(Closed) Cant afford an open bar,makes me a bad host….

posted 6 years ago in Food
Post # 32
277 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Our wedding is going to be a dry affair as we just can’t afford the insurance, permits and then the alcohol in a family that loves to drink until they drop! In the location there is a separate restaurant that serves beer and stuff so if people really want to drink they can go and pay for their own. I would rather have better food and photos than cut from those for people to drink.

We are of course not having our reception lasting for hours as a result of this, because honestly after they eat I know they can only socialize or dance for so long without alcohol. After a couple of ours we expect the crowd to have cleared out.

Regardless of your choice prepare for some blunt reactions when people find out. I’ve had several uncles think they could talk me into having an open bar and some were very unpleasant when I said that it was out of the question. 

Post # 33
935 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

Can you afford wine and beer only and cash for the rest?

I agree with another PP – I’d rather cash bar over no bar at all.  I don’t think it’s rude if I have to bring along $20 to drink at a wedding.  I can afford it.

Post # 34
233 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

I would pick your dream venue and see if you can cut other things out of your budget to at least offer a cocktail hour, or wine and beer.  If it is not possible, then please offer a cash bar if possible.  It is your day and some guests just expect too much I think.  It is your party and you should be able to provide what you can without having to break your budget:)  

Post # 35
3025 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2014 - Prague

To me, wine and beer = alcohol, so I don’t see the problem. 

Post # 36
39 posts
  • Wedding: September 2014

Would the venue allow you to place a bottle of vodka of something similar on each table? That’s probably what we are doing as our package only includes beer and wine. 

Post # 37
656 posts
Busy bee

@brokeninnj:  Hopefully they are willing to negotiate with you, and if they are, make sure you read the contract very closely for corkage fees and other similar fees so you don’t have surprises. If it’s not in the contract, definitely add in a clause that there will be no corkage fees or other fees for bringing in your own alcohol. If they balk at this, at least get it in an email saying that they agree to no extra fees for this.

Post # 39
6721 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

I very much agree that a cash bar is preferred to a dry wedding, but you are not required to pay for alcohol if you do not drink/cannot afford it. At our wedding many moons ago, we paid for beer and wine and a champagne toast and then had a cash bar for the rest. We were poor students, and could not afford to splurge on ANYTHING. I felt dreadful we couldn’t provide a full open bar, but we did what we could. 

Post # 39
4891 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I’m in the upper midwest, and either option (open or cash) is acceptable. We plan on having a cash bar, but will also provide a keg and plenty of drink tickets to pass around. My FI’s family (and most of our friends) like to drink, so having an open bar scares me some, as I don’t want people to be overly intoxicated by the time the night ends. Plus, I can only imagine how expensive that bill would be. However, one of my FI’s family friends has offered to pay for the bar tab – so we’ll see if that holds true and may decide differently by the time the planning really gets going. I know that no one would be offended if it was just a cash bar.

Post # 40
1633 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I wouldn’t like going to a wesdinv that didn’t serve alcohol because when I party and entertain I always have alcohol. But, as a bride who had a dream venue picke I would forgo other things in a heart beat. Each of our sides drink and can throw back quite a few, but open bar still was not a given. I’d rather go to a dry wedding than attend a cash bar wedding. However at a dry wedding after food is served we would probably leave.

Post # 41
969 posts
Busy bee

brokeninnj:    You are NOT a bad host if you don’t have an open bar!  That’s just crazy talk.  Besides, if that were true, then my husband and I would have been “bad hosts” on our wedding day because we did not provide an open bar … traditionaly speaking, anyways.

For the sake of the wedding budget, we nixed the traditional open bar and “hosted” a certain amount of signature drinks (one for him and one for me).  What this means is, our caterer let us create our own unique drinks (thus, the “signature” part of “signature drinks”), choose an amount, and serve that amount for free to our guests until they ran out.  After that, we had a coffee/tea/water/pop package to serve to our guests.  If they wanted anymore alcohol after our initial signature drinks ran out, then they had to pay.  No one complained.  In fact, most people appreciated this very much and thought it was fun and unique!  😀

This was a great option for several reasons …

1.)  It saves the bride and groom money

2.)  It’s a fun way to add a unique spin to your wedding (signature drinks)

3.)  It gets the party started with free booze!

You really can’t go wrong with this option, but it is ultimately yours to make.  Do what you can afford and what makes you happy.  🙂

Hope this helps!

Post # 42
2878 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

brokeninnj: worst wedding I ever went to was in the middle of nowhere, dry with no bar available. I left as soon as I could and the only thing I remember was the bride’s rude bridesmaids (one asked me to move and sit with strangers, so she could sit with her friends instead of at the bridal party table. I told her I refused to disrespect the bride’s seating chart as I also wanted to sit with my friends, the only people I knew there. I told her she could pull up a chair at sit at the head of table where her friends were. She did, but gave me serious side eye all night. Hey, I provided a solution — no need to hate.) and the lack of alcohol. 

If I had known, I would have brought a flask. The surprise around lack of alcohol at the venue, the rudeness of the bridesmaids and bride’s friends, and the four hour flight + 2 hour drive to the venue made me wish I had sent my regrets. 

The vows weren’t mic’ed, so no one could hear. It was FREEZING (40 degrees) for an outdoor ceremony. The best parts that I remember are catching up with old friends, which could have happened independent of the wedding.

Post # 43
434 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

Youa re not a bad host if you don’t have alcohol at your wedding, or if you have a limited bar. You are a bad host if you make your guests pay for their drinks just so you can have your dream venue. Please stop giving OP advice about having a cash bar. It’s rude.

Post # 44
5876 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

If this were me, I’d choose a less expensive venue that allows space in your budget for alcohol. Personally, I’d rather put my money into something that I know my guests really want than choose somewhere that happens to be really pretty.

But if those aren’t your priorities, that doesn’t make you a bad person.  Just be realistic with yourself about the tradeoff that you are making and why.  

Post # 45
97 posts
Worker bee

Maybe you could look into doing tickets/ tokens for a few drinks per person? Also does the venue serve wine during dinner? My venue doesn’t have an open bar but guests get unlimitted wine during dinner, a glass of champagne during toasting, then we are paying for two drinks per guest.

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