Post # 1
I am hoping you can all offer me your honest opinions. My FI and I are having a little over 200 people at our wedding. Unfortunately neither his family or mine can afford to help and so we are going to pay for everything ourselves.
I have read many magazines and bridal books that say having a cash bar is tacky and that no guest should have to pay for a drink at a wedding. FI and I were going to put a certain amount of money down on the bar and once it’s up, it would turn to cash but after reading all these things, I’m starting to feel extremely cheap. I wouldn’t want people to feel insulted or think badly of us because we didn’t open the bar all night.
We definitely want there to be alcohol and for people to be able to drink but our crowd likes to party and enjoys a good wedding so we know we won’t be able to afford them in respect to drinking. I can’t do just wine and beer because I don’t drink either (vodka tonic is really my beverage of choice). Do you think it’s horrible of us to only have open bar for a limited time? It should definitely make it through cocktail hour and possibly a little over.
Thanks – please feel free to be brutally honest!
Post # 3
Yes… I think it’s tacky. You are the party hosts. No one likes attending a party they have to pay for drinks (although, it’s understandable and no one will hate you forever).
To save on money, why don’t you serve beer and wine and ONE signature drink you’ll enjoy. That way, you save money and everyone will be happy.
Post # 4
Not at all! That is what we are doing as well. People shouldn’t expect to have open bar at weddings. They will have fun regardless of open bar. I think the time consumption is the next best thing.
Post # 5
We are in Boston also, and in the same boat. Only worse…we are questioning if we can even afford the one hour open bar. I feel terrible about it. We might change our minds on the hour, but no way we could ever do an all night open bar. Also, we do not want to be responsible for the people who may not make the best transportation choices after. Adding open bar all night may also requiring providing transportation afterwards to a hotel. (Another thig we can’t afford).
People are going to talk. It is definately not the popular choice as far as guests are concerned. We just have no other alternative.
Post # 6
I agree with Oracle. I mean, you wouldn’t charge people for drinks in your home. Wine, beer and a signature drink or two would be the best way to cut down on costs and still get you a vodka tonic
Post # 7
Brutal honesty? I think people will tell you it’s okay to have a cash bar, but I bet more than a few of your guests will grumble about it. Period.
Post # 8
I really think this depends on the part of the country you live in. Have you thought about hosting wine and beer, and then letting guests (and you) pay for liquor if they want that?
Post # 9
no i dont think so but I could be bias because i am getting married. some ppl will but you know what? its your wedding, and its what you can afford and im sure your venue will provide tea or coffee and they want to indudgle in some alcohol, they should be able to fork over some money for it
but really any wedding i have gone to, i probably got at max 2 drinks
Post # 10
A lot of people have some really strong opinions re: cash bars, and while I am doing an open bar, it is only because thankfully my parents are paying and are in a position where that is a possibility. I don’t think it’s right to judge people for not having a full open bar because it is expensive and not everyone can afford to do that, especially given the number of guests you’ll have. The words "cheap" and "tacky" are thrown around a lot and I don’t like that. It’s insulting and inappropriate. You are NOT cheap or tacky because you don’t have the budget for a full night of open bar and don’t let anyone or any stupid magazine make you feel that way!
I think doing an open bar for your cocktail hour and then a cash bar is totally fine – as long as people are aware that they will need to have cash on hand. Do that by word of mouth or a wedding web site, though, not on invitations. I rarely carry cash and I’ve been caught in cash bar situations where I’ve just bummed money for liquor off people all night – talk about cheap & tacky!
Post # 11
I agree with Oracle on the idea of a certain drink all night instead if that is possible for you? Like a certain beer and wine and all else is cash? If you think about it, your mixed drinks and such will rack up your free period where less expensive options like beer/wine can last much longer! Just do what you can and enjoy your big day! 🙂
Post # 12
Yes, I agree. Please do not use the words cheap and tacky. No bride wants to be told anything she is doing at her wedding is cheap or tacky. Especially when the choice is between an open bar or a honeymoon!
Post # 13
I feel for you. Honestly, I don’t care for cash bars, but I empathize for people who struggle to pay for all the things they feel are important.
1. Can you cut down the guest list at all? 200 is a lot. If you are paying, you parents can’t force you to invite their golf buddies or high school friends you haven’t met.
2. Is there anyway, to cut costs of the wedding anywhere else?
3. Don’t be afraid to offer wine and beer. You might not drink it, but a lot of your guests probably do. And it would be cheaper to do that and pay a little extra for your own drinks, than to just do an open bar. You could aslo do a signature drink.
3. If you have a limited bar, you could have it open during the cocktail hour, then for some length of time after dinner. Skip having it during dinner.
Other than that, what can you do? It would probably be worse for you to cut out people you really want there, just so the ones who didn’t get "kicked off the island" could have free drinks. Hopefully your guests will understand. Who knows if they’ll get the idea from the invitations that you’re throwing your own party?
Post # 14
Agreed with kittyachi — don’t like "cheap" or "tacky" being thrown around…very rude, even to yourself!
Post # 15
You know, I’ve only been to a few weddings were there was anything other than beer and wine and you pay for mixed drinks. I’m in KS so maybe things are different here. I certainly never expect unlimited drinks of whatever I want. I understand I’m going to a wedding, not a bar.
You can always just have beer and wine.
Post # 16
please don’t call yourself cheap or tacky. that’s a really tough situation and clearly you feel very badly about it. i know you said you don’t drink beer/wine, but the beer/wine/signature cocktail might be a good way to go. and having the open bar just during cocktail hour and having people pay for any drinks after that is not a bad idea. yes some people will grumble but what, can you be the only person in the world having a wedding with a cash bar for part of the event? whatever.
my friend recently went to a dry wedding (for religious reasons, i think) and the bride passed around the word beforehand to her friends to bring their own flasks of booze. of course that may not be your first preference, but i thought the bride was doing as well as she could in that situation.
hopefully your guests will know you well enough to understand that you’re in a financial situation that doesn’t allow all the generosity that you would like to offer, and give you a break.