Featured Photo by O’Malley Photographers

When it comes to planning a dream worthy wedding, sometimes it can feel like there are a million decisions to make. Brides are tasked with planning the guest list, finding a dress, picking a color scheme, and not to mention, deciding on whether or not to have an open bar. While this may seem like a big decision, it is definitely not something that needs to be stressed over. Here are a few things to consider when choosing to have an open bar or a cash bar.

Wedding Size

Depending on the number of guests attending your wedding, an open bar can go from affordable to outrageously expensive very quickly. If you are having a smaller wedding with your closest family and friends, an open bar might fit well within your budget, but if you invite everyone you know, the price might turn out to be more than you can handle. To avoid being blind-sided by the cost, talk with the venue before-hand to get an estimate.

Who Is Bartending?


When it comes to free alcohol, as long as it comes from a trusted source, most people aren’t super picky about where it comes from.. Some venues will only allow alcohol to be served by their employees, but if that is not the case, get creative! Consider buying alcohol and mixers in bulk from a wholesaler like Costco or Total Wine.. Instead of paying through the roof for a professional bartender, you might want to hire someone you know to work the bar. College students often charge reasonably, and they appreciate the opportunity.

What is Being Served?


Although it might seem trendy to offer specialty cocktails at your wedding, hard liquor and experienced bartenders will drive up your bill exponentially. By serving only beer and wine, you can satisfy your guests while keeping the price down.

Style of Wedding

Depending on the style of wedding, you might not even need a bartender at all. For a fun, backyard style wedding, consider buying a variety of wines, beers, alcohols and mixers to keep in a cooler and allowing guests to serve themselves. Dress up this option by mixing up some signature sangrias and keeping them in glass pitchers, or keep it casual by featuring a keg of beer.

Time of Day

With the popularity of morning weddings on the rise, many people are questioning whether or not to have an open bar at such an early time. Since most people avoid drinking traditional alcohol until later in the day, do not offer an unlimited menu. Instead, opt for a few specialty cocktails to serve like Bloody Marys, mimosas, and champagne.

Don’t Let People Sway Your Decision

Photo Credit: Blane Marable

Most importantly, don’t worry too much about what the guests will think. It doesn’t matter which style of bar you pick, it is impossible to please everybody. This is your wedding and you get to call the shots. If you want an open bar, then have an open bar! However, if an open bar will send you over budget and cause you stress, it is not worth it. Ultimately, your guests are there to see you get married, not to use you for free alcohol.

Our purpose at Weddings in Athens is to show the outstanding selection of Athens, Georgia wedding vendors such as wedding photographers, videographers, florists, wedding planners and venues. We hope that our information will be helpful to you as you plan your Athens, Georgia wedding. Please contact Weddings in Athens if you would like to have your listing added. Please follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/weddingsinathens.

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