I'm only just beginning to realise that most of the posts on here are from Americans and so may not apply to me. Every wedding I've been to (or other sorts of party too) it's always been a cash bar, I always make sure I take money. However, the general consensus on here seem to be that a cash bar is tacky. What do you think? It is ok to have a cash bar in the UK or does it still depend regionally? Thank you!
I think the norm in the UK is to lay on a few drinks after the ceremony and during the meal and then go to cash bar. Occasionally there will be some money behind the bar over that but a full free bar is VERY unusual.
Don't let US attitudes on this stress you. A free bar is not the norm anywhere in the UK.
@LoveandMarriage: hi I'm in the uk too. This totally comes down to your social group. If every wedding you've been to had a cash bar it's probably the same for your guests so go for it! I've never been to a wedding with a cash bar so when I got married we didn't have one as its not the norm for our guests. Good luck and enjoy the wedding!!!
What SpecialSundae said.
I think in the US they get a better deal for drinks to be included in their wedding package when they hire somewhere. In the UK however that is rarely the case. I've never been to a single wedding where it was a free bar (and I've been to about 9 in just the last 2 summers alone) I don't expect there to be a free bar and I don't begrudge cash bars. I've done the figures on what a free bar would cost and it could add another £5k on the top of my total wedding bill, unless your loaded, I really wouldn't stretch yourself to accommodate that.
When I was looking for a wedding venue I did however look for one where we could bring our own alcohol. We settled on a venue that allows you to bring in alcohol during the day (with corkage fee to pay for service) and we're having a cash bar in the evening. We've negotiated a price so the drinks are priced resonably and frankly anyone who didn't come because it was a cash bar isn't someone I would want at my wedding!
I think it's normal for people in the uk to just buy our own drinks at weddings, it's really rare that there's an open bar, I mean it's wikid when there is one tho haha!
I'd buy my own drinks if I went out for the evening, so I don't expect a wedding to be any different!
Glass of something sparkly on arrival, half a bottle of wine per guest with the meal and a glass of sparkly for the toast, and then a cash bar later on.
That's what I'm doing, and what has been done at most weddings I've gone to.
I did go to one wedding where no drinks were provided for guests, but she was on a mega budget so I didn't mind. What I did mind, though, was that the bar didn't accept card! Can you believe it?! And the reception was in pub! That wound people up because the nearest cash machine was a taxi ride away. I ordered a bottle of prosecco and they opened it before telling me that it was cash only - I used the entire contents of my purse on that bottle and couldn't buy any more drinks all night! #fail
As others have said - I think it's standard to have a welcome drink, and maybe a glass of wine with the meal, and something bubbly for the toasts, and most venues offer that as part of their standard package. But anything beyond that I would expect to have to pay. It's perfectly normal and reasonable!
To be honest, I think whilst people might be pleased you have an open bar, in the UK if you're extremely wealthy and you have one, knowing people here then you might even get a few comments about spending too much on your wedding! One doesn't want to look like one is flashing one's cash about too much, ostentation just isn't cricket, y'know. ;)
@Soon2BeeMrsG: I've been wondering about getting my own alcohol in - partly because we thought it would be good fun to go and choose our own wines and beers - but the corkage charge was what put me off. One place we looked at was like £9 PER BOTTLE. When we were looking at £5.00 bottles of sparkling rose (from Majestic though - nice stuff!) it got a bit silly when we started totting up corkage fees.
I'm not too up on it though - is the per-bottle fee normal, or do they generally give you a one-off payment for the whole night?
I was pleasantly surprised at my friend's wedding where she supplied more than the normal bottle of wine per couple at the reception, but in general when tending a wedding in the UK I expect to pay for my drinks, and I highly doubt that a Brit would find this tacky. The only times I've had an open bar in the UK was when friends got married in a barn and went a bit crazy in Makro - but again that was just wine and beer - if anyone wanted any other drinks (vodka, whisky etc) it was suggested they bring their own.
@chronicwhimsy: Per bottle or per person corkage is normal and I've seen up to £35 per bottle corkage on fizz!
I've been thinking about this since I posted and I realised something. I think one of the things that guests in the US might find tacky about a cash bar is that there is a LOT more invested from them financially
US Wedding guests (OFTEN) have to pay for:
- Their own outfit (if they are in the bridal party)
- They have to give gifts from a registry at the Bachorette parties
- They travel further to attend a wedding, sometimes flying to get there, thus having to pay for accommodation/food/travel
- If they travel from afar they have to book more time off work etc
- They give bigger wedding gifts
- Have to attend a rehersal dinner (another outfit to find)
As a UK bride, I've paid for ALL the bridal parties outfits, I didn't get gifts at my hen party, all the guest bar 3 live within an hour drive from the venue so they can go home after the wedding (eleminating hotel and travel costs) We don't have rehearsal dinners and we don't have registries.
I'm generalising here, as I know that's not always the case in the States or the UK or indeed the rest of the world, but my point is since guests in the US pay for so much to attend the wedding, I guess they probably do feel a bit peeved if they then have to buy their own drinks after all that outlay.
chronicwhimsy the corkage at our venue is £9 a head not per bottle. It still worked out A LOT cheaper than if we were paying for alcohol direct from a vendor.
We did a trip to France to get our booze and it costs us £700 including travel (free with the offer) and enough champers and wine to fill your boots!
@lookingglass: Glass of something sparkly on arrival, half a bottle of wine per guest with the meal and a glass of sparkly for the toast, and then a cash bar later on. - Yep that's what I'm planning on. Except it is bottled beer/bucks fizz for arrival. Cheers guys!
@chronicwhimsy: haha, that is very true! I think there would be a few raised eyebrows. Also, mine and FI's mates drink like fish!
@Soon2BeeMrsG: You're very right about the extra costs entailed from going to a wedding in the US. I'm buying all the outifts, won't have a shower or whatever, not expecting gifts at hen party (other than a cheap pretend veil and probs some penis straws or something) no rehearsal dinner, furthest away guests are 3 and a half hours away and the money that people say they spend on gifts is crazy!! Most people were saying they would find it extremely rude if less than $100-$150 dollars was given. I get a £3 postal order from my nan on my b/day and I don't really expect it to go up for my wedding haha!!
@LoveandMarriage: I still get 4 pound coins sellotaped in my card from my Nain as well! lol - Bless her, but it would be cheaper for her to put a fiver in and post it as a light letter than it is for her to send 4 pound coins, but she'll never change.
@Soon2BeeMrsG: Good points! I would never expect a gift worth more than 50 quid from British guests. It was funny actually because I got married in Greece and the general gift from our british guests was around 30 euros, until they realized that they didn't have to pay for drinks (we got married in Greece and the meal, along with all wine, beer and soft drinks was 15 euros p.h.), and as soon as the bridal party danced and the Greeks came and put money on my dress, the brits were up there too, saying sorry they didn't realise it was an open bar. Haha!
@Soon2BeeMrsG: You're right - there does seem to be a much greater focus on gifts and parties in the run up to the wedding in the US than over here. Bridal Shower, Bachelorette and Rehearsal Dinner...
Also, I think things like people asking for cash donations to help sets up their home or to put towards their honeymoon instead are far more common over here, whereas that seems to be a massive no-no in the states.
@chronicwhimsy: oh yeah, tell me about it! The amount of 'I would NOT contribute to your honeymoon registry - I'll give you cash or nothing at all!" posts on here are INSANE! I don't know anyone who would think like that. All my friends and family think it's a great idea!
I love seeing how different it is in the US.
It is very different everywhere, I was surprised by how much other people follow etiquette compared to people in the UK
We had free Wine and Pimms up until 7pm then it went onto a cash bar, we also asked for money towards out honeymoon and everyone was fine about it, if they weren't then we would have been happy to receive nothing as them being there is more important, it's their choice, we only suggested it :)
Our venue didn't charge us corkage during the day so we were able to supply our own wine, waited for offers to come up and got bottles that were normally £10 a bottle on a 3 for £12 offer, also instead of getting actual Pimms, we got Austins Summer Punch from Aldi for just £5.99 a bottle, tasted exactly the same :) saved us a fortune
@lookingglass: Haha, I know! It's a bit of a different world in some ways. Things that seem to be massive social faux pas over there, I just look at and go "What's the problem again?"
But then, I don't think weddings have ever been quite as much of a 'BIG THING' over here as they are in the States, does that make sense? I mean, we don't exactly have many wedding-themed programmes on TV for a start - I can only think of two, and one of those is Big Fat Gypsy Weddings...!
Whilst I'm sure there are people and places where Weddings are a driving force, I think we tend to be a bit more chill about them over here. They're a chance to see our friends and have a booze-up, and possibly buy a very ridiculous hat for shits and giggles.
@applecore: Aldi is the BEST for cheap booze! They do some really good beers too.
@chronicwhimsy: I can't WAIT to see the hats. I think my mates will wear ones for the laugh! Corkage at our venue is £25 a bottle so that's a no-no. Plus our fixed price package includes drinks anyway.
Most weddings I've been to have free drinks with the meal, a glass or two of champagne, and maybe a cocktail hour where guests get free drinks. Beyond that, you have to pay. That said, FI went to a wedding last week where they also served unlilmited real ale which they bought in (if you didn't drink ale, you had to pay). He said it was "the behsht wedding I hash eveh been tuh".
Nobody expects a free bar, I think... but we're providing one... just as long as you drink real ale, that is!
(I should also say that our venue has no caterer etc, so we're bringing it all in... but that's good, because there are no corkage fees!)
@Rachel631: "the behsht wedding I hash eveh been tuh".
Hahaha! That sounds just like my FH! He's ADORE that sort of bar!
I would never go to a wedding and expect a free bar however I definetly want one at my own wedding. I think it's because I have grown up among family and friends who, despite not always having a lot of money, would always pay for the guests alcohol if they were hosting an event. I personally hate the thought of guests having to pay for travel etc and then for alcohol on top of it.
On the other hand I appreciate that money is tight for many people and many locations charge a fortune for alcohol so free bar would therefore be completely unviable and that is totally fine too.
We are planning a budget wedding (hopefully less than £6,000) and will be providing all the alcohol. Us having a marquee reception makes this much more possible than if we were to have a hotel reception and we will probably do a big Lidl trip beforehand! On top of this I will be making lemonade and elderflower cordial for the non drinkers, and sloe gin etc for the drinkers - my dad will be making the beer.
Basically I think what I am trying to say, in a very long-winded way, is that I understand completely why people have cash bars but personally I wouldn't want my guests to have to pay for alcohol when they have just had to fork out for train fares and hotel rooms.
You must log in to post.
No tags yet.
Shop Now »