Post # 1
Okay every bee. I need some advice/suggestions on how to handle the bar at our non traditional “reception.” This might get long, so hopefully you can make it through. 🙂
This will be a second marriage for both of us, so we are having an intimate ceremony for our immediate families on Friday. (approx 40 people) Afterwards, we are taking everyone out and paying for dinner/drinks.
The next night, we are throwing a giant 80’s prom style party at a bar that we have rented out for all of our friends AND our families. (We figured this time around should be all about fun!) We are inviting somewhere close to 300-350 people. It will be open for 6 hours and there will be many people there who are HEAVY drinkers. I could see the cost getting close to $20,000 and up easily, which doesn’t make sense for us to spend only on drinks.
I know there are many opinions on a cash bar at weddings. I have heard a few suggestions, but I’m not sure what sounds “right.”
Free beer only, and hard liquor as cash? 2 Free drink tickets per guest? Any other suggestions? I don’t want to be tacky, but I also don’t need to spend our childrens college funds on booze. haha.
Post # 3
Yikes. With that many guests and for that long I would probably just do beer & wine (and maybe one signature drink?). Is it possible for you to supply your own alcohol? That will also save you some money.
Post # 4
For an event like that, I really like free beer and wine with cash hard alcohol.
Post # 5
On big “everyone’s invited” parties like this, I’ve seen it done where it’s open bar for the beginning— let’s say 8-10pm– then cash bar afterwards. It would not work well in all settings but because it’s a nightclub with a fairly big guest list, it would be OK in my book in this setting. If it’s a crowd that usually goes to clubs, they may already be used to that setup from big dance clubs where cover is free or drinks are free before a certain time and the price goes up later in the night, or from having been to other private parties with this setup.
My second choice would be open beer and wine, cash bar for liquor, but you can still rack up one heck of a bartab on beer and wine for 300 people.
Post # 6
that sounds awesome! i would love to go to an 80s style prom party 🙂
i will probably be in the minority of folks, since i am not a huge etiquette stickler, but i dont think you have to pay for everyones entire bar tab. drink tickets would probably be more economical than an open beer bar, but i think they would also be a little more annoying too (could get lost/stolen/somehow reused etc)….
if i were throwing that type of party and wanted to foot part of the bill, i would probably do open beer bar and let people buy liquor as they wanted it.
you could also decide how much you want to spend and have it open up until that point, so you dont wind up ending the night with a $10,000 beer tab. if i went to a party at a bar, this wouldnt bother me at all. (although it would probably help to have some proir notice via word of mouth that this was happening, so i was prepared with enough cash etc)
please tell me you are going to do a choreographed “thriller” dance at this party…. no 80s prom is complete without it!
Post # 7
I would say free beer and wine, liquior should be cash bar. That way you can meet everyone in the middle.
Post # 9
Drink tickets is a great idea….that way you have a set limit. Even if people collect tickets from others, if you’ve only given out 400 then you know you’re only paying for 400 drinks. This way you can pick how much you’re comfortable with spending, then have the correct amount of drink tickets to reflect that. You could maybe do one ticket for everyone, then give key people a second one – like good friends, immediate family. It’s a good way to limit it. OR, you could do the same thing behind the bar. Designate X bottles of wine, X bottles of beer, use them until they’re gone and then it turns to cash bar. I think the drink tickets would be simpler though.
Post # 10
I would set a cap with the bar, and when it reaches that dollar amount, make it cash bar after.
you can set a cap for say 5,000, and at 5,000 the manager can come consult you and say ok you’ve reached your cap, do you want to open it up for another 2,000?? or start cash bar.
Post # 11
I would like to formally request an invitation to your 80’s prom bash! That sounds awesome! I agree with others on this: do open bar with just beer/wine and let those who want hard liquor pay for it themselves.
You should totally do an 80’s signature drink though…or a few…and call them things like, “Risky Business” – “Ecto-Cooler” – “Pretty in Pink”
Post # 12
I would say free beer and wine only! Or say we will spend X ammount once that is hit the bar needs to become a cash bar b/c we are only willing to spend X amount on drinks
Post # 13
Is the 80s bar thing billed as ‘reception’? If it is, it’s your responsibility, as hosts, to provide for the alcohol. Even if it’s beer and wine, with a cash bar for liquor, you need to provide for your guests.
Personally, I think drink tickets are a bad idea. All they do is remind me of those cheesy events in college in which you were bribed to attend with the promise of two free drinks.
You could also do a hosted bar until the tab hits $X, and then convert it to cash bar for the rest of the night.
Post # 14
I would set a limit at the bar and when you that it goes to a cash bar. With that many people just beer and wine can get expensive quick.
Post # 15
We aren’t allowed to bring our own alcohol….we were told that the “tab” had to be at least $3,000 for us to make it a private event. (ie: Even if our guests didn’t drink $3,000 worth of alcohol, we would have to make up the difference) But making $3,000 won’t be a problem at all. I like the open for only a time idea, but If we did open bar for specific time, but how do we let our guests know that? On the invite? at the door?
Or….. I could stand on the stage, grab the microphone from the lead singer and announce “It’s 10:00, everyone bust out your wallets!” (kidding)
@bostongirl27: No choreographed dances in the works yet….I hadn’t even thought of it!!!! (now my wheels start turning…)
But we are having a Hall and Oats and a Cure cover band….plus an 80’s dj! 🙂
Post # 16
@Crazyhair: Can I just say…this sounds so fun! What a great idea. I also think because it’s less formal, it’s easier to do something like this. I think you could easily cover the bar until a certain time/amount or just do beer and wine covered.