(Closed) Open or Cash Bar?

posted 6 years ago in Food
  • poll: Which should we do?
    Open Bar : (104 votes)
    87 %
    Cash Bar : (16 votes)
    13 %
  • Post # 3
    Member
    611 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2012

    I’m not sure about pricing in your area, but where we’re looking in VA we can get a limited open bar (beer & wine) for around $15 a head. For a full open bar with liquor it goes up to $25 a head. That’s for a five-hour reception.

    I don’t love the idea of an open bar for bridal party only–it feels a bit odd to publicly give some of your guests hospitality that you do not extend to all guests. And only providing one round for guests seems a bit problematic, too. I would either do all or nothing.

    Here’s the thing, though–if people want to get drunk they will get drunk, whether it’s on your dime or their own. Having a cash bar will not change that. If you can afford an open bar, I think it’s the way to go–it’s optimal hospitality for your guests. If you can’t, just make sure people know so that they can bring cash–and they’ll enjoy themselves either way.

    Post # 5
    Member
    4887 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    $1.50 per drink?!!!  OMG my venue starts at $7 and goes up to $14!!!

    Definitely do open bar. 

    Post # 6
    Member
    611 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2012

    yeah that is a FAB deal! Woo hoo! Go for it!

    Post # 7
    Member
    3182 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    I’m always a fan of open bars, but if you decide for whatever reason not to go that route, I would rather see free drinks for a certain amount of time than for the bridal party only.  I would feel a little miffed by that if I was a wedding guest. 

    And the end of the day though, it’s your money and your wedding, so do what you want.  Maybe if you reassure your mother that people will be cut off if they drink too much that will help?

    Post # 8
    Member
    225 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: August 2011

    Ours was an open bar at a ~60 person wedding. We bought the resale liquor license($27.50) and alchohol including wine for the tables at $1000 and hired a bartender.($15/[email protected]). After the wedding we were able to return any unopened bottles and came out with a return of $200 so it wasnt so bad. Everyone had an awesome time tho with an open bar you can end up with more heavily drunk people. haha! We considered doing a toonie bar(hence the resale liquor license) but in the end it was more relaxed and many people enjoyed it. It will all depend on if your venue will allow it but if you can definitely go that route. Its MUCH easier on the wallet! I also set up cards and posters at the bar area for a program that runs in our city called “Keys Please” in which 2 volunteers show up(when you call) and one gets in your car and drives you home for the same price as a cab. Many of the drinkers ended up using this too so that was a relief.

    Post # 9
    Member
    375 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    I’d do open bar if you can afford it. Like a PP said, having to pay or not won’t make a noticeable difference when it comes to intoxication levels. Unless all of your guests are immature 21 year olds, very few people see an open bar as an invitation to get sloppily drunk.

    Our venue’s drinks are $5-7 per drink, and our coordinator recommended paying $2,000 toward the bar for 125 people. She said that will get people through the at least the majority of the evening. We have a lot of Navy guys coming who will drink more than their fair share, but we have a lot of people who will also just have a glass of wine or beer or two, so we’re not too concerned. After we hit $2k, they will talk to my dad, who will determine whether to (a) close the bar, (b) put more $ toward the bar or (c) convert it to a cash/cc bar, depending on his read of the situation. My side of the family are big social drinkers, so I trust his judgement on this.

    I would also stay away from having a bridal party only open bar, because it is a bit elitist. Although, I could see it if it was sort of understood that each member had a tab for themselves, and that’s why they weren’t paying for their drinks right away.  

    Post # 10
    Member
    5011 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: April 2012

    If you can afford it then sure, go for it, but really I think too much ressure is put on having to have an open bar. As long as there’s choice and people are aware that there’s a cash bar I really don’t think it matters.

    Edited to add: Cash bars are standard here. I know of people who’ve had open bars and ended up paying tens of thousands of pounds for them.

    Post # 11
    Member
    4583 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    I’m pretty vocal on the boards about my acceptance of cash bars. I don’t see alcohol as a necessity and I think it’s fine to save money and ask guests to purchase their own drinks – they’re already getting a free meal. However, if your venue offers drinks at only $1.50 a piece, which is ridiculously cheap, then I see no reason not to host an open bar if it’s what you want.

    Post # 12
    Member
    108 posts
    Blushing bee

    Open bar–cash bars are pretty rude imo.  “Hey come to my wedding, buy me a gift and also your own drinks.”

    Post # 13
    Member
    52 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: November 2011

    Go with what you can afford and feel comfortable with!

     

    As for cash bars being rude or tacky, I dont’t agree! My fiance and I can’t afford it, especially with our crowd being heavy drinkers. If we could, we would even if our guests weren’t heavy drinkers. Not being able to host an open bar doesn’t make anyone rude or tacky, it comes down to a matter of cost. Our guests understand our position and so far no one has made complaints about it to our faces!

    Post # 14
    Member
    5011 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: April 2012

    @nerdface: In this country an open bar is often met with the rather ruder responses of “Ooh! Free booze! I’m going to get very drunk and vomit/spill drink on your wedding dress!”

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