Pay for afterparty alcohol?

posted 2 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
458 posts
Helper bee

I think that providing alcohol for your reception is plenty.  If people want more afterward, they should be willing to pay for it themselves, and if they aren’t willing to pay that much, then they’ll just have to have water!  You shouldn’t have to keep paying and paying.

Post # 3
232 posts
Helper bee

I’ve had to pay my own way at all the after parties I’ve been to. They did have a change of locations though.  I guess I would wonder how guests will know the bar has changed to a cash bar.  If you can make a distinction somehow I think it would help. 

Post # 4
1417 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I don’t really see how your event is changing from a “reception” to an “after party”. Is the only difference that people will have to start paying for their own booze? Honestly that seems a little weird to me. Maybe instead you could have drink tickets- like each seat gets 4 tickets and that way you can budget for how much you can afford to give out, and then people will know they have to pay once their tickets are gone. 

i would pay for all the booze, personally. I don’t think those 2 extra hours will cost much But obvs I don’t have all the deets. 

Post # 5
7282 posts
Busy Beekeeper

That isn’t an after party- that is your reception. An after party is when the bride and groom mention that they are heading out to party after the wedding at another location and guests can join them if they wish. Staying at your venue, in the same room etc and having your reception end at a normal reception ending time of 12am is not an after-party.


Post # 6
353 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - The Fairmont, SF

If you are unwilling to move the party to a different location, such as a bar, then I personally think you should cover the extra 2 hours. The reason for this is because what you’ve described doesn’t sound like an after party; it sounds like it’s still part of the reception and I’m sure you’ll have some guests confused, put off, or unprepared by the “distinction”. If you really want to do it this way, then I would inform my guests that the open bar closes at 10:30 but the reception will carry on until 12:15 rather than calling it an after party.


Post # 7
5391 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

OK so I have zero issue with full cash bars because where I’m from, that’s the norm.

However, what I would say is that I agree with PPs: this isn’t an afterparty IMO, it is your reception. For us, the band finished at 11.15pm, and the DJ finished at 1.30am, and it got quieter after about 12/12.30. We then had no music from 1.30 until the last guests left at around 2.30. But, it was still our reception: same venue, same bar, same guests. I didn’t see it as our reception having ‘ended’ at midnight and then the ‘afterparty’ starting. It was one continuous event, end of story.

So as I said: no issue with cash bars where I live, and indeed, I would always expect one throughout the reception. But, if you live somewhere where cash bars AREN’T the norm, and cause offense/are considered rude, then I think you need to rethink things and either provide drinks until the end, or else have a proper ‘after party’ at a different venue where guests will know that drinks won’t be provided. Otherwise, I can see it getting potentially confusing.

Also to add, our bar was strictly consumption-only (open bar packages don’t exist over here). Drinks at the evening reception (day drinks were separate) ended up costing us about $3.5k. That was for 75 guests, 65 who were drinking alcohol, over 7.5 hours total (we closed the bar at 2.30am), and included spirits and mixers and shots as well as beer and wine by the glass. Prices were similar to your venue (though service was included). I think for the last 1.5 hours it probably wouldn’t cost a fortune as it will probably be winding down at that point with people drinking less (depending on the crowd).

  • This reply was modified 2 years ago by  barbie86.
Post # 9
1062 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

As the other pp’s have said, it’s not really an afterparty. I don’t think it’s a big deal if it becomes a cash bar. 

Maybe you can put a sign on the bar that specifies it’s open bar from X time to X time. That way, you don’t have to really make a big announcement about it and if the sign is in clear view on the bar, then anyone drinking will see it when they walk up to it.

Post # 10
6447 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

I don’t think it’s really an after party if you are staying at the same location. An after party to me involves going to a bar. I also think it might be confusing for guests if they all of a sudden need to start paying at 10:30 but as a PP stated you can probably put up some kind of sign letting people know.

If cash bars are common in your circle than I think it’s fine (if the information is passed along to guests), if not, I would just close the bar completely at 10:30 if you can’t afford to pay for the rest of the night.

Post # 11
4959 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

happycamper8:  We didn’t provide alcohol at our after party, which was also at our venue (they have a bar that opens to the public). They were great and gave my husband and I a bottle of vodka, but everyone else bought their own drinks and were totally fine with it.

Post # 12
1925 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Is your afterparty in the same room as your reception?  If not, then I think it’s fine if you are closing the open bar and having a cash bar.  Where it gets confusing if it’s the same room, and there is no clear delineation from the reception to the start of the after party.  I’ve never expected to have an open bar at an after party, but I’ve never been to an afterparty in the same room.  

Either way, if you have an open bar for 5 hours, there is no way you need to pay for another 2.  PP’s are just nuts.

Post # 14
2782 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

happycamper8:  If you were changing venues, I’d find this completely acceptable.

Here’s an honest truth:  no one WANTS to pay for alcohol all night- at least most of us.  I didn’t have some great desire to spend thousands of $$’s on alcohol.  We had complete open bar with liquor for cocktai hour (1.5 hours).  Then we provided beer and wine- cash liquor.  We provided beer and wine all night long.  Until midnight.  Then- my husband and I joined some of his friends at a bar- and we were no longer hosts– and everyone paid (and they paid for us, too).  


If you paid for the venue to keep the party going, keep the party going.

Truth is, unless people are sleeping at the venue (which they aren’t)- people average 4 drinks an evening at events.  I said average- which means some will have less and some will have more.

We provided late night food as well– 

I don’t think you’re going to rack up a large bar bill in those last hours, FYI– I was suprised how most of beverages were ordered way earlier in the evening- and really tapered off the last couple hours even though people were still there!

Post # 15
1417 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

happycamper8:  wow 7K for 100 guests wine and beer (for how many hours? 5?) is expensive. we had 100 guests, full open bar from 5pm to midnight and we spent about $3,000 on booze plus I guess about $500 for the bartender. And people drank ALOT haha (And out weddingb was in an expensive city). I guess your venue doesnt allow you to bring in ur own? the way you’ve described the announcement makes it sound less confusing but I always wonder with these things, how do people know to bring cash? I guess word of mouth? 

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