothing hosted I'd be pretty judgy!
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    Anniversary
  • Ask about a consumption bar, or switch to beer, wine and a signature drink. 

    Have you talked to other venues on the island about their bar options, just to compare?  Are any of your vendors familiar with the venue?  One of our vendors actually work with our venue often enough, she gave us tips on negotiating with the venue. If you can't negotiate the bar, can you negotiate other aspects of your package?

    I agree with PPs, I've been to Hawaii twice.  Just the flights, hotel costs, and traveling time is ridiculously, esp flying from east coast. I would side-eye you if I had to pay for drinks at your reception after all that.  And I don't side-eye often.
  • Thank you so much ladies for your input. I am going to absolutely look into a consumption based bar. That does seem like the most logical option at the moment. 

    There was one thing going into this wedding that my fiance and I won't budge on, which is not allowing guests to pay for drinks. It would be absurd of us to expect that. And knowing how I would feel (if I were a guest at my own wedding), I wouldn't be happy one bit!! 

    Thank you!! :) 
    WinstonsGirl
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