How Much Is Open Bar At A Wedding: Costs And Budget

To identify how much is open bar at a wedding, you must first consider the number of guests and types of drinks you’ll serve. We will also discuss calculating per person if you decide to have an open bar at your wedding. 

For comparison, you may want to read what is a cash bar at a wedding. Couples on a budget can consider it than an open bar as it costs less. 

how much is open bar at a wedding


How Much Does An Open Bar Cost At A Wedding?

The average open bar cost at weddings is around $3,000, but it can be higher or lower, depending on two factors. First, you also want to determine if you’ll have a full open bar or a limited open bar. 


Open vs limited open bar

A limited open bar for a wedding will typically cost you under $3,000, while a full open bar might require you to budget as much as $4,000 or higher. Remember that in open bars, the alcohol provider charges a flat rate per wedding guest, which is why open bars at big weddings will take a significant part of your total wedding budget. 


Flat fee vs billed by consumption

If you are limited with your expenses for the open bar at the wedding, you can also ask the wedding catering or reception if they’re offering another setup for the open bar. Then, instead of charging a flat fee per wedding guest, you’ll only pay for what your guests drink. 

The only risk with this setup is you can’t predict what beverage your guests might order. If most people ordered pricey alcoholic drinks at the open bar, you might end up spending over the budget.  


How much is an open bar at a wedding per person?

Part of knowing how much you’ll pay for your wedding open bar is the charge per person. You will ask the catering or the reception venue, whoever you choose to provide the drinks for their quote. 

Typically, an open bar can cost $15 to $45 per person, depending on the setup. Limited open bars that only serve beer and wine will be cheaper than a full open bar; of course, open bars with premium beverages can cost as high as $45 per wedding guest. 


How To Budget For An Open Bar At A Wedding


Step 1. Consider the number of guests

More than 20% of the wedding food budget will be consumed by the drinks or open bar. That being said, you might need to adjust accordingly if you have a long guest list. 

Furthermore, what does the catering quote for each wedding guest? If they charge $20 per person, then you’ll multiply 20 by the total number of wedding guests (i.e., adults you’ll expect to drink)


Step 2. Determine the type of drinks you’ll serve

The next factor that will affect the price of the wedding open bar is the type of drink you’ll serve. More complicated drinks will likely cost more than simpler alcohols because of the ingredients and preparation.

Premium beverages will also mean a higher price for the open bar. So if you want to save on the open bar at the wedding, you can consider a limited open bar rather than a full open bar to avoid extra expenses if some guests ordered something pricey. 


What Is A Good Price For Open Bar?

A good price for an open bar at a wedding is $20 per head. This should be reasonable considering the guests can have as many drinks as they want. 

However, note that it’s also acceptable for the catering or venue to charge higher per guest, especially with a full open bar. Some drinks require ingredients and complicated preparations that it’s only suitable for the fee to reach over $30 per guest. 

If you are limited with your budget, consider another wedding bar called the host bar. A host bar is cost-effective, especially at small weddings since you’ll only pay per drink. 


How Much Is An Open Bar At A Wedding For 50 Guests?

An open bar for 50 guests can cost more or less $1,000, assuming that the caterer or venue is charging a flat rate of $20 per guest. To avoid misunderstandings regarding your budget for drinks, clarify with the wedding vendor the fees for the open bar. 

Some may charge per hour or a flat fee per head. Furthermore, you can consider indulging in a full open bar if you don’t have a lot of drinkers in your 50-person wedding. 

Speaking of which, perhaps more guests prefer carbonated drinks over alcoholic drinks. If you want to be responsible for the non-alcoholic drinks at the wedding, read how much soda to buy for a wedding



And that’s it! To recap how much is open bar at a wedding, it depends on the number of guests and types of drinks you’ll serve.

A large wedding with a full open bar will be pricier than a small wedding with a limited open bar. Nonetheless, expect that alcoholic drinks will take more than 20% of the wedding food budget. 

You can also assume the average cost of wedding open bars at $3,000 or a flat rate of $20 per guest. We hope this helps; leave us a question if you have any. 

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