29 Oct

Why An Open Bar?

Although a wedding reception is an event designed to focus on the marriage of two people, it’s important to maintain a lively party atmosphere in which your guests can socialize and enjoy themselves on their own. Good food and good music are essential ingredients in an evening for all to treasure, but a little social lubricant in the form of beverages doesn’t hurt either. However, some couples find it difficult to decide whether they’ll set up an open bar at their reception venue or if a different approach is more appropriate for their celebration.

Why An Open Bar?

The obvious appeal of an open bar is that your guests will be thrilled. Providing free access to drinks is a means of keeping your guests cheerful. Enjoying a drink or two can mean the difference between someone being a silent wallflower and being the life of the party on the dance floor. The joyous mood fostered by an open bar may make the opportunity worthwhile.

In many cases couples may think the downside to an open bar is the expense, but each of our Special Occasion packages offers a different level of bar service (each package having the option to upgrade to a more premium bar experience for a small per person fee) included in the per person costs for the food and beverage of your reception. Not only does this help keep costs at a more manageable level, but it also provides you with great selections to offer your guests.


Types of Bars

Open Bar

This bar is paid for by the host and guests are welcome to drink whatever they would like the entire night in any amount. Open bars have two terms of payment. Bar service can be purchased in advance on a per person basis allowing you the freedom as host to take care of the financial commitment up front and work off a set price, regardless of how much guests consume. Each of Kahn’s Catering’s Special Occasion Packages have an open bar built into the package to bring an ease in planning by having the per person bar cost rolled into the overall cost per person to meet your food and beverage minimum. The other form of open bar is a consumption bar.

© Nyk + Cali, Wedding Photographers

While still paid for by the host, the total of the beverage bill for consumption bars will be unknown until after the event and beverage inventory is taken. Reason being is that each beverage your guests select have a cost associated with them. For example if a person orders a beer, their drink will cost $4.00 while the cost of a mixed drink is $7.50. Your guests’ total consumption for the night is tracked to determine the amount you’ll pay. This type of bar has its positives and benefits. If you happen to have a crowd that enjoys taking part in libations you can have a gratuitous beverage invoice to pay for following your event, or your beverage invoice will total less than the per person cost of an open bar. On consumption bars have a required minimum sales that must be met. If the minimum is not met, the host will pay the difference. As host, only you will really know your guests and can make the best assumption about what bar option is right for you. For the budget conscious couple, consumption bars could make or break your budget.

Cash Bar

The second type of bar in the wedding beverage conversation worth mentioning is a cash bar. Paid for entirely by your guests, the host will only be responsible for payment if bar minimum sales are not met. A cash bar is not at all the party killer that you may have been led to believe. Defraying some of your expenses by asking that everyone pay for their own drinks is perfectly acceptable, and your guests will understand. They’re your loved ones, after all! If you are worried about your guests’ beverage consumption, this is one way to keep things manageable by putting the responsibility to purchase drinks on your guests.

© Nyk + Cali, Wedding Photographers

Alternatives to A Traditional Open Bar

Kahn’s Catering offer three ‘traditional’ open bars, one features beer, wine and soft drinks (Vineyard Bar), while the other two offer a differing mixture of beer, wine, liquor and bar garnishes (Kahn’s Bar and Connoisseur Club Bar) for their respective bar levels. If offering a traditional open bar is not part of your overall wedding vision, there are options available to you! We aim to keep each of our events filled with unique aspects by offering a variety of options to choose from. In keeping with the host-paid beverage service, alcohol specialty bars are also available in an open bar style format. Choose from a Champagne Bar or a Martini Bar. View our beverage packages.




Non-Alcoholic Bar Options

Perhaps offering a full bar just isn’t the character of your group, have no fear… We still have bar options for you. A Sunday brunch wedding just might not get the best use out of a traditional open bar and alternatives need to be considered. Choose from an Italian Soda Station (an event specialist favorite!), Ice Shaken Coffee Bar, Premium Coffee Bar, or Hot Chocolate Bar. Each still provide your guests with a unique open bar beverage experience and creates an added element of fun for your event making it more memorable.


Trust us, the Italian Soda Bar will be a hit. Not only is it absolutely delicious, it is always loved and fully customizable to your guests’ beverage preference. They can choose the types of syrups and combinations used to create their own unique soda beverage.

Choose the Best Option for Your Event

If you’re still feeling unsure, a conversation with your event specialist will help you determine what type of arrangement is right for you. Again, only you truly know your guests and our expertise can only go so far. As the caterer of popular landmark event venues in Indianapolis we have held thousands of events believe we have ‘seen it all’ from open bars to cash bars, and everything in between. Take advantage of the event specialists’ team’s experience and ask questions; with their assistance, you can ensure that your wedding reception is both affordable and as special as possible.



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