Hello, loves! Today we’re tackling the hot topic of whether the cost of an open bar at weddings is worth it. Yesterday we received an email from soon-to-be weds, Ben and Sophie, who are getting married in May. They recently picked their wedding venue and now they’re tackling the high cost of an open bar. They ask,
Hey, Emmaline! We’re torn on this one: should we have an open bar at our wedding? Or do you think guests are OK with cash bar instead? It’s more of a cost issue than anything and we can’t decide if we should cut our bar budget. What do you think?
Read on to find out more!
Open Bar at Weddings
This question couldn’t have come at a better time because we recently had a hilarious local news anchor go viral with his headline interruption on Ellen. Detroit’s own Devin Scillian (whoop whoop!) who makes humorous spoof casts for Ellen, recently released a new video in which he tackles the open bar scenario.
“Your wedding better have an open bar. We are not traveling halfway across the country to pay $5 for a glass of cheap wine.“
Ha! Now that we have a little humor out of the way, let’s get down to the heart of the matter because I know this is a common hot topic. Couples ask this question a lot, especially around the time they book their venue and get sticker shock at the price. When it comes down to bar, they think — well, if we just cut corners a little — and, I get it. I really do. But as expensive as drinks are, having an open bar at a wedding is a great idea. Here’s why an open bar pleases guests.
Open Bar at Weddings
1. An open bar is generous.
Offering good food and good drinks to your guests is part of being a wonderful host. You wouldn’t expect guests to receive a bill during their dinner; the same goes for their drinks. It really pays to go the extra mile. P.S. Guests remember food and drinks at weddings; your centerpieces? Not so much.
2. An open bar encourages guests to be social.
Want guests to mingle? OPEN BAR. Want them to *finally* get enough courage to step into your photo booth? OPEN BAR. Want Aunt Patty to get out there and show off her hidden dance moves? Want your entire extended family to do The Hustle or make a conga line? You know the drill.
Yes, I know — guests can and should have fun without alcohol, it’s true! And the wedding shouldn’t be just one giant booze fest. Also true. Open bar has become the norm for many receptions, but as with all wedding costs, you don’t HAVE TO have an open bar. If a cash bar will save your budget, we say go for it: alcohol should never trump your most important wedding day purchases (like entertainment, food, or your favorite venue, just to name a few). If you’re worried about breaking the bank on the bar BUT you want to offer an open bar to guests, you can do some things to cut costs. Here are a few suggestions:
How to Cut Costs on Your Wedding Bar
1. Choose a standard bar package.
When it comes to premium bar or standard, go with whatever you’re comfortable spending. An open bar is an open bar, whether standard or premium shelf. If a guest is going to picky, they’re probably just a picky person in general. Moreover, most guests are eating and drinking to celebrate — not get sloshed. So don’t worry so much. Anything you offer is more than enough.
2. Offer beer and wine (and/or a signature drink).
Some venues give you the option to go full open bar including all beer, wine, and liquor, as well as mixers OR opt for just beer and wine. If your crowd isn’t much into mixed drinks or you really need to make a cut to the budget, go the beer and wine route. You can also include one (or two!) signature drink(s) to offer to guests.
Or even an alternative bar, like a ‘bubbly bar’ (mimosa bar) with champagne and fresh fruit and juice.
Keep in mind, though — not all venues allow this as many packages are basically all or nothing.
You mentioned the open bar being more of a budget issue, so these three tips should help. If you’re more worried about someone getting out of control and drinking too much, don’t worry — the bartender at any formal and professional establishment should stop serving if they suspect someone has had more than enough. And 9 times out of 10, guests behave perfectly acceptable with the open bar policy. Also, people *generally* don’t try to make a fool of themselves (and anyone who does is usually quickly escorted out by a friend). You can always post this sign somewhere if you’re worried…
Hope it helps!