How Much Is Open Bar At A Wedding?

How much is an open bar at a wedding? Your costs can vary quite a bit based on the venue and alcohol package you choose. For a full open bar with premium liquors, The Knot puts the average cost at $4,147, while an open bar limited to cheaper spirits averages $2,550.

Open bar wedding cost

  • Most caterers advertise an open bar as unlimited mixed drinks, beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages. From a sample of wedding sites across the U.S., open bar costs typically range from $15 to $90 per person for a four-hour reception. In most cases you can upgrade to premium liquors for $3 or $4 more per person.


How much does it cost to have an open bar?

The best way to estimate this yourself is to look at the typical cost of drinks in your area and estimate that your guests will have two drinks each the first hour and one drink per hour after that. So for a four hour event reception, you’ll average 5 drinks/person.

How much will my wedding bar cost?

Alcohol Budget By using the above rule of thumb of two drinks during the first hour and one drink thereafter per guest, you can assume that the average drink costs you $5. Multiply the cost by the number of guests by the number of hours for your open bar to get the total cost.

How much is alcohol for a wedding of 100?

So to recap, for 100 guests you would need: 70 bottles of wine. 175 bottles of beer. 15 bottles of liquor (750 ml)

Do you pay at an open bar?

To put it simply, hosting an open bar wedding will allow your guests to get as many drinks as they like, at no cost to them. The host pays for the cost of the alcohol, the bartending services, as well as tips.

Does Open bar mean free drinks?

An Open Bar is paid for at an hourly rate in addition to a bartender fee. For a set amount of time and rate (e.g. $20 to $25 for the first two hours), your guests will enjoy unlimited beverages.

Is it cheaper to buy your own alcohol for a wedding?

1. Buy Your Own Booze. Buying booze at your go-to spot is a lot cheaper than purchasing drinks directly through a caterer. If your venue and caterer let you supply your own liquor, wine, and beer, you can hand-select your favorite brands without breaking the bank.

How much alcohol do you need for 100 guests?

How much alcohol do you need for 100 guests? For a 4 hour party with 100 guests, you will need approximately 400 drinks: 160 beers, 144 glasses of wine (29 bottles) and enough for 96 individual cocktails (amounts will depend upon what type of cocktail you serve). If you aren’t serving wine, plan on 240 cocktails.

Who gets a tip at a wedding?

As a general rule, it’s not necessary to tip the owner of the company (which wedding photographers often are), though you could tip $100 or more if you feel so inclined. If there is an assistant, tip the assistant $50 to $75.

How much is a DJ for a wedding?

If you’re considering hiring a DJ to play music at your wedding, keep in mind that the average wedding DJ cost in the U.S. is around $1,000 with most couples spending between $780 to $1,495.

Is it OK to just serve beer and wine at a wedding?

Beer and wine only is fine. It would also work fine to add in one or two signature drinks. But, the formality of the wedding is not just about what guests wear. A “very formal” wedding should really include a full bar.

What does open bar include?

“Your typical open bar should include the basics, 2 or 3 beer choices, 2 or 3 wine choices and your basic liquors such as whiskey, bourbon, vodka, rum, gin, scotch and tequila. Along with your basic mixers such as juices, tonic, club soda, assorted sodas, sweet and sour, and garnishes.

How much alcohol do you buy for a wedding?

As a general rule of thumb, plan to serve one drink per guest per hour of reception. In other words, if you’re having a four-hour reception with 100 guests, provide 400 servings of alcohol.

Who normally pays for wedding?

Traditionally, the bride and her family are responsible for paying for all wedding planning expenses, the bride’s attire, all floral arrangements, transportation on the wedding day, photo and video fees, travel and lodgings for the officiant if he comes from out of town, lodging for the bridesmaids (if you have offered

Having an Open Bar at Your Wedding 101

When it comes to wedding preparation, it’s a harsh fact that food and drink will take up a significant percentage of your entire budget. When it comes to the wedding reception bar, prices may quickly mount up. If you’re offering real Champagne or high-end booze, the sky’s the limit in terms of creativity. Nowadays, almost every wedding includes some variant of an open bar, in which the couple (or whomever is paying for the wedding) is in charge of hosting everything that is served throughout the reception.

What Is an Open Bar?

When the wedding hosts foot the bill rather than the guests, this is referred to as an open bar. It signifies that there are no monetary transactions going place at the bar during that time period. However, according to Kristen Baxter, director of events for Abbey Road Farm in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the concept of a wedding open bar has changed. According to Baxter, a positive trend in the wedding industry is that couples are experimenting with their bars in unconventional ways. Perhaps beer and wine are the best options; perhaps a non-alcoholic wedding is the best option, especially for a daytime event.

Baxter will guide us through all you need to know about having an open bar at your wedding in the next section.

Open Bar Cost

The cost of an open bar is totally dependent on the type of drinks you’re providing. In the event that you’re purchasing a drink package through your caterer—that is, if they’re in charge of all of the food and beverages provided at the wedding—you’ll most likely be offered a price per person. Nonalcoholic beverages, including more upscale ones such as LaCroix or Pellegrino sodas, will be a fraction of the price of alcoholic beverages. Beer, wine, and liquor will all experience increased charges as a result of the rise in price.

  1. The more you’d spend for a drink in a restaurant, the more it will cost to include in your open bar experience.
  2. If your wedding site is more flexible and DIY-oriented, you may be able to save money on your wedding bar by delivering the beverages yourself instead of hiring a professional.
  3. Caterers will often include all of this in the per-head price they charge.
  4. Many caterers will offer some variation of this service so that visitors do not have to bear the financial burden of paying for service.

“It’s certainly not essential, but we do have a tip jar,” adds Baxter of the tip jar. “We’ve had clients ask for them because they want to look after the waitress who’s been looking after them all night,” says the manager. It is entirely up to the hosts to make this decision.

Pros and Cons of an Open Bar

According to Baxter, the majority of couples choose for an open bar because it provides a more enjoyable experience for their guests. As she puts it, “it provides for a more festive atmosphere.” Your family and friends have most likely already spent money on travel, presents, and other expenses, so it’s only decent to offer to host them for the night. The fact that they don’t have to carry their wallets or worry about how many drinks they want to pay for is much appreciated by your visitors. It makes the activities more smooth and fun because you don’t have to worry about any of the details.” Payment for drinks takes time, and because the wedding bar is a popular location, having to pay as you go may result in lengthier queues.

“Of course, the cost of paying for it is the one true disadvantage of having an open bar.”

Modified Open Bars

According to Baxter, the good news is that few wedding guests expect a full bar where they can order any single malt or tequila-tonic they want, and fewer couples are opting for that option. “These days, almost no one has a full-service bar at their wedding,” adds Baxter. In my first several years of working in the sector, full-service bars were far more common. However, in the previous three to five years, we’ve witnessed a significant decrease in that number.” There are several disadvantages to having a full-service bar.

  • The result is a number of bottles with just two shots extracted from them—what do you do with all of that product at the end of the evening?” he explains.
  • That, according to Baxter, is a “clearly observable pattern.” “And more and more individuals are opting out of selling alcoholic beverages altogether, instead creating exciting experiences with juices and sodas.
  • A considerably more cost-effective alternative to stocking a whole liquor cabinet is to stock only the spirits you’ll need for two drinks instead.
  • According to Baxter, “Signature cocktails are also a pretty fantastic opportunity to put your own stamp on the event.” “Customize it to the extreme, and make it uniquely yours.”

Open Bar Weddings: Everything You Need to Know

Wedding expenses have a tendency to add up rapidly, and alcohol may easily become one of your most significant out-of-pocket expenditures. If you’re in the early stages of planning your wedding, you’re definitely asking yourself a lot of questions. Here are some answers. Is it OK to have an open bar at your wedding? Will the guests be prepared for it? Is it within your financial constraints? If you’re having difficulties determining whether or not an open bar wedding is suitable for you, we’ve broken down the advantages and disadvantages to assist you.

Learn what to anticipate from open bar service, as well as the critical questions you should ask potential venues, as well as money-saving strategies for an open bar wedding, among other things.

Should you have an open bar wedding? Here’s everything you need to know:

When it comes to determining if you can afford your dream wedding, we at Wedding Spot are not in the business of informing you. Instead, we’re here to guide you through the process of planning the wedding day of your dreams. As a result, begin by developing a clear picture of the wedding that you and your spouse envision.

First things first, how much alcohol does your dream wedding include?

If you want to obtain an estimate of what your bar prices would be, consider the elements listed below, which will help you determine the amount of alcohol that will be served at your event. 1. Create a drinking routine for yourself.

  • Is it your intention to organize a cocktail hour following the ceremony? Besides supper, would you be offering beverages as well? Only at the welcome desk
  • Do you want any activities to be held without the consumption of alcoholic beverages?

2. Create a detailed description of your ideal celebration.

  • Is your reception a party, an elegant occasion, or a combination of the two in your fantasy? Do you have a theme for your wedding? At a Great Gatsby-themed wedding, your guests will almost certainly expect the bar to be stocked with a variety of libations.

3. Take into consideration your guest list.

  • What is the size of your guest list
  • Who will be in attendance
  • Are you expecting a large number of unruly guests? Will you be serving a more conservative crowd? Do you expect to be required to assist your visitors in “loosening up”?

What’s the difference between an open bar wedding and a cash bar wedding?

Once you’ve established a clear picture of your alcohol requirements, it’s time to consider your bar alternatives. Simply said, having an open bar at your wedding will allow your guests to consume as many beverages as they choose at no additional expense to themselves. The cost of the booze, as well as the bartender services and tips, are covered by the hosting party. A cash bar, on the other hand, works in the same way as any other normal bar, with visitors ordering, paying, and tipping for their own beverages.

Can you have a partially open bar wedding?

In addition, combining an open bar with a cash bar is a fantastic choice for wedding receptions, especially during the cocktail hour. When it comes to overall alcohol sales, hosts can choose to cover a specific percentage of the total, leaving guests liable for any more alcohol they may require. Hosting an open bar for a portion of the ceremony and then switching to a cash bar later in the evening is a common choice among couples planning wedding receptions. Alternatively, you may hold an open bar from 6-8 pm and make it clear that the bartender will be on hand during the whole reception.

No matter the choice you choose, make sure to specify your budgetary limitations as early as possible so that you may choose a bar option that is within your financial constraints.

Are cash bars at weddings tacky?

Combining an open bar with a cash bar is also a fantastic choice for wedding receptions, especially during the reception portion of the event. When it comes to overall alcohol sales, hosts can choose to cover a specific percentage of the total, leaving guests liable for any more alcohol they may need. Hosting an open bar for a portion of the ceremony and then switching to a cash bar later in the evening is a common choice among couples planning their special day. Consider hosting an open bar from 6-8 pm and noting that the bartender will be accessible for the full reception in this situation.

No matter the choice you choose, make sure to specify your financial limitations as early as possible so that you may choose a bar option that is within your budgetary constraints.

What’s the difference between a limited bar and a full bar?

A limited bar offers a restricted bar menu, as the name implies. A restricted bar may simply serve beer and wine, or it may only offer a few different drink alternatives. A complete bar offers a wide selection of beer and wine selections, as well as a comprehensive liquor selection that includes premium cocktails.

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What are the benefits of hosting an open bar wedding?

There are three key advantages to providing an open bar to your visitors. First, it saves you money. For starters, it’s respectful to your guests. Take into mind the amount of time and money your guests have invested in attending your wedding. Have they gone on a wedding trip to a destination location? If that’s the case, they’re also covering the price of travel, lodging, and other fees that arise outside of the event itself. When you send out invitations, make it clear that you understand the time and effort you’re asking for.

  • 2.
  • If your ideal day involves good music, dancing, and lots of laughing, an open bar wedding will help your guests get into the spirit of the celebration.
  • 3.
  • Perhaps the most significant advantage of holding an open bar wedding is that it removes a significant amount of detail work from your plate and out of your hands.

What are the cons of an open bar wedding?

Almost every wedding will have its own set of hurdles to overcome. Make selections that will aid in the manifestation of the larger vision while also meeting your financial constraints. Of course, open bars are always a hit with guests, but think about the potential risks before booking a bartender for your next event. 1. Having a large open bar might result in a large outstanding balance. The last thing you want to do is start your marriage off with a mountain of debt related to your wedding.

  1. If your alcohol budget does not allow for a fully stocked, high-end open bar, don’t press the issue.
  2. 2.
  3. Unfortunately, open bars at weddings are frequently taken advantage of by guests.
  4. It can potentially saddle you with an enormous charge if your contract permits you to keep a tab open indefinitely.
  5. Abundant liquor leads to unanticipated difficulties.

Be aware of the potential problems that might occur as a result of consuming an excessive amount of alcohol. Trying to minimize intake may be more useful in the long term if you have a lot of family turmoil or a bunch of crazy friends.

How expensive is an open bar wedding?

Almost every wedding will have its own set of obstacles to contend with. Consider making selections that will aid in the manifestation of the larger picture while also being mindful of your financial constraints. Of course, open bars are always a hit with guests, but think about the potential problems before booking a bartender for your next event! A large open bar might result in a large amount of unpaid bills. Wedding debt is the last thing you want to deal with when you first get married. Once again, establish a financial plan and adhere to it religiously!

  1. The thought of you sacrificing your financial well-being in order to give them with drinks is not something your loved ones would appreciate.
  2. Unfortunately, open bars at weddings are frequently taken advantage of.
  3. Furthermore, if your contract permits you to keep a tab open, you may be hit with a colossal cost.
  4. Having a boisterous wedding ceremony is not for every couple.
  5. If you have a lot of family conflict or a bunch of crazy friends, it may be more advantageous in the long term to attempt to minimize your use.
  • How many people are expected to attend? It’s reasonable to suppose that the larger your guest list is, the more the cost of your open bar will ultimately be. Many venues and catering firms offer prices based on the number of people in your party. Obtain pricing quotations from a variety of venues and catering businesses to evaluate which per-person price range best suits your needs. Who will be providing the alcoholic beverages for the wedding reception? The cost of running a bar will vary depending on the alcohol source. Catering firms may provide package offers that include both bar service and catering services. If you’re thinking about hiring a caterer, make sure to inquire about their package savings. Depending on the venue, you may be required to purchase alcohol from their service personnel, or you may be permitted to bring your own alcohol or employ an off-site bartender. Setting up a tip jar for the bartender if your venue requires their services may be able to assist you in reducing your out-of-pocket expenses. What kind of drinks will you be providing at your bar? It is very easy for open bars to become extremely expensive very rapidly, especially if high-end spirits are being offered. Custom drinks that contain a high number of components or need a lengthy preparation process will almost certainly be more expensive. Look up any cocktails that you might like to add and find out what the usual bar cost is for each one. In addition, you may anticipate to pay a comparable sum for these beverages at your wedding reception.

How much does an open bar cost per person?

The prices shown below are for open bar service on a per-person basis and are not inclusive of taxes. Keep in mind that based on your location, venue selection, and available catering providers in the region, you may only be able to obtain a few different quotations for beverage service. Prepare for discussions by having a clear idea of appropriate pricing points as well as the facilities that should be offered. Pricing for an appropriate per-person open bar would be as follows:

  • Open bar with limited beer and wine selections: $15-$20 per person
  • Full open bar with limited beer and wine selections: $20-35 per person
  • Full, premium open bar: $35-45 per person

What questions should I ask my venue or catering company?

The devil, as they say, is in the details when it comes to wedding preparation. Your ability to plan, afford, and execute the wedding of your dreams will be enhanced the more information you have at your disposal. When reserving your bar service, be sure to ask the following questions of your venue organizer or catering contact: 1. What is the “consumption rate” (number of beverages consumed per visitor, per hour) that the venue takes into consideration? 2. Does the venue have a “max cap” on alcohol service, which means that service will be terminated after a predetermined tab amount has been reached?

Do they have a set cost for open bar service?

4. Is gratuity included in their pricing or is it an additional charge? Which tax rates, as well as any other additional fees, will be included in the quote? 6. Do they charge a price for the setup and breakdown of the event? 7. Is it possible to charge a different rate for non-drinking guests?

How can I save money on an open bar wedding?

Strike the ideal balance between delivering everything your visitors could possibly ask for while remaining inside your allocated financial constraints.

  • If at all possible, bring your own alcoholic beverages. It’s not possible in many places, but if you don’t have enough cash on hand to cover the cost of a fully stocked bar given by the venue, you may have to be inventive. If you find yourself in this situation, begin your search by looking for venues that accept outside food, alcohol, and vendor setup
  • This will narrow your options. Create creative labels for your products! The replacement of the labels on inexpensive wine or spirit bottles is a terrific technique to save money on liquor budgets that are already tight. Although we do not advise replacing one brand’s label with another, we do encourage you to be creative with your own homemade labels. Make an inexpensive ornamental label and stick it on the top of a cheap bottle of booze with a hilarious picture, slogan, or your wedding hashtag
  • Drink tickets can be used to keep a partially open bar under control. Ensure that each person receives at least two (2) complimentary drink tickets. They will be able to purchase extra beverages if they so choose once they have spent their tickets. Drink tickets are simple to manufacture and distribute, and they give a straightforward method for the bartender to keep track of many tabs.

What should be included in open bar service?

When a venue or catering firm provides bar service, they should offer a diverse selection of beverages. In addition to offering a variety of beer, wine, and spirits, an open bar should also supply glasses or cups, corkscrews, shakers, tongs, bottle openers, ice buckets, garnishes, and napkins for guests to use throughout the event.

How much alcohol is needed for a wedding?

Consider serving one drink per guest per hour as a general rule of thumb for your event. Example: If your reception will last three hours and there will be 100 guests in attendance, you should plan on serving 300 glasses of wine.

Should I add information about bar policies to my wedding website?

It’s better to be cautious than sorry in this situation. Prevent any accidents by being thoughtful and providing your guests with clear directions for activities, venue restrictions, and expectations for different wedding day events well in advance of the big day.

Now you know all there is to know about open bar weddings!

Hopefully, this essay will assist you in making an informed decision on whether or not to have an open bar at your wedding reception or reception. Keep in mind that there is no “correct” solution. Every wedding is unique in its own way. It all comes down to balancing the advantages and disadvantages and making a choice from there. Following that, check out our piece on 33 ways to impress your wedding guests for even more ideas on how to make your wedding guests’ time with you a memorable one.

2021 Open Bar Costs

An open bar indicates that the party host is responsible for all of the alcoholic beverages consumed by their guests. Open bars are prevalent during festivities such as weddings, birthday parties, business events, and other gatherings of friends and family. For a party or wedding reception, the cost of an open bar might run anywhere from $200 to $15,000. Mia withMia’s Martiniin Los Angeles, California, claims to be the first woman to do so “Purchasing an open bar is like to purchasing a Ferrari.

To figure out how much your open bar would cost, consider whether you’re searching for a Hyundai or a Ferrari as a car to drive.” The cost of a project is determined by a multitude of factors.

Who provides the alcohol?

The alcohol can be purchased by the party host, or the bar catering business can purchase the alcohol and include the cost in the final bill total. When the host purchases the alcohol, he or she can purchase it in bulk from warehouses, allowing for significant savings. According to Mia of Mia’s Martini, bar catering firms normally charge per person for alcohol, with the initial price often falling into the low thousands of dollars. In Los Angeles, the typical beginning charge per visitor for an open bar is between $20 and $30.

Beer and wine is not cheaper

“A lot of couples mistakenly believe that restricting a bar’s offerings to beer and wine will make it more affordable, but this is really rather expensive,” explains Mia of Mia’s Martini.

Considering that a $10 bottle of wine serves four drinks and a $20 bottle (1.75 liters) of vodka serves up to 40 drinks, it becomes clear that serving liquor can really save you money. Prices from bartenders in your area may be compared. Zip code must be entered correctly.

Cost of Having an Open Bar at Your Wedding

According to a recent survey, 72 percent of couples are choosing for an open bar at their nuptials, and we intend to follow their lead! On the other hand, we’re curious as to how much an open bar will set us back on our wedding reception. An open bar at your wedding is typically priced at roughly $20 per guest, which is a reasonable price. The average number of wedding guests is 126 attendees*, resulting in a total cost of $2,520 before taxes and fees before the ceremony (service and gratuity).

  • * This is based on the WeddingWire Newlywed Report for 2019.
  • And there are less expensive ways to accomplish this than the one described here.
  • PRO-TIP: If you’re planning on making your own open bar, be sure to get some heavy-duty, rustic stainless steel ice buckets with ice scoops from Amazon (as well as a variety of other equipment) well in advance of the event.
  • If you’re interested in learning more about the greatest DIY bar accessories, you can learn more about them by visiting this page.
  • You may save money on your open bar by serving only beer and wine (rather than hard liquor), for example, rather than hard liquor.
  • Here are some approximate pricing choices for several sorts of open bars, including:
  • Full bar with limited beer selections and house wine (plus soda and juice): $15-$20 per person
  • Restricted beer selections and house wine (plus soda and juice): $20-$35 per person
  • Limited beer selections and house wine (plus soda and juice): $15-$20 per person Full bar with premium brand liquor, domestic and foreign beer selections, and house wine: $35-$40 per person
  • Full bar with premium brand liquor, domestic and imported beer selections, and house wine: $35-$40 per person

Of course, fees and options may vary based on where you choose to have your event. It also depends on where you reside in terms of city or region, since alcohol in New York City would almost certainly be far more expensive than alcohol in a tiny town in a rural location. You should always double-check how open bars are priced before placing a down payment on a space because they vary greatly from one venue to the next. If you don’t, you might end up spending far more money than you anticipated to have the open bar that you desired.

  1. Personally, I prefer a flat charge, but if you have a large number of visitors who you believe will not consume much alcohol, a consumption rate may wind up being more cost-effective for you in the long run.
  2. Inquire whether they can provide you with a calculation, such as 2.5 drinks per person at $6.00 each beverage.
  3. When you have a consumption rate, you can mentally exclude any non-drinkers, pregnant ladies, and other undesirable guests from your guest list and get a good indication of how much it will cost you overall.
  4. You might inform them of this in your pre-wedding contact so that they are aware of the need to bring cash to the wedding.
  5. Check with your venue to find out how much they charge for each tier of alcoholic beverages (limited and open bar).
  6. For example, a flat rate of $20 per person is acceptable.
  7. There are several locations that charge a fixed amount for each participant PER HOUR.

Another venue may charge you $20 per person until a specific hour, and then $5 for each additional hour after that, depending on the circumstances.

For the whole wedding night, that comes out to $95 per person, for a grand total of $11,970 (based on the 2019 wedding guest average of 126 people).

When you’re calculating and budgeting for an open bar, there are other charges that you might not consider at first glance.

For the bartenders, how much gratuity (tips) and service fee do you expect them to receive?

If you don’t plan ahead, you might find yourself with hundreds of dollars added to your bar tab, which will be everything but enjoyable.

If you have estimated $20 per person for 126 guests, you would need to spend an additional $756 (in the case of 15 percent taxes and fees) for a total of $3,276.

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The quantity of bartenders you’ll require is determined by the number of people attending your event.

Don’t be afraid to inquire about these additional expenses (as well as any other fees) that the venue may tack on to your final invoice.

Certain goods should be included in your open bar flat cost or per head price if your venue offers an open bar. If you’re hosting an open bar, make sure the following elements are covered in your contract:

  • Cocktail napkins
  • Garnishes
  • Corkscrews
  • Bottle openers
  • Shakers
  • Ice
  • Ice tongs or scoop
  • Coolers
  • Ice buckets
  • Rags
  • Cocktail napkins

If these costs appear to be out of reach for your budget, don’t give up hope! There are a variety of options for saving money on an open bar at your wedding reception. It is possible for you to take some of the following actions:

  1. Inquire as to whether you are permitted to bring your own booze. Some establishments permit you to bring your own alcoholic beverages and even your own bartender (s). If this is the case, you may be required to obtain an alcohol permit
  2. Be sure to inquire with your venue about this. With this option, you may choose low-cost alcohol on your own, perhaps from a wholesaler, and even purchase a keg of beer. Another advantage is that you can often RETURN unopened bottles and get your money back, which is a nice bonus. Replace the labels with new ones. If you have the ability to purchase your own booze, use this trick: Someone told me of a couple who spent their wedding budget on bottom-shelf wine and then customized the labels so that they would not appear cheap to their guests and the bottles would look cute and match their wedding theme. Create a limited-service bar using drink tickets. Offer your visitors 2-3 drink tickets apiece, after which they will be responsible for any more drinks. People who don’t drink can donate their tickets to others who wish to consume more alcohol during the event. Inquire as to whether you can exclude any visitors who do not consume alcohol. If your venue charges you a fixed payment per visitor, inquire as to if you may omit pregnant guests, children under the age of majority, or anybody else who is not or will not be drinking. It’s a question worth asking

If your venue enables you to bring your own booze, make sure you prepare ahead of time to ensure that you have enough for every guest throughout the night. Consider purchasing from a location that will let you to return whatever you don’t consume, and you’ll be in business! Listed below are some basic ideas for what to purchase, but keep in mind that kegs are always an option, especially for less formal, outdoor weddings. In the calculator onWoman Getting Married(Source), for guest lists of 100 and 150 people, the following criteria are provided, which I believe to be quite accurate estimates: 100 GUESTS ARE INVITED TO AN OPEN BAR: 70 bottles of wine were consumed.

  1. 15 bottles of alcoholic beverages (750 ml) 20 bottles of champagne will be served as a toast (optional) 105 bottles of wine are available for 150 guests at the open bar.
  2. 22 bottles of liquor (750 mL) and 30 bottles of champagne for toasting are required (optional) Even if you are unable to afford an open bar, there is always a cash bar available.
  3. Furthermore, it appears that cash bars are far more popular in Canada than they are in the United States, which is most likely related to the greater cost of alcohol in Canada.
  4. If you want to put up a toonie bar and call it a day, I understand your urge!


**Disclaimer** These are not our rates; rather, they are figures that we have acquired from the credible sources that have been referenced.

  • According to the Bridal Association of America, the average number of guests at wedding receptions is 170, with the average cost of a bartender being $2,800. This means that for every guest, $16.50 is deducted from the price the bartender collects. Wine and nonalcoholic beverages, which are popular at endless bars, are a terrific way to save money on your trip. It costs an average of $15 to $90 per person for a four-hour reception, with quality liquor costing an additional $3 to $4 per person. It is recommended that only wine and beer be offered in order to conserve money. This lowers the average cost per person to $11 to $33 depending on the caterer, the wine and beer provided, and the number of guests attending. The cost of an open bar may double or treble in price in major cities, as is often the case with everything economically-motivated. Some visitors bring their own beverages in order to save money, while others get their relatives or friends to operate the bar in order to save money. We recommend two glasses of wine per person for dinner. Guests would pay an average of $2 per bottle of wine less than $15 per bottle for wines priced less than $15 per bottle, with costs reaching as high as $20. If you are bringing in your own beers, whether imported or domestic, plan on spending $2 to $5 per person on average. The cost of preparing mixed cocktails varies from one location to another, as well as depending on the kind and grade of liquor used.

What information should be included?

  • In an open bar, the sorts of drinks and mixers that should be available include anything from vodka to scotch to light rum to Seagram’s 7, tequila, domestic and imported beers to white and red wine, soft drinks to water and juice
  • The list goes on and on. We anticipate that a single bartender will have the capability of serving up to 100 people, which is slightly more than the usual acceptable bartender to guest ratio. At the celebration, there should be glasses and napkins available. After the celebration, it is recommended that cleaning services be hired.

Additional expenses include:

  • Caterers charge between $30 and $200 per bartender for each event, depending on the size of the group. In certain cases, the price is included in the guest charge
  • However, most caterers prefer hourly rates for their bartenders. This might cost around $25 per hour. This might be included in the setup charge
  • However, it is not guaranteed. Plan on tipping the head bartender somewhere between 10 percent and 20 percent of the entire alcohol cost. He or she, on their own, would know how to divide the money among the other bartenders in the most equitable manner. There are instances in which bartenders place a tip jar on the bar counter, where clients can tip whenever they choose
  • If you bring the wine, bartenders will charge you anything from $1 to $15 per bottle as a corking fee. When you deliver a six-pack of beer, some bartenders levy a service fee of between $1 to $5 per six-pack. Instead of using disposable cups, spend an additional $3-5 per person to use glassware.


  • To save money, limit your bar’s selection to a specific type of liquor
  • A trademark cocktail would be ideal for this.

When looking for an open bar, keep the following things in mind:

  • Before you engage a caterer, find out if an open bar is included in the offered fee from the caterer. Also inquire as to whether you will be able to offer your own booze and whether this will have an impact on the advertised price. Inquire about the liability insurance coverage provided by the bartenders who will be serving at your event before you sign the contract.


Given the wide range of requirements for bartending special events, ranging from weddings to birthday parties, we ask that you contact us so that we may get to know you and discuss what you want from a bartender. We will respond as soon as possible. This will let us to offer you with an exact estimate on the cost of bartending your big day! Give us a call at (619) 206-7247 or fill out the contact form on this page, and we will get back to you within 48 hours.

How Much Does an Open Bar Cost at Weddings?

You want your wedding reception to be the most talked-about event of the year, but you don’t want to break the bank in the process. The idea of having an open bar seems like a fantastic idea, but how much does an open bar cost?

Not to be concerned. We have the answers to all of your wedding planning questions right here. Continue reading to learn about all of the elements to consider when selecting an open bar – as well as some tips and tactics for saving costs without cutting too many corners.

What is an Open Bar?

An open bar is just a term that refers to the fact that the host pays for all of the drinks. Having an open bar is common at occasions such as weddings, birthday celebrations, and business and charity functions. You’ll frequently see this in contrast to a cash bar or a no-frills wedding. If you want to offer alcoholic beverages at your event, an open bar is a wonderful way to be a gracious host and express your appreciation to your guests for coming. So, how much does a free open bar truly set you back financially?

Average Cost of an Open Bar at Weddings

There is a wide range of prices for serving alcohol at weddings, ranging from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands. We do, however, have an idea of what the typical cost will be. According to a poll conducted by The Knot in 2018, the average cost of an open bar at a wedding is around $2,500. Taxes and duties are normally included in the price, which amounts to little more than $3,000. For some couples, $3,000 is an acceptable fee to pay in exchange for the pleasure of having their guests drink for free during their wedding.

Factors That Affect the Cost

Couples have a plethora of alternatives to select from, all of which can have an impact on the overall cost of their wedding and bar services.

Number of Guests

The amount of individuals that attend your wedding on the day of the event is the most important aspect that influences practically every other expense you will incur. The overall number of guests will have an impact on items like:

  • Alcohol expenses
  • Catering costs
  • Venue costs
  • Equipment costs (such as tables, chairs, and linens)
  • Party favors
  • And other fees.

When it comes to an open bar, the bigger the number of persons who consume alcohol, the higher the total bar cost. The number of people in your group affects whether you are purchasing wine and beer in quantity or paying a bar or venue to serve alcohol. A set pricing per guest can apply depending on the package that you choose for your wedding bar. The typical cost of the bar at a wedding will be $20 per person, on average. The average number of wedding guests is 126, thus you would have to spend $2,520 to have a wedding.

Price per head is also determined by the grade of alcoholic drinks served and the cost of the location used to host your event.

Who Provides the Alcohol?

Whether you want merely beer and wine or hard liquor for mixed cocktails, there are a variety of options for getting your booze delivered to you.

  • You are responsible for all of the purchases. It is provided by a professional bar service
  • It is provided by your caterer
  • It is provided by the venue

The quickest and most straightforward approach to save money is to purchase all of the booze yourself. You may save money by purchasing in bulk from a warehouse. Make certain, however, that your contract with the venue or caterer does not include a commitment to employ their bar services. In the event that you want to have someone else serve the beverages for you, the payment will be a flat price per person.

Type of Alcohol

Consider the kind of drinks you’re offering when determining how much money you’ll save. If you and your guests enjoy high-end liquors, you can expect to pay a premium for the choices available. However, if the quality or brand of liquor isn’t that important to you, you may save money by purchasing less expensive booze. An inexpensive $30 bottle of gin that can create 40 gin and tonics can save you a significant amount of money compared to an expensive $150 bottle of gin that serves the same quantity.

Many couples believe that providing solely beer, wine, and champagne will be the most cost-effective option, but this is not necessarily true.

If you buy a bottle of liquor rather than a bottle of wine, you’ll have more beverages served per bottle of liquor. While a $20 bottle of vodka may be used to produce a large number of cocktails, the same amount of wine can only be used to make a few glasses of wine.


As previously said, the pricing might also vary based on the laws and regulations in place at your location. Many venues have agreements with food providers and will only let you to employ certain firms if you do so. Other locations provide their own bar services, with varying levels of cost. A venue will normally charge you in one of two ways: first, by the hour, and second, by the day.

  • If you want to charge per consumption, the caterer will offer beverages during the evening and then send you a bill detailing exactly how much your guests consumed.
  • Flat Charge: A flat rate will be agreed upon before to the wedding and will often be based on the number of guests attending. Example: If you have 150 individuals in your group, the venue may opt to charge you $20 per person. The set charge will be $3,000 regardless of how many people turn up and consume alcohol

Paying by consumption is almost often the most costly option available. If you have a large number of visitors who do not drink, you may be able to save money by using a “per drink” pricing scheme. If you know that the majority of your guests will be drinking and you want to know your budget up front, a flat cost is a good option. You should also inquire about licensing with your chosen location. Others will need the caterer or bar operator to bring their own liquor license, but some venues will already have one in place.

Bartender Costs

Bartenders are required for the safe operation of an open bar. They mix and serve the cocktails, keep the cups clean, and watch out for anyone who could get into trouble with a bottle of tequila. Prices for bartenders vary from state to state and depending on the bartender’s level of experience. In the United States, the average hourly wage for a bartender is $40. If your event lasts less than 2-3 hours, you may be able to pay a flat price. Do not forget to thank bartenders for their assistance – it is difficult to provide mixed cocktails at large parties for extended periods of time.

Limited Bar or Full Bar

Some folks will provide what’s known as a “restricted bar” in order to accommodate a limited budget. This implies that the alcoholic beverages are covered by the hosts, but the selection is, shall we say, limited. For example, you might just serve beer and wine. Choose from beer, wine, and a specialty cocktail or champagne, among other options. You can save your changes after spinning this option a number of times. A restricted bar is a fantastic alternative that, in most cases, does not interfere with the visitors’ enjoyment of the evening.

A full bar, on the other hand, indicates that guests may order whatever drink they want during the wedding reception, which is the polar opposite of a limited bar.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to the question “How much does an open bar cost?” there is no clear answer.

However, in general, you may customize a wide range of alternatives to find the best suit for your wedding. It is possible that this website contains affiliate links. In the event that you follow the link and make a purchase, we will get a small commission at no additional cost to you.

How Much Is an Open Bar at a Wedding: 7 Tight-Budget Tips

In the case of an open bar, the wedding hosts will cover all of the expenses. Open bars were once considered a fad, but they have now become a necessity at most wedding celebrations. If you want to provide your guests with a more memorable experience, having one at your wedding reception is a great option. The cost of an open bar ranges from $1,650 to $3,450 (or $11 to $23 per person) for four hours if you have a total of 150 people and serve only a restricted selection of beverages. If you want to provide a variety of alcoholic beverages (beer, whiskey, gin, tequila, brandy, rum, vodka, and so forth), the typical beginning charge per person would be between $15 and $90 ($2,250 to $13,500), depending on how many people you have.

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The total budget is the most important consideration for the wedding hosts and wedding planners to keep in mind.

Average Cost of an Open Bar at a Wedding

In many cultures, alcoholic beverages are served during wedding celebrations as a standard practice. As a result, many couples choose for open bars, despite the fact that it is a very expensive way to pamper their guests. As previously stated, there are a variety of elements that influence the overall cost of an open bar. The cost of beverages may be divided into three categories based on the choices available: low-cost, mid-range, and high-priced options.

Low-Range Open Bars

Traditional wedding receptions lasting four hours on average will cost between $11 and $23 per person for an open bar, and that is only for traditional wedding receptions. It is important to note that the selection of beverages available for this category is limited (e.g., wine and beer only). In the case of a 150-person gathering, the estimated cost would be between $1,650 and $3,450.

Mid-Range Open Bars

A better assortment of alcoholic beverages (e.g., tequila, whiskey, brandy, rum, vodka, gin, and so on) is available at a mid-range open bar than at a high-end open bar. The estimated cost per person ranges from $15 to $90, depending on their location. There are a variety of prices available for a total of 150 guests ranging from $2,250 to $13,500. If you choose to have an open bar, you may also give non-alcoholic beverages to your guests.

High-Cost Open Bars

The variety of alcoholic beverages available at a mid-range open bar is often more extensive (e.g., tequila, whiskey, brandy, rum, vodka, gin, and so on). According to the estimates, each person will pay between $15 and $90. In order to accommodate a total of 150 people, the cost ranges from $2,250 up to $13,500. If you choose to have an open bar, you may also provide non-alcoholic beverages to guests.

7 Tight-Budget Tips to Get the Open Bar of Your Choice

To keep the total cost of the open bar down, you might opt to buy alcohol in bulk rather than individually. Purchasing the booze yourself (ideally in warehouses where you can receive a discount) will allow you to save even more money on your trip.

Remember that bars and nightclubs generally charge per consumption (an average of $20 to $30 per attendee). It’s even better if you can purchase alcoholic beverages from a retailer that has a refund policy for items that have not been opened.

2. Decide on the Selection of Alcohol

Knowing the typical serving size per bottle can help you determine how many bottles of each beverage you will need to serve all of the attendees at your event. When it comes to wine, a bottle can fill five glasses, but a bottle of champagne can fill eight glasses. A bottle of whiskey may fill up to 18 glasses, whereas a bottle of beer can serve a single individual. Now that you’ve gotten a sense of the serving size per bottle, you can use the list from earlier to get a good idea of how many bottles you’ll need for your wedding reception.

Drink of Choice No. of Bottles for 100 Guests No. of Bottles for 150 Guests
Wine 70 105
Beer 175 266
Liquor 15 22
Champagne 20 30

3. Choose Between Flat-Rate Pricing or Billing by Consumption

For open bars, you may pick between a package with flat-rate pricing or a consumption-based pricing structure. In the former, there is a set rate for each adult visitor for a predetermined period of time (can be per hour or the whole duration of the wedding reception). If you already have a final guest list prepared and are unfamiliar with the drinking habits of your guests, flat-rate pricing is a preferable alternative. Bar caterers typically charge on a per-person basis. Billing by consumption, on the other hand, means that you will be charged depending on the number of beverages that each visitor consumes.

4. Determine What Type of Open Bar You Want

There are several varieties of open bars. One of these options is a Beer and Wine Open Bar, which is ideal for daytime weddings and receptions. You may also choose to provide limitless beer and wine as an alternative to liquor because they are less expensive than liquor.

Signature Cocktail Open Bar

In terms of open bars, there are several options. One of these options is a Beer and Wine Open Bar, which is ideal for daytime weddings and other gatherings. Furthermore, because beer and wine are less expensive than liquor, you can choose to provide limitless servings of such beverages.

Limited Open Bar

An open bar at a wedding reception that lasts longer than the typical four hours might be detrimental to your financial situation. If you anticipate that your wedding reception will go for an extended period of time, a restricted open bar is an excellent option. An open bar with a time limit means that attendees will only be able to consume alcoholic drinks for a set amount of time (e.g., first two or three hours of the reception or during the last segment).

5. Consider the Venue

You may find yourself with a heavy financial burden if your wedding reception lasts longer than the typical four hours. If you anticipate that your wedding reception will go for a longer period of time, a restricted open bar is an excellent option. An open bar with a time limit means that attendees will only be able to consume alcoholic drinks for a specific amount of time (e.g., first two or three hours of the reception or during the last segment).

6. Compare Rates from Different Bar Caterers

The most cost-effective method to have an open bar on a tight budget is to compare costs from several bar caterers. The selection of alcoholic beverages, the number of attendees, the length of the event, the location of the venue, and the price for the bartender are all elements that influence the entire cost of the wedding reception. If you hire a bar catering business to host the open bar, the cost of the bartender will almost certainly be included in the package price of the event.

You must make certain that the bartender is covered by liability insurance. It’s important to note that if the bar catering business or the venue does not supply a bartender, you can hire one.

7. Coordinate with the Bartender

One tip for keeping an open bar at a wedding reception on a tight budget is to instruct the bartender to fill only half of each glass with alcohol. The bartender should also be aware of when it is appropriate to cease providing more beverages to visitors who are intoxicated.

Some Open Bar Alternatives

If an open bar is out of your price range, there are a variety of different options to consider. A decent bottle of wine for each table of 5 or 6 people can be provided instead of an open bar. You will save a significant amount of money if you choose this option. One bottle of wine may fill up to five glasses of water, according to the manufacturer. It is recommended that two to three bottles be served each table with 5 to 6 people. The following is a list of some excellent but reasonably priced wines.

The A to Z Chardonnay is $20.99; the J Vineyards California Pinot Gris 2019 is $15.99; the Cupcake Vineyards Prosecco Rosé is $11.99.

$8.99La Vieille Ferme Rosé 2018$7.99Beringer Founders’ Estate Pinot Noir$6.9Beringer Founders’ Estate Pinot Noir

Cash Bar

Guests at a cash bar can pick from a choice of alcoholic beverages (ranging from inexpensive to expensive), but they must pay for everything they consume. If you’re working with a limited budget, a cash bar is your best bet. If the majority of your guests do not consume alcoholic beverages, you may want to choose this style of bar. However, it is important to emphasize that this is the less welcoming of the two possibilities. The guests have invested their time and money to travel to your wedding and to offer you a present in exchange for their attendance.

Self-Service Bar

If you have the luxury of more preparation time, a self-service bar might be a more cost-effective option to an open bar. It is customary for party hosts to stock their favorite drink and allow visitors to serve themselves at a self-service bar. If you’re planning a smaller, more intimate wedding, this is the perfect option. Creating self-service bars has been a popular trend in DIY weddings; but, like with everything DIY, self-service bars need extra time and planning. You must consider where you will set up the bar, who will be in charge of making sure the bar doesn’t run out of drinks, ice, glasses, and other supplies, and what beverages you will offer.

Dry Wedding

If alcohol is not a prominent part of your culture or custom, having a dry wedding is the greatest option available to you. Hosting one will help you save a substantial amount of money on the entire cost of your wedding. You must, however, guarantee that your guests are aware of the fact that you will be conducting a dry wedding by including a note in your invitation stating that you will be hosting a dry wedding. It is possible to keep the audience entertained even if there is no alcohol present by providing them interesting or tasty beverages such as fresh fruit shakes, mocktails, or even bubble tea.

Aside from the beverages of your choosing, you should also pay attention to the food options available. You may also organize additional activities to ensure that you and your guests have a memorable and enjoyable time at the celebration.

Other Costs You Need to Consider

You should always check to see if you have liability insurance before opening a bar, no matter what sort of establishment you decide to open. Most venues and bar caterers are insured by liability insurance, and this protection extends to you as a customer. Make sure to check with the venue’s employees or the bar catering provider about this before proceeding.

Corkage Fee

If you choose a self-service bar or any other DIY bar, you will be required to pay a corkage fee, which is charged per drink or per person served. The amount charged is determined by the prices set out by the venue’s staff. It’s advisable to completely study the contract before agreeing to their terms and conditions.

Physical Bar

Some establishments do not have a physical bar in the traditional sense. You may either hire one from a bar catering business or make one yourself if you are resourceful enough to do so.

Tip for Bartenders

If the bar package or contract does not contain a gratuity or service fee, you are just required to pay the bartenders in this situation. Ideally, a gratuity of 15-20 percent of the whole bill is appropriate in such situations. Tipping is not required in any other circumstances.

Final Thoughts

Full-service open bars are much more expensive than other types of bars, such as self-service bars or cash bars, which are more affordable alternatives. Your wedding reception does not necessarily require an open bar, despite the fact that many couples prefer to do so. Still, if you want to save money while also pleasing your wedding guests, you may go for a middle-of-the-road alternative and hold a modified open bar instead.

How Much Does an Open Bar Cost?

Low: BeerWine $11-$33 per person Medium: Mixed Drinks $15-$90 per person High: Premium Liquor $18-$95 per person
  • According to the Bridal Association of America, the average cost of bartender service for a wedding reception is $2,800. The average number of visitors is 170, resulting in a cost of $16.50 per person. The majority of caterers promote an open bar that includes limitless mixed drinks, beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages, among other things. According to a survey of wedding venues across the United States, open bar charges for a four-hour reception generally run from $15 to $90 per guest. Most of the time, you may upgrade to premium liquors for an additional $3 or $4 per person. Serving simply beer and wine can save you money with most caterers, who normally charge between $11 and $33 per person for four hours of service. In large cities and resort locations, the cost of an open bar might treble or triple
  • Some clients save money by bringing their own wine and asking friends and family to handle the bar. In addition to two glasses per visitor with dinner, Super Weddings recommends two glasses per guest with dessert, with some wines under $5 a bottle
  • Expenses start at $2 per guest and can quickly climb to $20 per guest, depending on your decision
  • If you are bringing your own domestic and international beers, plan on spending $2 to $5 per guest for each hour that the reception will be open. According to the types and grade of liquors used in generating mixed drinks, the cost of manufacturing mixed drinks might vary significantly.

Related articles:Wedding Caterer,Champagne Toast,Espresso Cart Rental,Wedding Reception Venue What should be included:

  • Cocktails available at an open bar that include mixed drinks, wine, and beer may include the following: vodka, gin, scotch, light rum, bourbon, Seagram’s 7, tequila, white and red wines, champagne, domestic and international beers, soft drinks, water, and juice. If there are 100 visitors, there should be at least one bartender present to serve them. There should be cups and napkins on hand, as well as assistance with setup and cleanup following the reception.
  • Caterers frequently charge a setup fee ranging from $30 to $200 each bartender who will be staffing the event. Although sometimes included in the per-guest price, many caterers demand you to pay an hourly fee for the bartender, which is typically approximately $25 per hour. It is possible that this will be included in the setup price. In the absence of gratuity being included in your total prices, you should count on tipping the head bartender 10 percent to 20 percent of the entire alcohol bill, which will be distributed across all bar personnel. Additionally, some bartenders may place a tip jar on the bar counter, where visitors can opt to leave a $1 tip each drink. If you’re bringing your own wine, many caterers impose a per-bottle corking cost that ranges from $1 to $15 per bottle. Bartenders may charge you between $1 and $5 in service fees for each six-pack of beer that you furnish. Expect to pay $2 more per person if you want to use glasses instead of disposable cups.
  • Inquire about restricting your bar to specific liquors or a trademark drink, which might help you save money.
  • When looking for a caterer, make sure to inquire about if an open bar is included in the offered fee. Inquire as to whether bringing your own alcohol is permitted
  • Bartenders should be insured by liability insurance, as well. Before signing a contract, request to see proof of insurance coverage. The Knot offers advice on how to stock your own open bar, including suggested quantities.
CostHelper News What People Are Paying – Recent Comments
Posted by:a user in Cape Cod, MA. Posted:December 21st, 2017 12:12PM
Number of people:200 Type of Drinks Served:Full Bar

From a Beverage Catering Service – Picked Premium liquors but not top shelf. Averaged out to be about $37.5 a head.

Posted by:a user in Los Angeles, CA. Posted:July 29th, 2016 01:07PM
Number of people:150 Type of Drinks Served:

Most venues charge around $75 per person for a three hour open bar – $15 – $20 per hour after that External Resources:

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