Self Expression Magazine

Should I Have an Open Bar at My Wedding?

By Therealsupermum @TheRealSupermum

Should I Have an Open Bar at My Wedding?

While planning your wedding, you may be tempted to have an open bar that will allow guests to enjoy the drinks of their choosing. However, a reception party that includes heavy drinking can be a bad idea for many reasons. Not only can the party become expensive, but you may be held liable if one of your guests gets in an accident. Before you decide to have an open bar at your wedding reception, consider the following.


An open bar can be extremely expensive. While you can choose to hire a bartender for the wedding, who supplies the alcohol and charges according to what is served, it can still be outrageous. Others may opt to have a family member play bartender, but it can still be expensive to supply the alcohol for a large group of people.


Many people are unaware that if someone gets drunk at a function you host and then gets hurt or killed after leaving the party, you become liable. When hosting an open bar at your wedding, it will be up to you to make sure your guests not only drink responsibly, but get home safely. Another liability you may face is alcohol being served to underage children. While a hired bartender should be carding anyone that orders a drink, it may not happen. If you have a family member play bartender, they may have no idea how to judge the age of the guests.


If you want to serve alcohol, the best option is to serve wine or Champagne during the reception dinner. Not only does this ensure that the guests don’t over indulge, but children will also be less likely to consume alcohol. Last, but certainly not least, serving wine and Champagne can be much more affordable than an open bar. Another idea, if you choose to serve a buffet rather than a served dinner, is to have an alcoholic punch, but you will want to monitor consumption.

The simple truth is an open bar is not only expensive, but can be dangerous. If you’re going to serve an open bar, opt to hire a bartender and understand your liabilities. Remember that serving wine and Champagne is not only more traditional, but a lot classier than mixed drinks. It can also be less expensive. Best of all, it’s an easier way to monitor the consumption of alcohol by those that tend to over indulge and those that are underage.

About the Author: Kyle Antes had an open bar at his wedding and had no problems but knows others who wished they’d never had alcohol at all. It’s not so much a worry about the number of alcohol calories you’ll consume at a special event, but how that alcohol will impact your judgment (or the judgment of those around you). When in doubt, err on the side of caution.

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