To have an open bar or not to have an open bar—that’s the question on everyone bride and groom’s mind when they’re deciding on the food and beverage details for their wedding. Choosing to have an open bar can significantly raise the cost of your wedding reception. However, if you’re committed to an open bar, there are a lot of different choices you can make to cut down on costs.


When the marrying couple hosts an open bar, that means they foot the bill for not only all the food served at the wedding, but all the beverages served too. That means guests don’t have to rely on carrying cash to pay for drinks. An open bar is a great way to enliven the reception and thank your guests for traveling to the wedding, paying for accommodations, and giving a gift. Not having to think about paying for drinks is just one less thing to worry about—for everyone.


The major con with hosting an open bar is the high price tag. If your guests are ordering shots and expensive liquor all night, you can imagine how high the bill will be at the end of the night.  This doesn’t even factor in the costs of labor, gratuity, and renting glassware. Studies show that people drink approximately 47% more when there’s an open bar. If you are worried about things getting a little out of hand, an open bar is probably not the best choice. Some couples even opt to have alcohol-free wedding receptions.

Say Goodbye to Full-Service Bars and Say Hello to More Options

Full-service open bars, in which guests can order anything they want, is becoming a thing of the past. Instead, couples are deciding to host an open bar but they are limiting what guests can order. For instance, many couples decide that they’ll only have beer and wine. Couples can choose to have an open bar, but limit the premium cocktails. A guest would be able to order beer, wine, and liquor, but they would have to pay for top-shelf liquor. Some couples decide to have an open bar up to a specified amount. Once that dollar amount is reached, guests will have to pay for their drinks. Another great option? Choose to serve a custom signature cocktail. Anything ordered outside of beer, wine, or the signature cocktail would require payment.

Do you need some help deciding? Our team can help!