Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Curse of the Open Bar

Our friends like to drink. Now, they're not alcoholics, not anymore at least, or rather, I hope.

Given this, an open bar is important to us. Unfortunately, our budget (which I still haven't figured out...) is not open bar friendly.

So I did some thinking, and some more thinking, and thinking how less fun all those open bar weddings we've been to the past two years would have been if they hadn't been open bar. Especially the ones we traveled to. Thus, I want to pay my pals the same courtesy. They're all traveling from Boston, Vermont, Connecticut, etc...so I want to give back to them and you know, not make them pay $10 for a drink.*

I thought some more. Daddy GP is giving us a set amount of money for the wedding. Unfortunately, my parents can't pay for the whole thing thus the limited budget. So I thought, and I thought, and hey! What about a set amount of money for the open bar and after that they pay?

So say we have 80 people, at $30ish/plate that'll be about $2500 give or take with another $x thousand for the open bar and wham bam thank you ma'am each person gets about 3-5 drinks, for the five hour reception. Where as if we have full open bar, it's about $80/person. Meaning not including tax and gratuity? Roughly $6500 or so. Definitely out of our budget. With the new option though, Daddy GP's money, we should be able to pay for more than 3/4 of our reception.

Fiancé wants to also consider limited open bar (beer and wine), and see what the real price difference is. Considering we haven't met with our planner since we put down the deposit, we should probably do that sometime so we have a better idea how much we need to save up for in the next eleven months (eep! Already 11 months?!?!). For the past few months I've been of the mindset "whatever the 'rents don't pay for, we'll pick up." Unfortunately, that is becoming less and less of a realistic option since you know, we're not millionaires.

For all you gals on the baby budgets, how are you all handling the open bar question??

*I heard a story of a gal I knew who didn't have an open bar at her wedding and some friends had to pay something like $8-$9 for a lighter beer. That will not be my wedding. I promise.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

we are just sucking it up and doing the open bar. to be totally honest, i think you hit the nail on the head with the fun factor. same with the fact that your friends had open bars and they will be traveling to your wedding (ours too). we think it is really just worth the expense, and there are other ways you can cut- take flowers for example. you don't even NEED flowers. no one will care if you have flowers, favors, whatever, but i bet my friends would say the alcohol is even more important than the food ;)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 4:56:00 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Southern Prep said...

We are going to do an open bar, but provide the liquor, wine and beer ourselves. Our caterer charges $3.50 per person for mixers, soda, etc....By providing our own, we'll save quite a bit of money..if not thousands. Good luck with your bar planning!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 5:28:00 PM  
Blogger KRISTIN said...

We are doing beer and wine w/ one mixed drink (signature drink). Although we would prefer an open bar, our budget is limited as well. To save ourselves from debt, we are limiting the options. This gives us the opportunity to shares many drinks with our friends on other occasions post wedding rather than ditching our friends, working two jobs and eating soup for a few years to pay off the debt!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 6:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Open bars are ideal. Let's face it. Everyone would love to provide for their family and friends limitless drinks all night long. But in today's world and with the costs of weddings these days, not everyone can afford such a luxury when there's other things that might be deemed more important. For our reception we have decided to go with the 2 signature drinks (mine is the mojito and his is a jack and coke), wine, and beer. That will be plenty and people, believe it or not, will survive without their top shelf requests. Think about the days in college when the only thing available was warm beer--cmon people! We have drank worse in our lives :)
And if you look at what caterers and event planners suggest in terms of cutting back in money, this is where you will save the most, and people will still love every minute of your wedding!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 6:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

stupid wordpress had me logged out so i just lost the long comment i left... anyhoo, i've been to one wedding only that didn't have an open bar and it totally caught me off guard. i didn't even know it was an option. but i also didn't have any cash and only had one drink during that wedding and i even had to borrow cash to get that solo glass.
at our ages i think the open bar is definitely the fun factor for a wedding so you really have to consider it. we're on a tighty-tight budget too but we're going to do the open bar all the way.
one thing to consider is working it into your catering contract as a service only item. that way you can supply all the beer/wine/booze and they simply serve it. it cuts the cost back greatly and all you have to do is hit up Costco and you're all set. they don't have the booze i like in VA so i'll probably be making a trip up to CT to stock up before the wedding.
good luck!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008 7:59:00 AM  
Blogger AmyJean {Relentless Bride®} said...

I just recently went to a wedding that was purely wine/beer. I didn't miss the hard alcohol really and i usually prefer it. Then again, i've also heard of limited like your FI said. For our wedding, we found a venue that lets us BYO our own caterer and BYO our own alcohol - that is how we're avoiding the premium on the drinks !!! Budgets and weddings are a hard thing to handle! Good luck!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008 9:01:00 AM  
Blogger Lexilooo said...

I've been to both open bar weddings and cash bar. I've also attended where they've done the limited open bar. Each were lovely in their own way. One friend actually made some deal with a company providing wine and she had a bottle of red and white on each table, and when they were empty, the waiters would replace them. It was really nice.

Frankly, when I am at an open bar wedding, I don't drink too much, because I can only imagine how much the bride and groom have already spent :)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008 9:58:00 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Our venue doesn't allow hard liquor, so we're automatically limited to beer, wine, & champagne. Our caterer does allow us to bring in our own alcohol; they're providing the set-ups/non-alcoholic drinks and serving everything. I haven't shopped around yet, but i've heard good things about CostCo and Trader Joe's. There are several places around that will let you bring back unopened/undamaged bottles, too.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a budget bride and we're paying for the wedding by ourselves with no outside contributions. So we decided to get a venue that provides a free open bar included in the plate price. Works out fine for us.

Thursday, October 09, 2008 12:09:00 PM  

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