When will you need beverage service / bar at your wedding?
- Cocktail Reception. Most weddings will have a cocktail reception directly after the ceremony and that typically lasts 1 hour.
- Dinner. Champagne and wine during dinner, but some couples chose to keep the bar open during dinner as well to allow guests to grab a drink at their leisure. Typically 90 min.
- Dancing / After Dinner. After dinner, during dancing
- Pre-ceremony: Some couples like to have beverage service available to guests as they are arriving and waiting for the ceremony to start.
2 Types of Bar Service Options
- Cash Bar (also known as No Host Bar)
- Open Bar (also known as Hosted Bar)
Cash Bar (not recommended for weddings)
- Guests pay bartender directly for their drinks. Exactly like going out on your own.
- If your wedding is at a hotel, you may be charged for a “cashier”, as some hotels do not allow bartenders to handle cash.
- Drinks are paid for by hosts
2 Pricing Methods are By Consumption - OR - Per Person
By Consumption The host pays for each drink served or each bottle opened plus tax & gratuity.
- Bartender keeps a running tally of number of drinks served.
Per Person The host pays a flat amount for the duration of the event or for each hour, whether or not the guest chooses an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage.
- This pricing option is typically higher. Why? Because with an open bar, the caterer does not have as much control over consumption and therefore the caterer wants to make sure they are profitable.
Most economical Beverage service
Beer, Wine and Champagne for the Toast
- No hard alcohol
- Champagne is only offered at dinner for toasts
- The bar is closed during dinner and in addition to champagne toast, you offer wine service during dinner. For a table of 10 guests, you would offer 3 bottles of white and 2 bottles of red
- Bar re-opens for dinner until approximately 30 minutes prior to end time.
- An add-on to this would be a Signature Drink
Rule of Thumb
- Average Consumption at a wedding (Open Bar) is typically 2-2.5 drinks per person, per hour
- 1 bottle of Wine = 3-4 glasses per bottle OR 2-3 guests per bottle (depending on who’s pouring)
- 1 bottle of Champagne = 6 glasses
- 1 Keg of beer (15.5 gallons) serves 180 (10 oz glasses)
Get In Touch
Let us know if you have any questions you need answered on the show or if you want to share your own wedding planning experiences!