Should we have an Open Bar at our Wedding? Bridal Questions Answered

The decision to have an open bar at a wedding is a personal one and will depend on various factors, such as budget, guest preferences, and cultural or religious considerations. As a wedding planner, I always encourage couples to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to have an open bar at your wedding:


  1. Increased Guest Enjoyment: An open bar can contribute to a fun and festive atmosphere, allowing guests to let loose and enjoy themselves. It can also be a great way to show your guests that you appreciate their presence and want them to have a good time.
  2. Generosity: Having an open bar can also be seen as a gesture of generosity towards your guests. It shows that you are willing to spend more money to ensure their comfort and enjoyment, and can be a way to express gratitude for their attendance.
  3. Convenience: With an open bar, guests do not have to worry about carrying cash or cards to pay for drinks. This can be especially convenient for out-of-town guests who may not have access to local currency or credit cards.
  4. More Social Interaction: An open bar can encourage social interaction between guests who may not know each other well. It can be an icebreaker and help guests loosen up and mingle.


  1. Cost: One of the main drawbacks of having an open bar is the cost. Alcoholic beverages can be expensive, especially if you have a large guest list. An open bar can quickly eat into your wedding budget and may not be feasible for some couples.
  2. Liability: Another consideration is the potential liability that comes with serving alcohol. If guests consume too much alcohol, they may become intoxicated and may be at risk of accidents or causing damage to property. It is important to ensure that you have liability insurance and that your bartenders are trained to recognize and handle guests who may have had too much to drink.
  3. Cultural or Religious Considerations: Some cultures or religions prohibit the consumption of alcohol, and it is important to respect these beliefs when planning your wedding. If you have guests who do not drink, consider providing non-alcoholic alternatives or limiting the open bar to certain hours or types of drinks.
  4. Excessive Drinking: While an open bar can be a fun and festive addition to your wedding, it can also lead to excessive drinking and behavior that may be inappropriate or offensive. It is important to set limits and ensure that guests are drinking responsibly.

If you do decide to have an open bar, there are some ways to control costs and minimize potential problems. Consider limiting the selection of drinks to a few options or certain types of alcohol. You could also have the bar open for a limited amount of time, such as during cocktail hour or for a set number of hours during the reception. Additionally, having a signature drink or two can be a fun and cost-effective way to offer something special to your guests without breaking the bank.

In conclusion, the decision to have an open bar at your wedding is a personal one that should be made based on your budget, guest preferences, and cultural or religious considerations. While an open bar can contribute to a fun and festive atmosphere, it can also be expensive and potentially problematic. By weighing the pros and cons and implementing strategies to control costs and minimize risks, you can ensure that your wedding is enjoyable and memorable for everyone.

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