top of page

Bar ideas and expenses: open bar, partially open bar, or paid

Planning your wedding or event is an exciting journey filled with countless details to consider. One of the significant decisions is how to handle the bar service. Will you opt for an open bar, a partially open bar, or a paid bar? In this guide, we'll explore these options and provide insights into managing the expenses. Plus, we'll share some unique event bar ideas to elevate your celebration.

Understanding Your Options: Open Bar, Partially Open Bar, and Paid Bar

1. Open Bar: Cheers to Generosity


- Guests enjoy unlimited drinks without worrying about costs.

- Encourages a relaxed and joyful atmosphere.

- Shows appreciation for your guests' presence.


- Can be expensive, as you'll be covering all the drink costs.

- Some guests might overindulge.

2. Partially Open Bar: A Middle Ground


- You cover some drinks (e.g., wine and beer) while guests pay for premium options.

- Offers flexibility and cost control.

- Ensures variety in the drink menu.


- Guests might not fully understand which drinks are included.

- Requires clear communication.

3. Paid Bar: Budget-Friendly Elegance


- Guests pay for their drinks, which can significantly reduce your expenses.

- Encourages responsible drinking.

- Allows you to allocate your budget elsewhere.


- Some guests may find it less convenient.

- Limited selection for guests not willing to pay.

Effectively Managing Bar Expenses

Establish a Budget:

Determine how much you're willing to spend on the bar service. This will guide your decisions on which drinks to include and how the bar will be structured.

Transparent Communication:

Whether you choose an open or partially open bar, communicate the details clearly to your guests. Signs, announcements, and information cards can help avoid misunderstandings.

Signature Cocktails:

Consider offering a couple of signature cocktails that represent you and your partner. These can be a hit without breaking the bank.

Non-Alcoholic Options:

Don't forget about guests who don't drink alcohol. Offer a variety of non-alcoholic beverages to cater to everyone.

Unique Event Bar Ideas: Adding a Touch of Magic

Mixology Stations:

Set up interactive cocktail stations where guests can create their own drinks.

Local and Craft Brews:

Feature local breweries and craft beers for a unique and personalized bar experience.

Mocktail Bar:

Offer a selection of creative non-alcoholic cocktails for designated drivers and non-drinkers.

Vintage Bar:

Decorate your bar area with vintage glassware, old-fashioned drinks, and a touch of nostalgia.

Themed Bars:

Match your bar to your wedding or event theme, whether it's a beachy tiki bar or a rustic whiskey bar.

Quirky Touches:

Consider adding playful and unique elements to your bar, like themed decorations – a whimsical addition that will make your bar unforgettable.

In the end, the choice between an open bar, partially open bar, or paid bar depends on your budget, your guests, and the atmosphere you want to create. Whichever option you choose, remember that it's just one piece of the puzzle that makes your celebration unique and memorable. Cheers to a fantastic event!


bottom of page