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Newbie October 2022 British Columbia

How much does an open bar cost?

Angélique, on September 12, 2022 at 16:55 Posted in Wedding reception 0 4

We’re getting married here in Vancouver next month. We’re scheduled to meet with our venue coordinator this weekend discuss to food and beverage breakdowns. We wanted to know approximately how much we should allocated for a 3.5 hour open bar?

We’re doing cocktail hour from 5pm-6pm ending in a champagne toast (allocating 2 cocktails and 1 champagne flute per person)

Drink tally = 3

For dinner hour, we’re keeping to a wine selection: 2-3 glasses per person

Drink tally= 5-6

Then finally, open bar from 8:30pm to 12:00 midnight. That’s 3.5 hours and we’ve budget $3500 — single ounce highballs, beer, and wine, non-alcoholic drinks at $8/drink or less.

($3500 / 58 guests = $60 / $8 per drink = 7.5 per person)

Drink tally = 12-13 😮

Are we overestimating here? Is $3500 too much or a good amount? Would really appreciate feedback and insight! Thank you! 😊


Latest activity by Stephanie, on September 13, 2022 at 22:39
  • Stephanie
    Featured August 2022 Ontario
    Stephanie ·
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    I agree with Hank, an open bar is usually $30-$40 per person. That being said, if you have a crowd that are driving to the wedding and can't stay the night, there will be less drinks bought. Or if you invite a lot of young families, they tend to leave sooner in the evening for the little ones. My husband and I were going to do an open bar but after talking to guests in advance to see if they are staying overnight we changed our minds and did a consumption bar (only pay for the drinks ordered). On a separate charge we had one white and one red wine bottle on each guest table, cocktails (as usual), which cut down on people ordering more from the bar. We paid an overhead cost to have a consumption bar. The bill at the end was way smaller than we expected. We had 45 guests and 8 of them were kids.
    1. What is the demographic like (people staying in town overnight/ how many kids are coming)2. What drinks will you have on the guest tables or available for cocktail hour
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  • Lisa
    Curious June 2023 Alberta
    Lisa ·
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    I'm estimating $3000 - 3200 for 65 people for 6-ish hours based on the caterer/hotel's bar menu pricing, so I think $3500 for your 58 people is a healthy estimate.

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  • Carine
    Featured September 2023 Ontario
    Carine ·
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    Always good to over estimate, we are debating open bar, we may just settle on open bar for our signature drinks since we have a lot of people who drink a lot on both side of the family.

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  • Hank
    Featured September 2021 Ontario
    Hank ·
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    When you do open bars, it's typically charged by per person and not per drink as you've calculated. In general, $40 per person seems to be average for an open bar. This price is in effect regardless if the person only drinks water vs 20 alcoholic drinks throughout the night so it's worth it if you know you have a high drinking crowd. At 58 guests, $3500 should be enough unless the venue indicated you need a certain minimum (some places charge for bartending fees if you don't have X dollars in drink sales).

    But if you know half your crowd will not drink, or just have that one glass of champagne to toast you, you may want to opt for a host bar. This is where you are charged per drink but you as the event host pay for all of it. This is what we did for our wedding.

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