Wedding Bar Styles: Which is Right for You?

Photo via Alexandria Monette Photography

There is more to serving alcohol at your wedding than just hiring a bartender and putting them to work. You need to decide exactly what style of bar you are going to choose. There are a variety of bar-style choices, and there is a pretty big range in cost between the different options. If you are trying to figure out which bar style to go with, read on to learn about your different options and the benefits of each.


Open Bar

This is one of the most popular bar styles. With an open bar, you’ll pay a flat rate, which is typically calculated by looking at how many people are at your celebration and how long the bar will be open. Guests are free to order as many drinks as they’d like. This style can be pricier, but in order to cut down on costs, you can limit how long the bar is open. Typically, an open bar will include your basic bar offerings: a few beer and wine choices, different types of liquor, and mixers. That being said, you could customize the offerings to cut down on costs or cater to what you know your guests will like.


Consumption Bar

With a consumption bar, rather than playing a flat rate, you pay per drink. Essentially, you are opening a tab for everyone at your celebration, and you’ll pay the price for each drink. A consumption bar can make couples a little uneasy since you won’t know exactly what the bill will come out to until the end of the night. However, for celebrations that are smaller or don’t have a lot of drinkers, this could be the way to go. Generally, with a consumption bar, you’ll have the same basic bar offerings that you’d have with an open bar, but you can customize to fit your needs.


Cash Bar

A cash bar is the most budget-friendly for the couple, but it can be controversial. With a cash bar, guests pay for their own drinks. If you choose to do a cash bar, make sure it is clear on the invitation so that guests are prepared to pay for their drinks.


White Bar

A white bar limits the selection of alcohol, but still provides enough variety for different tastes. As you might guess by the name, with a white bar, bartenders serve white alcohol options – like gin, vodka, white rum, and white wine. A white bar can be done in an open bar, consumption bar, or cash bar payment format.


Soft Bar

A soft bar doesn’t serve hard liquor – there will typically just be beer, red and white wine, and champagne. This is a great way to cut down on costs while still having great drinks to toast with! As with a white bar, a soft bar can be done with any of the three payment styles mentioned above.


Dry Bar

If you don’t drink alcohol, you may choose to go for a dry bar. Dry bars can still be fun and festive – you can provide a variety of sodas, bubbly water, tea, coffee, juice, or whatever you’d like! Of course, since you don’t have to pay for alcohol, it is an incredibly cost-effective option. You can also easily do a self-serve bar rather than hiring a bartender, which will cut down on costs even more.


If you are in the process of planning your wedding, come to the next Georgia Bridal Show near you. You will have the chance to meet with professional wedding vendors of all talents who can help bring your vision to life!


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