Understanding Bar Packages for my South Asian Wedding

Most venues offer beverage packages in 2 ways: per person or consumption

Per Person – pay a flat rate for every guest. Every venue has tiered packages, think — silver, gold, diamond. The beverage selections and prices correspond.

Consumption – exactly as the name implies, pay for drinks consumed. Just like when you go to a bar or restaurant and pay for the drinks you buy.

For pretty much ALL South Asian weddings we recommend consumption bars vs. per person. Typically there are a significant number of guests that won’t drink alcohol at all so paying per person is waste of money.

After studying several venues’ drink packages we found that, in general, every guest at your event would have to drink 4-5 drinks to make the per person package worth it. Every single person.

I know what you’re thinking. “My homies (or my fiancés homies) could make up for all those other people that won’t drink – if that’s really true – then go for the per person!”

Unfortunately, venues don’t offer per person packages just for a portion of guests because there’s no way to for them to track that.

How Consumption Bars Work

You’ll set a limit upfront. Here are some guides to help you estimate.

  1. how many guests will drink? not drink?
  2. How many alcohol drinks will each person have? Here you can go deeper, separating out friends vs. uncles/aunties etc.
  3. How many non-alcoholic drinks will each person have?
  4. use these numbers to estimate: $7/non-alcoholic & $10/drink
  5. now you have an idea of how much your bar will cost 🙂

So, before your event, you’ll tell the venue the bar tab limit. As the events progress that day, and the bar approaches the limit, someone from the venue will approach you (or whomever you’ve designated) and ask how to proceed. At that point you can:

a. increase the limit
b. convert to a cash bar
c. convert to serve only certain drinks
d. shut down the bar

If you’ve done a good job estimating then you shouldn’t have to increase the limit by too much.

Let us know if you found this helpful. It helps us create more useful guides for you!

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Cover image: Aaron Eye Photography

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