Is Booze a Must for Your Wedding Day?
Deciding whether or not to host alcohol for your guests tends to be a very strenuous question from most couples. You want to make your guests happy but you also may fear things getting out of hand or maybe it doesn’t fit into your budget.
An “open bar” is where drinks are free and unlimited for guests at your wedding. As long as the venue is open, the drinks will be flowing.
There are many factors that go into deciding whether or not to have an open bar at your wedding and reception. The first, is whether or not your guests are the type that will drink. It would be a waste of money to provide an open bar if everyone except your crazy co-worker drinks.
The number of guests in attendance can also play a factor because obviously the more guests, the more money it will cost long term per person. If you do have a considerable amount of people, I would encourage you to think about this early on in the planning process because it could make a significant impact on your budget.
Now, it is also common for guests to not provide alcohol for religious reasons, which is completely understandable. But if you are not concerned about this, then this blog is for you. Majority of couples choose to host at least SOME alcohol as courtesy for their guests.
Here, we are going to lay out the options for you and your fiancé to hopefully open your eyes to the numerous possibilities you have when deciding whether or not to have an open bar at your wedding!
PROS & CONS OF HOSTING AN OPEN BAR
- Increased guest enjoyment
Most people like booze, especially free booze. If your guests can drink on your dime, they’re bound to be much happier, not to mention that they may shell out more for your wedding gift since they won’t have to spend any money to drink at your reception.
- Easy planning
You don’t have to worry about what liquor to have or how much to get if you are at a venue with an open bar. This means you don’t have to worry about running out of alcohol or what types to get, as the venue will take care of that.
- A more carefree atmosphere
Alcohol is known for livening up parties. With more people drinking larger amounts of alcohol, your wedding reception just might become the party of the year.
- Great way to say “thank you”
Having an open bar is one way of thanking the guests, many who have spent money and traveled far to help you celebrate.
Open bars can be pricey. After all, you’ll basically be paying for your entire guest list to drink as much as they please. However, look into your options because many reception venues have great deals on open bars.
- Lack of control of your crowd
With an open bar, chances are some of your guests may drink a bit more than they ought to, which could lead to damages at the venue, fighting between guests, embarrassing moments, etc. You also don’t want to have to babysit anyone’s drinking habits on your special day.
- Underage drinking
When you have an open bar, so many people are drinking it may be hard for the bartender to keep tabs on who’s of the legal drinking age and who isn’t. Open bars also make it easier for others to slip drinks to those who aren’t yet twenty-one.
People tend to drink more than usual when an open bar is involved. This can lead to alcohol poisoning and bad decisions, such as driving under the influence.
KNOWING YOUR OPTIONS
Before you begin to make these decisions, make sure you are aware of all your options. Speak with your venue first to understand what options are available to you. For example, majority of the time the venue will offer bar packages. These packages are paid for per person based on your head count and offers and unlimited amount of drinks that fall within that level of alcohol that you have purchased.
Different bar packages can range from sodas and juices where guests pay for their own cocktails, to having hosted premium bars where every type of liquor and hard alcohol is unlimited for the duration of the event. Beer and & wine hosted is a very popular option because it has a smaller alcohol content so guests are less likely to get super drunk very quickly. This will control your budget while still presenting the wedding in a classy manner and a way of saying thank you to your guests who have already spent money to be in attendance with you!
Often times, the venue will provide a “well bar” option where it is simply bottom shelf alcohol and a fewer selection of drinks. This is less expensive than a premium bar just as the beer and wine bar package is less than the well package.
If you plan on having alcohol at your wedding, having the venue provide a bar package is definitely worth the money, time, and headache than bringing your own alcohol in. Many times the venue will have a liquor license to abide by so you will be unable to provide your own alcohol, but even if they do allow it, I would recommend having the venue provide the alcohol. It is not only worth your time and energy with planning, but chances are it will be less expensive and you don’t run the risk of running out of anything!
No matter what level of bar you have, it is worth it to have a bar package through the venue to relieve your stress of planning and preparing your own bar. Plus, drinks will be unlimited!
Other options you have is to ask if there is a package/fixed price for the bar or if you could pay on a consumption basis. Guests sometimes will surprise you and not drink as much as you originally might have thought or planned. You can save a fair amount, especially on those guests that will nurse a drink all night long.
You can always set a time limit on the number of hours that you are offering an open bar. This will at least control your costs to some degree while still presenting the wedding in an upscale manner, as well as saying thank you to your guests.
Have a signature drink!
If you want to show off your personality and make your wedding unique, a signature cocktail is the way to do it. Moreover, keep in mind that having a signature cocktail can also help you control your budget a bit better, especially if you can afford spending a bit more than just for the beer and the wine, but don’t want to go completely over-the-top.
It is a great option to incorporate your personality and even your wedding colors! Name them something cute according to you and your fiancé!
COMMON CONCERNS AND THEIR SOLUTIONS
Most people stay away from open bars because they are concerned about guests getting out of hand. In order to stay away from this there are a few precautions you can take!
Let the bartenders know your concerns, or your day of coordinator so they can relay the message. The bartenders can be EXTRA cautious when pouring drinks and cut people off accordingly.
If you plan on having a few appetizers, ask for one of them to be passed around at the end of the evening! It is a great treat for guests as they leave and a great way to sober some people up before they drive!
Have one or two bartenders maximum and only one or two bars open at your venue. The less bartenders and the fewer bars that are open, the more control the staff has on how much alcohol is being consumed.
Have it at a venue, such as a yacht, where the environment is controlled. The chances of someone sneaking their own alcohol in, or sneaking off to drink their own alcohol is slim. Plus, the guests are confined and less there is to be unattended at once. At a big banquet hall, there is a little control over guests. People can sneak away or even LEAVE to get alcohol and come back hammered!
It is important to always take into consideration your guests, however remember that this day is about you and your wedding. Sometimes trying to accommodate everyone’s feelings ends out hurting you in the end.