(Closed) Cash Bar/Open Bar

posted 10 years ago in Food
Post # 3
Member
192 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

We are only paying for 1 keg of tapped beer during our reception. Everything else is a cash bar. This is a huge deal for us as my FI is in law enforcement and sees what happens to people under the influence. We look at it as it’s celebration, not a reason to get drunk. We are also having a champagne toast. But no wine on the tables.

Post # 4
Member
105 posts
Blushing bee

This varies by region as to what is acceptable. Most people will agree that a cash bar is to be avoided. In addtion to wine with dinner, can  you have a limited open bar? (beer/wine/specialty cocktail)

Post # 5
Member
311 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

We’re doing champagne toast and an open bar – just a basic bar (beer, wine, vodka, gin, rum, tequila).  Our place charges $15/person plus tax for 4 hour open bar, and we figured paying by consumption would probably end up being at least that much.

I think two bottles of wine per table would definitely be nice if open bar is too expensive.  I’m not a fan of cash bars – I don’t usually bring cash to weddings. 

Post # 6
Member
25 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2008

 

<p class=”MsoNormal”>I hear ya on the exorbitant cost of an open bar, we wouldn’t be able to afford it all night either.  A lot depends on your venue’s pricing for alcohol, ex. per drink or per person, etc.  I agree with maple, about avoiding a cash bar if possible.  Our solution was to offer beer and wine throughout most of the reception (maybe not during the last hour), and only doing liquor and mixed drinks during the cocktail hour.  I also like your idea of two bottles of wine at each table, you could even print up some cute labels with a monogram or picture of the two of you to personalize it!

Post # 7
Member
34 posts
Newbee

Two bottles/table, assuming 8-10 people at a table, is more than sufficient, also keep in mind that some people don’t drink.  This sounds like a better option than just being offered a glass of wine.  If this is all you can afford, leave it at that-don’t do a cash bar!

 We are doing a full open bar, along with a champagne toast, and we are toying with the idea of buying cases of champagne as well since FI and I are big champagne drinkers.  However, we are younger and having an extensive open bar is far more common among our age group
than other weddings I’ve attended.

 

 

Post # 8
Member
2293 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

We are doing a full open bar, and a champagne toast.  The bar is providing the liquor and beer; we are bringing in our own wine, as my cousins have a winery and have given us a really good price by the case.  I expect that most people will drink liquor or mixed drinks only during the cocktail hour, and switch to wine at dinner.  There are really only a few folks in our crowd that tend to drink a lot, and they are very responsible about designated drivers, so we don’t think there will be any issues.  And as long as you have professional bartenders, they should be able to keep an eye on things as well, just like a normal night at work.

That said, two bottles of wine should be sufficient for 8 people at a table to each get a generous pour. In general its better to go with what you can afford rather than charging.  Most venues will let you bring in your own alcohol and charge you a corkage or bartending fee, which may be much less expensive than buying your alcohol through them.

Post # 9
Member
146 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

i’m doing a closed bar. my MOH thinks it’s tacky and poor form, but honestly… we’re the ones paying and we can’t afford an open bar. Plus, like you, we’re trying to avoid drunk people at our wedding.

Post # 10
Member
67 posts
Worker bee

Well I am getting married at a winery, where only Beer/Wine is allowed and we are doing a cash bar, but… there will be pre ceremony champagne, one glass at the cocktail hour and one for the toast. Also we will have 2 bottles of wine per table, and I am considering adding a third. So that is almost 7 drinks per person and I know that would be enough for me!! Any more, and I figure they are on their own!

Post # 11
Member
2293 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

An interesting tip, if you are supplying your own wine and there is a corkage fee – most places charge by the cork regardless of size of the bottle.  So buying magnums can save you on the corkage – more wine per cork pulled.

Post # 12
Member
94 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

We’re doing a full open bar with a champagne toast and wine served during dinner because that is the only option offered by our venue.  Its included in the overall cost of the reception and the price is still less than many other comparable places that we looked at – though it isn’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination!

I personally would avoid the cash bar if there is any way possible.  A good analogy that I saw somewhere (probably the Weddinebee boards) is that having a cash bar is almost like inviting a few friends over for dinner and then charging them for glasses of wine or cocktails.  On the other hand, giving a couple bottles of wine to each table is a nice idea and gives you another chance to set your wedding apart from others that your guests might have been to. 

I do understand not wanting to give people alcohol all night and then sending them out on the roads, avoiding that was one of my major considerations when choosing a reception venue.  I wanted a venue where my friends and family could easily walk or catch a cab to their hotels.  This limited my choices and has made it so that I am spending more than I would like to on the reception but I have lots of big drinkers coming, especially my friends from law school.  But I doubt that a couple glasses of wine with dinner will be enough to get someone shloshed.

Post # 13
Member
84 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

We are fortunate that the venue we chose allows us to provide all the alcohol and the caterer is not charging a corkage fee.  Since we are having a morning wedding and brunch reception, we’ve decided to have champagne toast and champagne available for additional glasses and mimosas.  We’re also going to provide the alcohol necessary for bloody marys and a signature drink.  Finally we plan to offer wine, but not beer.  My plan is to purchase the alcohol with an agreement to return any unopened bottles. I would stay away from cash bar options if at all possible.  Wine on the table sounds like a great idea.  It is much classier to not offer alcohol at all than to charge.  Like most etiquette books say, would you invite someone to your house, offer them a drink and then charge them?

Post # 14
Member
136 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

Wine flight with dinner, champagne"bar" along with champagne for toasting, open premium bar, all evening with capability for mojitos, martini’s, daquiri’s, etc. A selection of a few of our favorite microbrews as well and as I hate how bottles photograph, beer will be served in pilsners for the beer crowd.. Oh, and NO SHOTS (even if requested by some nut) will be served.

Post # 15
Member
1061 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

open bar. we’re having a prosecco bar during the cocktail hour and then prosecco all night long (i like it better than champagne actually!). also, instead of a signature drink, we’re having local beers from where everyone is from (shiner for us, dogfish head for my parents and iron city for FI’s family). we can bring in our own alcohol though so we can have a little fun with it.

i would also try REALLY hard to go with beer, wine and a signature drink for all the reasons mentioned above. if it’s absolutely not possible, as far as during dinner, i think bottles on the tables are best.

Post # 16
Member
53 posts
Worker bee

You’ll also want to check your state laws – NH doesn’t allow you to bring your own stuff into a venue.

Our package comes with a champagne toast, and we’re pricing out our options for a partial open bar. We want to offer a keg of our favorite beer, and wine, but charge for the rest of it. 

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