How Much is Open Bar at a Wedding?

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. At no cost to you, I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Drinks are something that fits on every occasion and weddings are no exception. As per a recent report, around 72% of couples want an open bar at their wedding. But what is an open bar? The open bar is a bar in special functions where the host plays for all the drinks instead of the guest. That means there is no cash transaction that happens in an open bar. And, how much is an open bar at a wedding?

Nowadays, open bar is becoming a popular addition in the wedding. This helps to make the event more enjoyable for the guest. If you are planning a wedding ceremony and thinking about having an open bar, keep reading the article. We will help you to know about the cost.

So, How Much is Open Bar at a Wedding?

Well, the cost of an open bar at a wedding varies on a lot of things. On average, you will require paying $20 for every person at the open bar. In the USA, the average number of guests in a marriage ceremony is around 126. That means the average cost of the open bar in a wedding ceremony sums up around $2,520. Note that this fee is without tax and other charges like service and gratuity charges. If we add 15% taxes with the drink cost, it sums up to $3,276.

Note that don’t take it as the final price while preparing the budget. It can vary a lot depending on a lot of things. After considering all the factors, this will sum up around $3000. The cost is still pretty high as there are so many other things you need to pay for at a wedding. However, it is possible to cut down the cost a bit. Below, we will discuss how to do this.

Factors That Affect the Cost

As we said earlier, there are so many things that can make the open bar cost vary. Keep reading the below paragraph that can make the cost vary.

Number of Guests

How many people you are inviting to the wedding ceremony? You might already know that the guest number is going to be the number one factor that will make the budget vary. The total number of guests will influence several things. Such as the catering cost, venue cost, equipment cost, and finally the alcohol cost. When there are more people at the wedding, you will simply require paying more for everything.

As we said earlier, considering the bar cost $20 for every person, you will require around $2500 for a medium size wedding for around 125 people. However, if you are going to have a big wedding party with more than 200 people, you will require paying around $4000. For a small wedding, with around 50 guests, you will be paying around $1000.

Variation of Drinks

Another thing that will vary the average cost of the open bar in a wedding is the variation of drinks will offer. No wonder that if you want to serve premium liquors, the cost will become a lot higher. If you don’t worry much about the quality or branded drinks, you can go for the cheaper or average variants. This will save you a lot of money.

Some couples might want to serve multiple variations of drinks. This will also increase the fees for the open bar.

Cost of Bartender

It can be pretty hard to operate an open bar with professional bartenders. That is because there is a lot of work such as mixing, pouring, keeping the glass fresh, and managing the inventory. The charge of the bartender varies based on the location. The average rate is around $40 per hour which can be more or less based on place and season.

Note that the bartenders might not be okay with the hourly payment if the event is for around 2 to 3 hours. You will require a fixed rate for such a smaller period. You will require discussing with the bartender the rate in such cases. Note that you might also require offering some tips to the bartender, as a generosity.

Limited or Full Bar

Another thing that can vary the cost significantly is the type of bar. A full bar is when you offer unlimited drinks to the guest. Besides, the limited bar is when you make the number of drinks limited to cope up with the budget. This will lower the per person fee. Note that the limited bar will not usually affect the enjoyment of the guests that much.  

When it comes to the full bar, the guest can order any drinks they want. That means there is more money for each head and that can multiply if you offer varieties of the drink. If you are capable of paying for a full bar, you shouldn’t hesitate to go for it.

Tips for Having an Open Bar

Having an open bar in your dream wedding event seems pretty costly, isn’t it? Well, the below tips might help you to keep it within the budget:

  • Going for a limited bar can help you to reduce the cost a lot. You can offer around 2 to 3 drinks for each guest. This will help to keep the budget low.
  • Not everyone in the wedding drinks. If your venue is costing you a flat rate per head, you can remove the people from the list who don’t drink.
  • In some venues, you can bring your own drinks. Moreover, you can even pick the preferred bartenders. That means you can make the cost cheaper by purchasing from wholesaler.
  • Customize the labels of the bottles with wedding labels. As a result, the guests will never know whether you are offering premium or average liquors.


The wedding party is once in a lifetime experience and you don’t want it to be dull. Things like an open bar can assist you to provide the guests with a better and more fun-filled experience. If you have been worried about the cost of an open bar, we hope that this article will help you to understand how much you will require paying.

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment