The Ultimate Guide To Open Bar Wedding Packages

August 11, 2023

We’re sure you don’t need us to tell you that it takes a lot of time and patience to plan a wedding. 

And being the considerate, fun-loving hosts you are, we’re sure that your reception is a priority. 

And for many, a great bar and some great drinks can really bring a wedding reception to the next level. 

(Surely you know that, which is why you’re here)

Cheers to you!

We’re also going to be bold and assume you’ve clicked this article because you’re interested in having an open bar at your wedding. 

If you ask us, that’s a great idea, and the best option for you and your guests. 

But what exactly is an open bar? And what’s so great about it? 

What are a few things you should know and a few things you should ask? 

Worry not, we’re here to give you the ultimate guide to open bar wedding packages. 

What Is An Open Bar Wedding? 

open bar weding

If you’re clicking on this article, then you’re at least curious, if not already planning, your open bar wedding. 

But there’s nothing wrong with having a little refresher! 

So, what exactly is an open bar wedding? 

Basically, an open bar wedding means whoever pays for the wedding pays for all the alcohol, so there are no cash or credit transactions on the part of your guests. 

Is it a larger financial commitment than other types of wedding bars? Most likely. 

However, we’ll lay out all of the different pros of having an open bar wedding. 

Open Bar Wedding FAQs

Open Bar Wedding FAQs

We definitely don’t expect you to immediately become experts on the subject, and it’s natural to still have questions.

Here are just a few frequently asked questions about open bars. 

(These answers are based on our own open bar policies. Feel free to do some more exploring if you’re interested!)

What is the average cost of an open bar wedding?

In our case, we require a $1500 minimum fee for any of the Darby House bar services with a 7.5% sales tax and a 22% service charge. 

Additionally, we provide 1 bartender for every 75 guests, and it costs $275 per bartender (though the bartender includes bar setup/teardown and 4.5 hours of bar service). 

All of this depends on how much and what kind of alcohol you’re buying.

If you have a large guest list or are looking at pricier brands, the cost will inevitably go up.  

What does a typical open bar include? 

An open bar can be as limited or as expansive as you’d like, just so long as there isn’t a limit on the amount of drinks per guest (so long as everyone is safe).

For example, you can have an open bar that just includes champagne, or we have an option that only includes beer and wine. 

Or, you can have the premium option that includes wine, beer, liquors, champagne, and single pour cocktails (no shots).

Frankly, your guests will appreciate the free drinks, so it’s up to you how much or little variety you have. 

Do we tip the bartender? 

A tip jar could be a nice gesture, though it’s not entirely necessary.

Most of your vendors will have their own policies for bartending fees, and they may or may not include gratuity. 

And frankly, those who feel like tipping will tip regardless of whether they see a jar. 

In short, it is up to you whether you have a tip jar at the reception, however, the tips should absolutely not be the bartender’s only source of income for the event. 

Pros of Having An Open Bar Wedding

Pros of Having An Open Bar Wedding

Again, if you’re seriously considering the open bar option, it’s likely because you’ve already outweighed the pros and the cons.

However, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded every once-in-a-while of all the good choices you’re making (such as choosing to have an open bar).

Here are just a few of the reasons why an open bar wedding is a great decision. 

Have the first round (and possibly the second or third) be on you!

Your Guests Will Appreciate It

There’s a big chance that your guests will already be spending some amount of money in order to attend your wedding, whether it be travel, hotel rooms, buying your gift, or even just picking a new outfit. 

So, it’s a considerate gesture on your part to let them off the hook for your reception drinks. 

Plus, your bartender will be thanking you, too. 

Not giant crowds looking for cash or their credit cards will expedite the serving process and keep your wedding bar running smoothly.

An Open Bar Facilitates The Wedding Planning Process

Let’s face it: it probably already feels like you have to tackle a mountain of wedding day planning and ironing out details. 

And frankly, why add onto it? 

Having an open bar is simple and straightforward, so you can dedicate your wedding planning to other matters. 

You also get the added bonus of knowing the bar cost ahead of time, so you can incorporate it into your other wedding budgeting. 

An Open Bar Livens The Atmosphere

If you’re the type of couple who imagines their reception filled with laughter, dancing, and a brotherly feel, then an open bar is definitely the right choice. 

A lot of guests, especially those who come alone, may feel a bit shy towards the beginning, but a drink or two is sure to loosen people up. 

Additionally, the right bartender will aid in setting the mood and helping your guests feel more comfortable, and they’ll be more able to do that if they’re just focused on making drinks and not keeping track of tabs. 

Questions to Ask While Planning An Open Bar Wedding

open bar wedding

We want you to have the best possible experience with your open bar wedding, and knowledge is power. 

We recommend  asking a few questions to potential alcohol vendors so they know that you’re serious andt that you’ve done your research. 

If your vendors have answers for each question and you find that you’re on the same page, then it sounds like they’re a good match for your event. 

Here are just a few questions you can ask:

  1. How long have you been providing this service?
  2. Do you have a flat rate?
  3. What additional expenses will be added to the quote? 
  4. How will your bartenders ensure everyone’s safety and that no one over drinks? 
  5. Do you have an extra fee for setup/teardown? 
  6. What will happen with the leftover alcohol?
  7. What is your cancellation policy?
  8. Can you show me a copy of what your contracts look like?
  9. Can I have a list of references?
open bar wedding

Our Final Thoughts

As you can see, we really do believe an open bar is the most logical option for your wedding reception that gives you the most bang for your buck. 

Here you have our ultimate guide to open bar wedding packages. 

Hopefully you now have a better idea how to plan the best open bar wedding and what to expect from your vendors. 

For almost 70 years, Darby House has been serving its clients and been the center of countless unforgettable memories. 

We sincerely we can help you and your guests keep the good times going.

Recommended Blogs