Author Topic: Paying for Bar Service at Reception  (Read 2670 times)

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Texas Mom

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Paying for Bar Service at Reception
« on: February 27, 2014, 12:21:11 AM »
Where I live, one of the major venues does not allow hosted bars - they have to be cash bars.

The last wedding I went to there, the hosts had pads of tickets printed up.  They had a place for the guest to sign & give to the bartenders as payment.  The bartender took the drink order, wrote down the charge and it was tossed into a box for the hosts to settle up on later.   We were given 5 tickets each when we checked in & were told if we wanted more, to ask.  This was in no way an attempt to curb consumption - there were unlimited tickets available.

This was their way of obeying the rules of the facility while taking care of their guests.

It seems to me this would be a more cost efficient way to pay for drinks rather than paying $70/guest for 3-4 hours of bar service.

Has anyone ever seen this done before?  Is it considered gauche?  Opinions, please!

sammycat

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Re: Paying for Bar Service at Reception
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2014, 12:59:17 AM »
I haven't seen it done at weddings, although I have at work-like functions.  I think the hosts of the wedding you attended came up with a good compromise.

Cash bars are pretty normal where I am, although most hosts will cover the cost of beer and wine. I very rarely drink alcohol so the presence, or not, of alcohol at a wedding makes no different to me (hate the taste), but I am curious as to why a venue would be anti hosted bars? Surely they'd make more money that way?

mrkitty

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Re: Paying for Bar Service at Reception
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2014, 01:30:11 AM »
This is just a guess, but I would imagine it has to do with local alcohol ordinances, maybe?
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Zizi-K

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Re: Paying for Bar Service at Reception
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2014, 09:06:26 AM »
If I went to a wedding and they had this kind of system, I would assume that they had to do it because of some rule or regulation. In my area, an open bar wouldn't cost anywhere near $70pp for 4 hours, it would be more like $25-$30, in which case it would not make better financial sense to pay per drink.

Texas Mom

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Re: Paying for Bar Service at Reception
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2014, 02:25:36 PM »
This is just a guess, but I would imagine it has to do with local alcohol ordinances, maybe?

It is, indeed.

DavidH

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Re: Paying for Bar Service at Reception
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2014, 02:47:25 PM »
From a cost standpoint, you would want to know about how much people drink.  If they are big drinkers, open bar may work better for you, if they are not, then the ticket system works.  I've only seen it at work functions, but so long as tickets are easy to get, I don't see a reason why you couldn't do it at a private function.  Since it is extra work for the host, I'd want to make sure I saved enough money to make it work. 

Lynn2000

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Re: Paying for Bar Service at Reception
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2014, 03:52:41 PM »
Sounds like a good way to have an open bar in reality, while not violating the venue's policies. I'm impressed the venue allowed it, though, since it seems like it would be more work for them (someone would have to total up every individual drink).

Remember the thread from a while ago, where the couple wanted only a limited alcohol selection (which the HC would pay for), but the venue insisted that they be able to display all their alcohol selection and would make a drink for cash upon request? So even though the couple had no intention of having a cash bar, if they went with this venue it was either pay for a completely open bar themselves, or pay for limited alcohol with a sort of "black market" cash bar on the side. I realize some people/places feel like they're strapped for venues, but just on principle I'd rather have my reception somewhere else, than have it somewhere that forced me to do something I really didn't want to.
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shhh its me

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Re: Paying for Bar Service at Reception
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2014, 04:03:05 PM »
If I went to a wedding and they had this kind of system, I would assume that they had to do it because of some rule or regulation. In my area, an open bar wouldn't cost anywhere near $70pp for 4 hours, it would be more like $25-$30, in which case it would not make better financial sense to pay per drink.
Here its less then that even.  You might see $70 per person if it included the food as well. 

Wintergreen

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Re: Paying for Bar Service at Reception
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2014, 02:35:04 PM »
Personally, I think the idea is fine (to have tokens). And even if it was to limit how much people drink, I still think it would be fine. However, I do think that non-alcohol options should still be easily available.

But this topic opened well my eyes why open bar is such common (and voted option) in USA. If it costs $25-$30 per person, I understand very well. I don't think the alcohol law allows here such open bar that you could just pay for set amount and people could drink as much as they wish for limited time. Open bar is basically only possible so that either HC sets price limit and each "purchase" from guest is reduced from that or that they just pay the bill afterwards. That 25-30 per person would amount for like 2, max 3 beers per person (and not any good beers, but just the basic lager). Very eye opening this was!

LtPowers

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Re: Paying for Bar Service at Reception
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2014, 10:47:20 AM »
But this topic opened well my eyes why open bar is such common (and voted option) in USA. If it costs $25-$30 per person, I understand very well. I don't think the alcohol law allows here such open bar that you could just pay for set amount and people could drink as much as they wish for limited time. Open bar is basically only possible so that either HC sets price limit and each "purchase" from guest is reduced from that or that they just pay the bill afterwards. That 25-30 per person would amount for like 2, max 3 beers per person (and not any good beers, but just the basic lager). Very eye opening this was!

US$10 for any beer is ridiculous.  Perhaps your dollar is worth less than the U.S. Dollar?


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Wintergreen

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Re: Paying for Bar Service at Reception
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2014, 01:28:09 PM »
But this topic opened well my eyes why open bar is such common (and voted option) in USA. If it costs $25-$30 per person, I understand very well. I don't think the alcohol law allows here such open bar that you could just pay for set amount and people could drink as much as they wish for limited time. Open bar is basically only possible so that either HC sets price limit and each "purchase" from guest is reduced from that or that they just pay the bill afterwards. That 25-30 per person would amount for like 2, max 3 beers per person (and not any good beers, but just the basic lager). Very eye opening this was!

US$10 for any beer is ridiculous.  Perhaps your dollar is worth less than the U.S. Dollar?


Powers  &8^]

I'm from Europe and current rate seems to be that 10 usd is 7.3 euros (from Google's rate). Last weekend I went to a burger restaurant (not fast food joint, but we are definitely not talking about fine dining here!). The most basic local beer 6/0.5l (8.2usd). Common imported beer (common as in available in most places, not rarity/special import) 7. Which is slightly less than 10 usd.

So yes, restaurant prices for beer are around 10 dollars, or even more. Pubs and bars can sell them bit cheaper as they sell a lot and grocery store prices are different matter altogether. But not that many people would be willing to throw a wedding in a pub/bar so restaurant prices are more relevant when talking about weddings.

Eve_Eire

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Re: Paying for Bar Service at Reception
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2014, 08:30:48 AM »
Personally, I think the idea is fine (to have tokens). And even if it was to limit how much people drink, I still think it would be fine. However, I do think that non-alcohol options should still be easily available.

But this topic opened well my eyes why open bar is such common (and voted option) in USA. If it costs $25-$30 per person, I understand very well. I don't think the alcohol law allows here such open bar that you could just pay for set amount and people could drink as much as they wish for limited time. Open bar is basically only possible so that either HC sets price limit and each "purchase" from guest is reduced from that or that they just pay the bill afterwards. That 25-30 per person would amount for like 2, max 3 beers per person (and not any good beers, but just the basic lager). Very eye opening this was!

Exactly the same here, my eyes have just been opened too.  I had no idea how reasonably priced a hosted bar is in the US.  In Ireland you would be bankrupted if you had to pay for everyone's drinks and there's no way any venue would allow you to just pay per person - each and every drink would be counted and paid for and it would be a lot!!

English1

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Re: Paying for Bar Service at Reception
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2014, 08:41:18 AM »
You can get drinks packages at most wedding reception places in the UK - but they are limited packages, and normally include something like a cocktail/glass of wine on arrival, a certain amount of wine with the meal (anywhere from one glass to a bottle per person), and then a glass of bubbly for the toasts. They usually cost more than the whole evening US package!

So it seems booze is a lot cheaper in the US, that helps explain the different attitude to who has to pay for it. Your $25 = 15 and would only buy 3 glasses of wine or spirit with mixer, or 4 beers (if they serve at standard pub prices that is, some venues charge more).

I've never heard of any venue offering unlimited drinks package.

I think we maybe also drink more per capita - not to mention it would be for people aged 18+ not 21+ and that adds to the number and cost.

lowspark

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Re: Paying for Bar Service at Reception
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2014, 09:54:50 AM »
<snip>

not to mention it would be for people aged 18+ not 21+ and that adds to the number and cost.

I thought I might comment on this. IDs are rarely checked at private parties. Unless someone is obviously maybe 12 years old, if they order a drink at an open bar at a wedding they will probably get served. So pretty much 18 year olds do drink at weddings. It's sort of like having a party at your house and serving liquor. No one's going to card anyone. The hosts sort of decide whom they are serving. So at a wedding for example, the implication is that anyone who's invited is allowed to drink.

I will qualify this by saying this is my experience. I don't know what the laws are or if there are any legal consequences for doing it this way but every private-affair open-bar event I've been to was this way.

shhh its me

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Re: Paying for Bar Service at Reception
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2014, 11:59:15 AM »
  I'm not sure we're comparing apples to apples.

I think the drinks portion of many US parties can be cheap but there is a separate bill for everyone and tips.  IE I might have to pay a venue fee just to have the room , the catering charge , the entertainment is separate , the center pieces are separate , chair covers are separate etc.

I don't think there is a bar/pub/restaurant that  I could take 100 people and say here's $2000 we want to drink for 5 hours. It's only with all those other fees that they charge $12-30 a person for alcoholic drinks.  I mean you can chose not to have dancing and not pay for that but those events are usually a bit shorter.  So yes I can pay $2200 for the bar bill (with tip) but I've also paid $5000-10,000 for dinner and $3000 to the DJ and $300 cake cutting and $500 for the center pieces $200 for chair-covers , $600 for apps and a glass of champagne at 6 , $400 for toasted cheese sandwiches at midnight and maybe $1500 just for use of the room.   I've never seen and open bar without either a dinner or lunch or very very heavy apps (as in $5000 for apps for 100 people) and/or a very high venue fee. I think really one club having a $5000 fee for the room before you do anything in it so you can do a cocktail party for 2 hours with normal apps and wine but you paid a lot to be in the room.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2014, 12:10:44 PM by shhh its me »