Is it Better to Have an Open Bar at Your Wedding or Not?

When planning a wedding, caterers in Philadelphia have been asked over and over again – is having an open bar actually going to make my wedding better, or is this one tradition that can afford to be skipped? It’s a question that will largely depend on the tastes of the bride and groom, and will also depend on the venue in which you are holding your wedding.

If cost is a large concern for your wedding, a cash bar may be a more budget-friendly option. The number one reason why couples opt out of an open bar is cost, and if your guest list is long, the open bar can be a massive toll on your finances. Many couples also state that they believe that the open bar is a distraction; you might find your guests more interested in hanging out at the bar and collecting free drinks than watching the cake cutting or the bouquet toss.

The most popular alternative to an open bar is a cash bar, one in which guests are expected to cover the costs of all their drinks, alcoholic or not. While this option is certainly easier on the budget than an open bar, services providing catering in Philadelphia have noticed that guests tend to leave earlier when drinks are costly, and many may even miss out on the first dance. Guests also may be discouraged by the price tag of drinks—especially if they had to travel a long way to share your special day.

So, if you’re on a budget should you have an open bar?

Our recommendation is to meet in the middle and choose a limited bar. At a limited bar, guests have the option to choose between non-alcoholic sodas, one or two beer options, a red and a white wine, and a “signature” cocktail designed by the bride and the groom. This way, you are able to control the amount spent on alcohol, as well as providing guests with the option to drink for free. It’s a happy medium that most guests are more than delighted with, and can add a nice unique personal touch to your big day!