Having An Open Bar? What You Need To Know

You’ve found the perfect venue to host your wedding, you’ve picked out your dress and you’re thinking about the flowers. But there’s one incredibly important aspect of wedding planning that shouldn’t be overlooked: the bar.


If you want to have to have an unforgettable celebration that your guests just can’t stop talking about, your bar is absolutely crucial. As Luxury Wedding Planners in London, we certainly know a thing or two about the different types of bar options available but today we’re talking all about an open bar. Keep on reading if you want to find out exactly what an open bar at your wedding will entail…


So, what exactly is an open bar? Let us explain! An open bar is exactly what is says on the tin. You pay a standard fee and your guests don’t have to do anything but enjoy it!


Often couples will have an open bar that lasts for a certain amount of time, similarly to a cocktail hour, while other couples will have an open bar or the duration of the reception and evening party.



Open bars have become a fundamental part of many wedding receptions, but they can also become quite stressful if you don’t know what you’re taking on – particularly when you are catering for such a large group of people. For a successful and efficient open bar, it is vital that there are enough staff. This will ensure that service is first-class, there isn’t a huge queue and that each individual drink is of high quality. The result? Happy guests and an epic event! Many caterers or companies will provide bartenders to couples who are having an open bar and can also take care of the logistics.


While the alcohol itself will be the biggest expense by far, there will be a few other costs that you need to include. Ensure you work staffing into your wedding budget, as well as insurance and any extras that may be required. Double-check with your venue whether or not insurance is required to serve alcohol. Don’t forget, you’ll need to buy non-alcoholic drinks, ice and garnishes – not to mention the glassware rental.  When it comes to providing your guests with garnishes, make sure you have mixers, lemon, limes etc. added to your open bar list. You will also need to consider how you will be getting the alcohol to your venue – will the supplier deliver it, or is this something you will have to organise yourselves?


You can really personalise your open bar to suit you. Whether you keep it simple with beer and wine or go all out with signature cocktails. You can even create a theme for your open bar, depending on the style of your celebration. If you’re tying the knot in the summer, opt for fruiter, lighter drinks. For couples planning a classic black-tie affair, consider serving whiskey or premium champagne. The choice is yours, but as a general rule we recommend stocking a selection of wine, beer, spirits and fizz to ensure everyone’s drinking preferences are catered for.


Your guests can relax and enjoy your open bar knowing they don’t have to carry cash with them and it’ll also avoid the chance of queues while paying. Ensure you indicate on your invitations that is an open bar so that your guests know well in advance.


We suggest using a formula to calculate how much stock you will need for your open bar. Base it on your guest count, the number of hours that your bar will be open and how many toasts you’re planning on having during the breakfast and reception. While these numbers don’t have to be set in stone, they will be very helpful to use as a rough guide. If anything, make sure you have too much rather than too little. Running out of alcohol is not how you want your wedding day to be remembered!


Now you’re completely clued up on open bars, read our guide on how you can host an incredible cocktail hour right here! If you are looking for a modern, design-led wedding planner to take care of your special day, get in touch with us now.

Aleeka Events provide 'Luxury Wedding Planning and Event Design/Styling' services. We are located in the UK, and specialise in creating modern, stylish, design-led and luxury event designs, for discerning clients with impeccable tastes. Each event is bespoke and personalised to you! Want to know more? Get in touch now for a complimentary consultation over here.