Planning on having bar service at your wedding? There will be a few details to cover with this so here's a quick guide to planning the alcohol for your event.
Bar Service Types
First, you'll need to decide on how you'll be handling the bar service. The following are common ways to handle this:
Cash bars are where your guests purchase their own drinks.
Open bars are where your guests are able to get their drinks (as many as they would like) at no charge. These drinks are typically paid for at the end of the evening by whoever is covering the tab.
Drink tickets are able to be handed out to all guests or certain guests. This allows those guests with tickets to get drinks at no charge. These drinks, like an open bar, are typically paid for at the end of the evening by whoever is covering the tab.
Slightly different than an open bar (but can often be referred to as the same thing), hosted bars allow your guests to get specific drinks or drinks for a certain time period or amount. These drinks are also typically paid for at the end of the evening by whoever is covering the tab.
If you are planning on hosting some drinks but not planning to have an open bar, then you'll want to plan for how much you're willing to host. Make sure to set a limit - whether that be for a specific time period, for an amount, or for just certain drinks.
Unsure of how much money to spend on this portion? It's helpful to figure out your priorities on this first. For example: if you're wanting to make sure to at least cover the cost of one drink per person, then take the highest cost per drink and multiply that by your number of guests. That amount (or close to it) would be the amount you'd want to put down.
Not putting down an amount and would rather host specific drinks? No worries! Purchasing some kegs and boxed wine up front to give to your guests at no charge until it runs out is a great way to handle this. You can calculate the amount needed the same way as above by comparing the amount of drinks per item and comparing that number to your guest count.
You'll know your family and friends best, so do what makes the most sense to you.
Finally, if you are hosting specific drinks and on the fence about the amount you need, make sure to ask if you can have any on reserve and what the fees might be for that. For example, at the Museum we can have kegs on reserve in addition to what's purchased in case you'd like to use another or two. If you don't use them, we only charge a $25 restocking fee instead of you having to pay the full cost of the keg.
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