Should You Have an Open Bar Wedding?

Should You Have an Open Bar Wedding?

To open bar or not to open bar? That is the question. Brides and grooms have faced this dilemma for generations. Some people say cash bars are faux pas, while others believe they’re a great way to save a few dollars on the big day.

Wondering if you should have an open bar wedding? Here are four factors to consider:

1. Your guests.

Are your friends and family the types of people that will love — and maybe even expect — an open bar wedding? Perhaps you come from a more conservative background and believe that your guests wouldn’t even miss one if you paid for it. Catering to your guests is key. Before making any major decisions about your wedding cocktails, be sure to seriously consider how this will impact your guests’ experience.

2. Your budget.

There’s no way around it: Open bars are expensive. While there are many things you can do to mitigate the cost, an open bar will always be significantly more pricey than a dry wedding, cash bar, or BYOB affair. If you’re on a tight budget, foregoing an open bar can be a great way to save money. It’s also important to consider a cash bar or BYOB option if you’d like to see your budget go a little further in other areas, like the food or music. If you anticipate that consuming alcohol won’t be a priority for you and your guests, consider alternative options.

"An open bar is probably the fastest way to skyrocket your food and beverage costs," Chandra Keel, owner of Chandra Keel events, told "It is a pricey option and if that's a concern for you, a better option is to offer beer and wine only, and possibly reduce the number of hours throughout the evening that alcohol is served."

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3. Logistics.

While an open bar can be pricey, they’re usually a lot less work than setting up a cash bar. Rather than simply selecting the kinds of alcohol you want to serve, you’ll have to worry about nitty-gritty logistical considerations like accepted payment methods and nearby ATMs. A cash bar requires guests to ensure that they have cash or credit on hand, so be sure to warn them ahead of time.

4. How much you want to party.

Having an open bar will undeniably make your guests feel like they’re at a party. While it’s important to enjoy in moderation, keeping the alcohol flowing ensures that your guests are loosened up, ready to mingle, and itching to dance the night away. However, it’s important to keep in mind that an open bar can also lead to trouble. Everyone has been to a wedding or two where a guest has had one too many. Consider the crowd you're catering to: Are they a rowdy bunch that are prone to overindulge or will a few drinks simply help them relax?

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