Search thousands of topics on CostHelper

BROWSE ALL TOPICS >> babies & children  cars  consumer electronics health & personal care home & garden personal finance  pets  schools small business sports 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
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 Post   Comments (2)  
CostHelper News


7 Tricks To Make Home Appliances Last Longer
Give your household equipment a little workout now and then, to make sure anything mechanical will perform well when needed. Periodic exercise can extend the usable life of many items. || Posted October 14 2013


5 Important Things to Know Before a Tornado Hits
This week the Midwest has been battered by tornados, which are one of the most violent and destructive type of storms nature has in its arsenal. || Posted November 19 2013

‣ All CostHelper Blog Posts


What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Wedding
Amount: $7,500.00 Total, with Tips
Posted by: a user in Cape Cod, MA.Posted: December 21st, 2017 12:12PM
Number of people: 200Type 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.
Was this post helpful to you?   yes     no Report prohibited or spam
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-s...
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
Cost of care
Paid: 0.00
Wow, some of these previous comments seriously concern me. We have a dentist carrying on about how much it cost for his entire education and the cost of building and supplying an entire office... [more]
-Jason B
Dental Implants Cost
Generac 22kw quote
Paid: 18000.00
Recently quoted$18k for 2,400sq ft. Home. The generator itself is $5,300 with transfer switch. Nearly $13k install seems very high... [more]
-Jon Rad
Standby Generator Cost
2013 honda crv ignition cylinder repair
Paid: 180.00
Locksmith came to my house and repaired lock cylinder in an hour... [more]
-Brad Cowan
Ignition Lock Cylinder Replacement Cost
Teacup Pig
Paid: 100.00
Looking for a teacup pig. I’ll pay $100-300 if you have what I’m looking for in my price range please let me know... [more]
-Evelyn Hernandez
Teacup Pig Cost
You will not believe this!
Paid: 75000.00
Non emergency flight from Tucson to Phoenix this was 2021 I could have flown around the world several times what a 130 miles was these people need to go to jail for fraud and theft!I will never pay the huge bill chapter 7 only costs $2500... [more]
-Paul Polito
Air Ambulance Cost
L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 multilevel laminectomies with micro disectomies.
Paid: 0.00
I had laminectomies and refused to have spinal fusion. I made a complete recovery. I had my surgery Apr/2020. Returned to work in mid-June. Feel good as new today. No back stiffness or pain... [more]
-Jose A Elizondo
Back Surgery Cost