Post # 1
I come from a VERY conservative family and am marrying a Chicago Southsider… his friends and family are wild… fun, but wild. 🙂
My parents are pushing for kegs, which I’ve agreed to, but my fiance wants a full open bar. The venue for the reception will not give me a package for the bar – so we are looking at drinks starting at about $5.00 each.
I’ve already confirm five kegs (they are like $150 each so not a big deal), but I’m afraid of getting KILLED with an open bar bill…
I was thinking of doing like a $5K “bar tab” and when that ran out it would convert to a cash bar. My parents are technically paying for the reception but I doubt they’d go for full open bar or even the extra $5K for the bar (they don’t really drink so it isn’t important to them)….so this means we’ll be paying for that…
My wedding is going to be very nice with 300+ people and I’m so confused about what to do!
Post # 3
We are hosting kegs and wine and champaigne for the toast, then we are doing a cash bar. I wouldn’t want to get stuck with a bar bill either, because I know ours would be huge! I think a cash bar is ok becuase then the people who want to drink and spend their money on it can.
Post # 4
We’re doing a toonie bar… the hotel charges $4 or $5 a drink so guests will pay $2 and then FI’s parents will pay for the rest.
Post # 5
I like the idea of putting money on the bar, and when that runs out then guests start paying. I don’t know if this is appropriate etiquette, but it’s what we’re planning on doing.
Post # 6
Have you discussed with Fiance the possibility of his side footing the bill for open bar?
Post # 7
Is it at all possible to ask your FI’s family to help contribute to the bar? My parents arent drinkers at all and alot of our family is not either but my DH’s side drinks alot (not crazy drinkers, but they like their beer!). My awesome in-laws offered to pay for the bar since they realized alot of the cost would be from their side. If this is not an option, Id go with hosted keg beer and wine and then anything else would be cash. And when the kegs are out they’re out.
I dont think you should feel (or your parents should feel) obligated to have an open bar unless they can afford it. Hosting the beer is fine especially since it sounds like thats what the majority of people will drink.
Post # 8
See… it’s common for cash bars where I’m from (and where the wedding will be) but I now live in Chicago and NO ONE does a cash bar here… since well over 50% of my guests will be from Chicago, I’m wondering what to do…?
I think I will have champagne on the tables for a toast but I’m so confused! haha
Post # 9
If you’re having a formal wedding with over 300 guests, personally I would say open bar. But where I’m from, it’s unheard of to have a wedding without an open bar, so that’s my natural inclination anyway.
I second the suggestion of seeing if FI’s family can cover the open bar.
Post # 10
I am having an open bar only with wine, beer and champagne. I do not want anyone doing shots at my wedding.
But in my opinion if you are going to offer the hard liquor, it should be open.
Post # 11
Oh, and my side will drink beer… my fiance’s side will want mixed drinks…
And I’m a first time posting so I’m kind of stalking my question! Sorry! Just joined today!
Post # 12
I had this same dillema, so you’re not alone! We have set a cap for the bar. With that we’re limiting the bar to wells, wine, champagne and beer. If anyone wants a call or top-shelf liquor they are paying for that out of pocket so that they don’t use up the budget before anyone else can enjoy it. I have *never* paid for a drink at a wedding so it is hard for me to accept the cap, however we are paying for our wedding on our own and it just isn’t in our budget to have a full open bar.
Let me know how it goes, good luck!
Post # 13
LOL it’s totally OK to stalk. We all do it. Welcome to the hive!
If you’re worried about the cash bar not being received well by the Chicagoans and Fiance really wants liquor available, I think you should feel out the possibility of his parents chipping in for the open bar. If that’s not really a possibility then your hands are kind of tied and you should go with a cash bar and not worry about what people will “expect” from you. If you do do cash bar, my one suggestion is that you make sure people know beforehand. I personally don’t carry cash that often (I’m a debit card person) so I’d want a heads up on the cash situation.
Post # 14
welcome to wedding bee!!!
and we sort of have the same problem, in that my father is a minister and doesnt drink nor would he EVER pay for alcohol – but both me and my FH are drinkers as are his family.
soooooo – my parents are paying for the reception and FH and I are footing the bill for the alcohol.
and since i dont want shots at my wedding either – its a limited open bar – just beer, wine, prosecco toast, and a signature cocktail (which can be premixed! wooooh!)
that way everyone is happy.
as long as there is alcohol people will be okay with it. i just dont think its right to ask someone to pay for a drink at a party you are hosting. People dont give you five bucks when the come to your house for a shindig do they? (well not at my house at least)
and im letting folks know this. they can deal for 3-4 hours 🙂
Post # 15
If offering some open bar is something that your Fiance values, I think it is fair that either you guys or your FI’s family chip in for that portion. A $5000 tab is generous, and will be around 3+ drinks per person as long as you put in a rule that you aren’t covering top shelf choices. With other people choosing not to drink liquor, that will probably keep everyone’s wallets in their pocket until late in the night.
At the same time, though, as long as you offer the beer (and I would recommend wine, but I don’t know your crowd), I think a cash bar is fine. I am a liquor drinker, and I am not offended if beer and wine is offered, but I can still buy a drink if I so choose. Knowing already, though, that part of the family has a preference, having some tab would be a nice gesture, even if it is more like even $2000, which will get the liquor drinkers a free beverage.
Post # 16
If you do decide to put the limit on the bar (5K), make sure that the venue knows to talk to you (or whomever you designate) privately when you’re getting close to hitting that point.
I was once at a wedding where the DOC for the venue came up to the bride (who was the middle of a story and a group of about 20 people) and said “Just to let you know, you’re $100 away from your limit. You will have to discuss what you’d like to do with the bartender”. We all just stared. It was…AWKWARD and the bride was mortified.