(Closed) Alcohol at the reception…

posted 6 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
7904 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

In my personal opinion, a guest shoud have no reason to bring money to your wedding. In your situation, I would maybe do the cocktail hour and then for the entire reception after that, I’d have only beer and wine.

Post # 4
524 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I think it sounds fair. They did that at my cousin’s wedding and it was perfectly fine! I would just make sure you somehow let guests know that’s how it’s going to be so they know ahead of time that it’s partially a cash bar. 

Post # 5
9955 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

It works for me.

Exactly what we did at my first Wedding 30+ Years ago.  Cocktail Hour (1 Hour with Nibbles) and then Wine Service during Dinner (worked out to be aprox 2 Glasses per person… non Drinkers got less, and those at their table who drank got more).  During the Dancing & Partying portion, it was a Cash Bar the rest of the night.

BUT we also paid for Champagne (poured by the glass to the Guests) to be hoisted for the Toasts & the Cake Cutting.

Hope this helps,

PS… I am a Canadian… having at least a partial CASH BAR (and something paid for) is quite common here.  Realize though it isn’t the same everywhere.  Might help if you let us know where you are getting married.

— — —

EDIT TO ADD – From an Etiquette point of view, the way to get the info out about the Cash Bar is to pass the word thru friends & family… and on your Wedding Website if you have one.


Post # 6
4464 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

I was confused as first by the wording but now I understand the changes you want to make. I think that compromise sounds reasonable, especially since the time that people will be looking to order drinks is usually during cocktail hour.

We couldn’t afford an open bar with hard liquor and we didn’t want to do a cash bar so we just did champagne/wine/beer bar all night.

Post # 7
312 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

As one who always advocated for a full open bar, I actually think your compromise makes sense. However, you might want to alert your guests to this so there aren’t any nasty suprises.

Post # 8
552 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Personally, I prefer open bars for the entire night. However, I think you have come up with a fair compromise.

Post # 9
1093 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

 I think it’s a fair compromise. In a prefect world I’m sure you’d like to have an open bar but that can run into thousands. If you provide alcohol for part of the wedding I think it’s reasonable, if your guest want more than whats for “free” then they can pay for it. Who says you need to be responsible to have drunk guests… if they want to get drunk let thm do it on their dime 🙂

Post # 10
2781 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I think that makes sense. You may get some bees saying its bad ettiquette, but i think it depends on whats common in your area. As you are providing alcohol during cocktail hour and dinner, I think it will be fine. Just make sure your guests don’t have to pay for non alcoholic drinks as well.

Post # 13
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

That’s what we did (almost)

and guess what… everyone was happy! seriously, no grumbles whatsoever. The wine flowed freely for our cocktail hour, then we did speeches and when the dance reception started it was cash bar. Everyone was happy!

We also bought drink tickets though, to give to our parents and bridal party and a few other people who helped us in some way. Our catering total including food and bar for 105 people was $4200. 🙂



Post # 14
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

oh yeah, I should add. We’re in Canada, so I guess it’s more common up here, and we let people know through our wedsite and word of mouth (also to let everyone know we weren’t serving a sit down dinner)

I was so worried we’d run out of food, but we had more than enough! and I think everyone appreciated getting at least one or two free glasses of wine before having to buy… and some only had the free wine and left early, so it will depend on your guests. but don’t go broke over your wedding!

Post # 15
9955 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Re – Wine & Champagne

Yes you typically buy by the Bottle.  A bottle though should get you 5 pours (5 x 5oz).

*In the industry a “standard pour” is 5 ounces, so you are being quite fair

So for a 100 People you’ll need 20 Bottles.  Buying from a venue you’ll probably be looking at around $ 30 to $ 35 per bottle (before Taxes & Tip)

If you have 10 people per table at Dinner, you’ll want 2 Bottles of Wine per table (do 1 White & 1 Red… folks can trade with others if they like).  That will give you 10 pours or one glass per person (if everyone is a wine drinker)

Add it up… for 100 People

10 Tables x 2 Bottles per Tables = 20 Bottles

20 Bottles of Champagne (buy Sparkling… you can find it too in the $ 30 to $ 35 range)

So 40 Bottles x $ 35 = $ 1400 PLUS TAXES & TIP (30% aprox / depends on your Province) = $ 1820

Negotiate a price for the Cocktail Hour… and call it a day.

As I said, it’ll still cost you a small fortune, and it isn’t a full on OPEN BAR for the whole Wedding Event.

Save your money, quite honestly Canadian Guests know the score, the fact that you are willing to cover a Cocktail Hour, Glass of Wine with Dinner, and Champagne / Sparkling Toast is quite gracious IMO.

Folks who want something else, will understand that they are paying for it themselves.  You can pass the word… and put the info on your Wedding Website if you have one.

Really, no reason to lay out as I said close to $ 10,000 just for this one element to your Reception… $ 10 K could probably buy you TWO AMAZING HONEYMOONS !!

Hope this helps,


Post # 16
10453 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

I think that’s fine. Cash or toonie bars are totally common where I live. 

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