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Which Wedding Bar Service Type is Best For You?

When it comes to planning your wedding, we may be biased, but we would advise for the catering and wedding bar service to be two of your top priorities! Both of these aspects directly impact the overall guest experience and are often among the top three things that your loved ones will remember about your wedding. 

We recently compared our event catering service styles to help you decide whether you should have a buffet, plated meal, or other service type for your wedding catering. Now, in this post, we will break down the differences between the various wedding bar service types to help you select the best beverage service for you! 

We would first encourage you to reflect on past weddings and events that you’ve attended as a guest. No matter if the event had a cash bar, beer and wine bar, or a fully open bar, what was your experience like? Did the bar have your drink of choice available? Was it easy and convenient to get your drink? Thinking about your personal experience at events is a great starting point when deciding upon your own wedding bar service. 

Cash Bar

The first wedding bar service type that we will explore is the cash bar. Cash bars tend to have a negative reputation because just like the name says, it requires guests to pay cash for their drinks. We wouldn’t dismiss a cash bar though just for that reason! 

A cash bar can be a great way to limit the overall cost of the event and safeguard against guests overdrinking. Since your guests would be paying for their own drinks onsite, you won’t have to worry about finding room in your budget for the bar expenses. 

Further, guests will be inherently discouraged from overindulging because they will need to pay for whatever drinks they wish to consume. Guests may not want to spend that much money out of pocket on the event day, which thereby limits the amount that they will drink. 

This can grant event hosts peace of mind, especially if you are having a daytime event! 

Here at John Michael Events, we can easily set up a cash bar at your event! This will include beer, wine, and a full liquor bar along with soft drinks, sparkling water, and bottled water. We will set out a sign on the day of to indicate the cash bar prices to guests and we will handle the money transaction while serving them top notch drinks! 

Cash Bar Pros:

  • Event hosts do not need to pay for guests’ drinks. 
  • Can help prevent guests from overdrinking
  • Great for daytime events! 

Cash Bar Cons:

  • Cash bar get a bad rep because guests need to pay for their own drinks 

Beer and Wine Open Bar

The next wedding bar service type we’ll discuss is a beer and wine open bar. Just like it sounds, this wedding bar service style involves serving your guests beer and wine only. 

With this wedding bar service type, the event host takes on the cost of the bar instead of the guests. This is typically priced per person. 

With our John Michael Events’ beer and wine open bar package, we include red and white wine varietals, Bud Light, Corona, and Yuengling bottled beers, served unlimited for up to 5 hours for a per person price. 

When considering this type of wedding bar service, we advise you to consider the age and drinking preference of your guests. Are they a younger crowd who may prefer liquor options? Or does your guest list consist mostly of older adults, who may be lighter drinkers? 

Beer and Wine Bar Pros:

  • More budget-friendly since you are not paying for any liquor
  • Great way to serve alcohol while discouraging heavy drinking 

Beer and Wine Bar Cons:

  • Event host is fully responsible for the bar costs 
  • Need to consider your guests and if they would prefer liquor options

Full Liquor Open Bar 

The last, and most popular, wedding bar service type is the full liquor open bar. This option entails the event host serving and paying for any type of drink that guests would like, including beer, wine, and a variety of hard liquors. 

At John Michael Events, our full liquor open bar includes 5 hours of unlimited service of the following: 

  • Red and white wine varietals
  • Bud Light, Corona, and Yuengling bottled beers 
  • Absolut vodka
  • Bacardi rum
  • Seagram’s whiskey
  • Beefeater’s gin
  • Jim Beam bourbon 

We also provide soft drinks, sparkling water, bottled water, all the necessary mixers and garnishes, ice, cocktail napkins, snack mix, and all bar tools and equipment needed. With this wedding bar service type, you get everything you could possibly need for the bar, all in one package! 

Open bars are ideal for nighttime wedding receptions or other events, where the primary intent is to celebrate and have a good time. For instance, if you’re planning a nighttime corporate gala where the main intent is for speakers to present information, you may want to consider a beer and wine only bar. 

We would again encourage you to consider your guests’ demographics. An open bar is priced per person, so if you know the majority of your guests like to drink and prefer liquor options, this is the clear choice for you! However, if only a small percentage of your guests prefer liquor drinks, then you may want to consider a cash or beer and wine only bar. 

Open Bar Pros:

  • A full bar would be available to serve your guests any drink they can think of! 
  • Great for nighttime events, as open bars encourage a party atmosphere.

Open Bar Cons:

  • Event host is fully responsible for the bar costs 
  • Need to consider if your guests are responsible and if they would overindulge 

Bar Add-Ons

A cash bar, beer and wine bar, and a liquor open bar are the 3 main wedding bar service types. Now let’s talk about your customization options with add-ons! 

Bar Glassware:

At John Michael Events, you have the option to add bar glassware to your bar and beverage setup. We offer wine glasses, rocks glasses, pilsner glasses, martini glasses, and champagne flutes in this add-on.  

Champagne Toast:

Perfect for weddings, our champagne toast add-on includes your choice of sweet asti spumante or dry brut champagne. Our serving staff will pour and serve the champagne on the day of the event, making for seamless service.

Mimosa Bar: 

A great addition to our brunch menu, our mimosa bar includes orange juice, cranberry juice and your choice of peach or pear juice with garnishes of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries mimosas served in clear hard plastic tumblers. There is the option to upgrade the tumblers to glass flutes as well. You provide the champagne, we supply the juices and cups, and your guests enjoy! It’s as simple as that! 

Bloody Mary Bar:

Another wonderful add-on to our brunch menu, our bloody mary bar is the perfect complement to any wedding bar service type! This would include tomato juice, clamato juice, lemons, limes, celery sticks, olives, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, salt, pepper and hot sauce served in clear hard plastic tumblers. You do have the option to upgrade the tumblers to glassware. Like the mimosa bar, you provide the vodka and we take care of the rest! 

Have Questions About Our Wedding Bar Service? 

John Michael Events is an experienced Orlando wedding and event caterer, specializing in serving all types of events, from weddings to social events to corporate events. We offer all-inclusive wedding packages that not only include event catering, but also the additional vendors you’ll need to throw the perfect wedding or event! Twice a quarter, we are proud to host “A Taste of John Michael,” a one-of-a-kind group tasting experience, where clients are invited to sample a variety of our delicacies.

Ready to book the best catering in Orlando? Contact our team by hitting the button below. We would love to chat with you!

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