Search thousands of topics on CostHelper.com

BROWSE ALL TOPICS >> appliances babies & children  cars  consumer electronics health & personal care home & garden personal finance  pets  schools small business weddings
CostHelper > Weddings  > Open Bar

Open Bar Cost


How Much Does an Open Bar Cost?

 
low costLow: Beer & Wine $11-$33 per personaverage costMedium: Mixed Drinks $15-$90 per personhigh costHigh: Premium Liquor $18-$95 per person
post E-mail post Post   Comments (1)
  Typical costs:
  • The average cost for bartender service at a wedding reception is $2,800, according to the Bridal Association of America[1] . The average number of guests is 170, making it $16.50 per guest.
  • 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.
  • Serving beer and wine only will save you some money with most caterers, typically costing $11 to $33 per person for four hours.
  • Open bar costs may double or triple in big cities and resort areas.
  • Some customers save money by providing their own wine and asking friends and family to run the bar. Super Weddings[2] suggests 2 glasses per guest with dinner. With some wines under $5 per bottle, costs start at $2 per guest, and can easily climb to $20 per guest, depending on your selection.
  • When providing your own domestic and imported beers, estimate $2 to $5 per person for each hour of the reception. Costs for creating mixed drinks varies widely, depending on the types and quality of liquors provided.
Related articles: Wedding Caterer, Champagne Toast, Espresso Cart Rental, Wedding Reception Venue

What should be included:
  • An open bar serving mixed drinks, wine and beer may include: vodka, gin, scotch, light rum, bourbon, Seagram's 7, tequila, white and red wines, champagne, domestic and imported beers, soft drinks, water and juice.
  • At least one bartender should be available for every 100 guests.
  • Cups and napkins should be provided, as well as setup and cleanup services after the reception.
Additional costs:
  • Caterers often charge a setup cost of $30 to $200 per bartender working the event. Sometimes this amount is included in the per-guest fee.
  • Many caterers require you to pay an hourly fee for the bartender, around $25. Alternately, this may be included in the setup fee.
  • Unless gratuity is included in your total fees, plan to tip 10% to 20% of the total alcohol bill to the head bartender, to be split between all bar staff. Additionally, some bartenders will set out a tip jar, where guests may choose to tip $1 per drink.
  • If providing your own wine, many caterers charge a per-bottle corking fee in the $1 to $15 range. For each six-pack of beer that you provide, bartenders may charge $1 to $5 in service fees.
  • Expect to add $2 extra per person to substitute glassware for plastic cups.
Discounts:
  • Ask about limiting your bar to certain liquors or a signature cocktail, which may cut costs.
Shopping for an open bar:
  • When shopping for a caterer, ask if an open bar is included in the quoted price. Ask if providing your own alcohol is allowable.
  • Bartenders should be covered with liability insurance[3] . Ask to see proof of coverage before signing a contract.
  • The Knot lists tips for stocking your own open bar[4] , including quantities.
post E-mail post Post   Comments (1)
CostHelper News


Top 7 Ways to Trim Pet Expenses
Pets, for many, are part of the family; another member that needs love, feeding and treatment, just like anyone else in the household. || Posted September 18 2013


Forgotten Expenses In a Home Addition Budget
Items like construction costs, permit fees or debris removal aren't the only expenses to consider when calculating the total costs of a home remodeling project. || Posted August 5 2013

‣ All CostHelper Blog Posts


What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Wedding bar
Amount: $10,000.00 Total, with Tips
Posted by: a user in Los Angeles, CA.Posted: July 29th, 2016 01:07PM
Number of people: 150Type of Drinks Served:
Most venues charge around $75 per person for a three hour open bar - $15 - $20 per hour after that
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam


 

Comment On Your Experience With an Open Bar
 
Subject:  *
Amount Spent:  * Total, with Tips
Number of people: Type of Drinks Served: 
Comments: 
Purchased:  Year: 
City:  * State:  *
 
Information about you:
Email:  * Email addresses are not displayed.
Name:  This is the name we'll display with your post.
me on this computer
*=required field.
 



External Resources:
  1.  www.bridalassociationofamerica.com/Wedding_Statistics/
  2.  www.superweddings.com/wedding-planning/wedding-planner/
  3.  www.servercertificationcorp.com/bartending.html
  4.  wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/diy-do-it-yourself-weddings/articles/how-to-stock-...
More Weddings Topics
Check Out All Costs for Weddings How Much Does a Wedding Dress Cost? How Much Do Wedding Invitations Cost? How Much Does a Wedding Reception Venue Cost?

Search Thousands of Topics on CostHelper.com

 
Today's Featured Cost Articles

About CostHelper
CostHelper is based in Silicon Valley and provides consumers with unbiased price information about thousands of goods and services. Our writers are experienced journalists who adhere to our strict editorial ethics policy.

CostHelper Community
General Cleaning except windows and VCT
Paid: 0.00
Going rates can vary. However, your best advice is to stay below prices like Service Master or some big franchise charges. In general their help isn't that bright or speaks no English... [more]
-Gary Honey
Office Cleaning Cost
Dental Implants
Paid: 72000.00
Why do full dental implants cost more than purchasing a condominium?... [more]
-Jack Sprat
Dental Implants Cost
Clogged toilet to main line clean out
Paid: 465.00
Came out and pulled toilet ( took a whole 5 minutes)and ran his drain cleaning machine 75ft. to clear out clog which took about 15 minutes or so. Put on new wax ring and toilet back in place... [more]
-
Unclogging a Toilet Cost
Houston Flood
Paid: 450.00
never flooded, not in flood plain but just had 34 inches of rain in 5 days, huge flood 5 minutes away, hoping costs don't increase and that new maps won't include us in flood plain$250,000 building, $100,000 contents, $1250 deductible... [more]
-Thankfully Dry
Flood Insurance Cost
Ear Wax Removal
Paid: 1100.00
Yes, just got the bill! I paid my copay at my visit... [more]
-Michelle S.
Ear Wax Removal Cost
Scamming in Detroit
Paid: 410.00
My husband and I went to a sporting event on the Wayne State Campus. We parked in what was apparently a non-campus location. There were no signs stating that we couldn't park there, so we took advantage of the spot. Bad on us... [more]
-Kris Starosta
Recovering a Towed Vehicle Cost