Post # 1
- Wedding: September 2014 - Merritt Winery
Greetings Bees! Quick question…We are having alcohol at our wedding. However, we are only doing open bar during a few specific timeframes. We are having open bar during cocktail hour while we are getting pics taken. We are then going to cash bar during dinner. Going back to open after dinner for 2 more house. After that, cash bar. Should I make some sort of sign? Have the DJ announce? Let the bartenders worry about it and not think about it anymore? Or something else? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
Post # 2
rosegoldgirl: It’s going to be very confusing for your guests. “Am I a guest now? Or, is this the time we are going Dutch”?
If your guests know there is going to be an open bar again after dinner, they will likely just stock up on drinks before the open bar is shut down for dinner. Ditto for later on the evening when the 2 hrs of open bar are coming to an end.
The drinkers in your crowd will simply have numerous drinks lined up in front of them on their table, to last until open bar starts again, or till the end of the night.
If you are doing this for financial reasons, I suggest just offering what you can afford.
Post # 3
As the host you should serve what you can afford, even if that means closing the bar to anything alcoholic after cocktail hour. You can always serve a glass of wine or champagne to the table during dinner, or reopen the bar later. Since you are asking as a matter of etiquette, cash bars are considered inappropriate.
Post # 4
Put a sign at the bar.
I do agree that it’s confusing and that most guests will probably just stock up on drinks during the open bar hours (or at least the smart ones).
Also, if you have a website, I’d put a note on it that the bar will be open for portions of the evening and for guests to bring cash if they’d like to purchase drinks at other times. I never think to bring $$ to weddings so having a heads up would definitely be helpful.
Post # 5
- Wedding: August 2013 - Wynn Las Vegas
You are going to need a sign, because that is pretty strange.
Post # 6
Hoo, confusing! I would definitely put a sign up, but I totally agree with PP. I would totally stock up on the drinkies to tide me over until the next open bar.
Post # 7
Thats strange and very confusing. Even with a sign, I’d be inclined to drink during the open bar hours and not during the cash bar hours.
I wouldn’t leave this with the bartenders, why should they have to make your guests feel uncomfortable by saying.. ‘Oh by the way, that’s $10 now, not free’.
Post # 8
I think it’s really confusing. Why not just have an open bar during the cocktail and dinner portion and leave the rest of the evening as a cash bar.
Post # 9
My suggestion is to make it one big 4 hour open bar rather than 2 separate open bar things. That’ll be less confusing to guests.
Post # 10
I agree that it is confusing. Although having the bar shut down (or cahs) during dinner is fairly common around here. However to “shut it down” AGAIN later in the evening seems weird and honestly that’s probably when I’d go home. Maybe you can make it cash bar until after dinner? Get the same amount of hours without going back and forth?
Post # 11
I would let the DJ announce it. I’ve heard of cash bar during dinner or only wine offered during dinner. I haven’t heard of so much back and forth otherwise though. Like a PP said, I’d rush to the bar before it closed, get a couple glasses of wine and enjoy that until it opened again.
Post # 12
Not that many people get drinks during dinner (especially if there’s wine at the table). If you can afford it, I would recommend hosting during dinner, but on a consumption basis, and not doing cash bar till the end. For this it would be nice if there was a note on your website and a sign at the bar.
Post # 13
I would just do open bar for cocktail, and cash bar for reception. That is really really confusing.
Post # 14
- Wedding: May 2015 - Walnut Hill Bed & Breakfast
I’d skip the cash bar. It’ll be confusing and may upset people. I think it is normal for the bar to be closed durring dinner (usually a DJ announces that it’ll be closing and again when it re-opens). If you can only afford 2 hours of an open bar… just close the bar after that then. You could also consider a beer/wine only bar which can be more addfordable.
Post # 15
The fact that your wedding is at a winery makes this setup even weirder. Why not close the bar altogether during dinner and just have wine service or wine on the tables? That’s totally normal.
In fact, here’s what I would do:
Cocktail hour open bar
Wine during dinner
After dinner, just beer and wine, or maybe also add a signature cocktail.
That should help with the budget and also eliminate the cash bar, which is no bueno.