Skip to comments.After wedding, is bar package or by-the-drink better?
Posted on 01/17/2012 10:56:01 AM PST by Former MSM Viewer
Anyone have experience with open bar package of drinks vs by-the-drink for a reception?
Perhaps we are related if this also seems common for you.
“The usual fistfights and gunplay so common at weddings.” We have a lot of knife fights at the weddings in our family. The fistfights and gunfights usually happen at the baptisms or Bar Mitzvahs, depending on which side of the family is having the ceremony.
At my daughters wedding we had two bottles of wine at each table for dinner and a cash bar.
Just don’t over do. (I know easier said than done)
Ours was open bar. I didn’t want to look cheap and I could afford it. There’s always someone who misbehaves. It makes the evening more memorable.
If you are going to pay the tab either way, open bar gives you a known set price. If you are going to pick up the tab anyway, and have them charge you by the drink you have no idea what your bar tab may be. You may wind up under the open bar price, or you may wind up way over it.
Lets face it, at the end of the day how do you prove they didn’t give out 500 drinks? Lot of room for some padding and fraud if you are paying the tab by the drink.
Are you the owner of the hall, or the party renting it?
My parents died fairly young and left us with 20 years’ worth of unopened Christmas liquor presents. So my bride and I decided to get rid of it with an open bar. My friend offered to bartend for free. Everything went great until he got so drunk he puked. Then he disappeared. But he eventually came back and closed out the program, for a final score of 6.8. The wedding was held in my backyard. We skipped the tent. It didn’t rain. We had fun, and saved a lot of dough. I’m glad my wife went along with it. I tell my girls, when the time comes, I’m providing a tent AND a keg.
Bar package. For my wedding I also demanded that there be no tip jar on the bar. My parents were automatically billed 18% gratuity as part of the overall cost, so I didn’t think it right that our guests be guilted into a tip. The guy argued but I won. If you decide to go by-the-drink, ask the bartenders to keep all empty bottles. This helps assure that they are not charging you for drinks never purchased.
You mean you didn’t agree to the price of the open bar beforehand? Oops.
At my wedding (which was full of fratboys), we made up every dime and them some of what was paid for that open bar.
I have seen it done with open bar for a limited amount of time, such as, until the guests sit down to eat, and cash thereafter. This way each person has a chance to get a drink or 2, but presumably cuts back for later into the event. If you do this, just before there is sufficient bar staff that the lines are not too long. Another option is the host paying for beer and wine (not limited) but not for mixed drinks.
before = be sure
Peyote was the budget killer at my wedding.
I went to one of those open bar things once, but darned if I can remember how it went......../S
I am struggling with this question myself. Our Marine son is getting married in May. A lot of her family are Baptists and then there are his friends.....Marines..... and the guys that are not Marines can certainly keep up with the Marines in the are of adult consumption....I think it may be cheaper to go with a flat rate....we shall see.....
I was a bartender for 20 yrs and worked at a country club for ten of them. Worked many weddings, etc, open bar and not.
Open bar was always charged by the drink. You can put a top on what amount of dollars you want to spend and then close it if you want. Or you can have the guests pay for their own drinks.
You can also take your own wine and the bar will charge you corkage for each bottle opened and you get whatever is not drank back.
Now my experiences on open bars at weddings. Don’t do it. Every single one I have worked with open bars peeved me off in some way. It is hard to keep the drinks out of under 21’s hands. Believe it or not people actually order drinks for them, the waitresses go by and pick them up from them and then turn around and there is another drink in their hands. Then the younger ones get drunk and cause all kinds of problems. We actually billed one sponsor for thousands of dollars because the teenagers went out and stole a few golf carts and tore up the greens with them.
If you want to provide drink I would suggest the wine and let them pay for the hard liquor, etc if they want to drink it.
I did this last year for daughter #1 and expect to be doing it for #2 & #3 in the not too distant future.
We looked at all the options and decided on the open bar. If you opt for a by-the-drink bar you’re going to pay a premium per drink. And there’s always the problem of who’s keeping the tab, its accuracy and then squaring up at the end of the evening. With the open bar you know what the cost and tip will be up front and are assured (per the contract) that all beer, wine and liquor will be available throughout the evening.
A major consideration for us was the age and number of attendees. We had 175 guests of which the majority (about 125) were young (20s & 30s). I feel comfortable that we made the right decision and will probably do it this way for the next two as well.
Just a word about the tip....since we were required to add an 18% gratuity to each component of the contract (i.e. food and beverage) we knew the bartenders were well compensated. Given that, we stipulated that there were no “tip jars” allowed at the bars.
One last thought: better to get all this administrivia out of the way in advance so you and the mother of the bride can enjoy the day with the knowledge that all your guests will be well taken care of.
We went open bar and stuck with beer and wine. We found out, however, that a large percentage of my beer-drinking friends choose wine when someone else is paying. Just a heads-up for inventory selection.
We didn’t do an open bar. It’s a wedding, not a frat party. The bar was open at the time and we had discounted drinks. We did place a bottle of champagne on each table for the toast but that was it.
I went with wine, beer, and sodas by-the-drink charge. My total for what was served was less than $700. (I do not remember the exact amount.)
I would highly recommend you check out your state's legal liability for serving liquor. You want to protect yourself in the event some unknown liberal guests show up and decide to get plastered on ‘free’ liquor.
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