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
post Post   Comments (2)  
  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


10 Reasons to Shop Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28
After the retail insanity of Black Friday, consider checking out locally-owned companies on Saturday, Nov. 28. || Posted October 25 2020


10 Key Ways to Prepare for Extreme Snow
Forecasters are predicting a true nor'easter will hit the eastern and central states with rain, thunderstorms, ice, snow and high winds over the Thanksgiving weekend. It's crucial to plan ahead, before bad weather hits. || Posted November 26 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
Toilet Flange Replacement/ Toilet Reset
Paid: 5294.00
(Break down of pricing was not initially provided and I had to call to speak with a manager to get exact pricing)... [more]
-Gray
Replacing a Toilet Cost
ER visit for ear achech
Paid: 2250.00
I was there in hospital only for 15 minutes. due to Covid Urgent care was closed near my house. Doctor came and prescribe me anti biotic ear drops and pills. Got a rude shock when they charge me with huge bill... [more]
-Deepa
Emergency Room Visit Cost
Overspent?
Paid: 312.00
$312 per pet.Exam39.25Waste disposal 2.99Heart worm 48.30Fecal 25.29DA2P 101.99Lepto 21.50Sentinel 69.34I always feels overcharged when I go here... [more]
-Rebekah
Dog Vaccination Cost
Root tips
Paid: 845.00
Speechless, total ripoff, I have been going to Dr. L. Tabor for many years, I assisted him a few years... [more]
-Terri P
Tooth Extraction Cost
Ignition coils, spark plugs & valve cover gasket
Paid: 107.00
Check engine light came on, code was P0303, third cylinder. Googled causes of code found ignition coil and spark plugs most likely. Ordered parts from Amazon and my husband and I changed them after watching some YouTube videos... [more]
-JLC
Ignition Coil Replacement Cost
A/C repair
Paid: 670.00
Decided to to replace the 35 year old aging AC system. New compressor, accumulator, orifice tube, refrigerant hoses, condenser. Flushed the evaporator. Charged with ozone friendly 12a refrigerant... [more]
-citydragon
Car Air Conditioning Cost