(Closed) Cash Bar?

posted 12 years ago in Reception
Post # 17
399 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

Sorry but I have to agree with tacky.  I think people would be understanding though of beer, wine, and soda with a signature drink or two thrown in if you can swing it.

Post # 18
2385 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2010 - Calamigos Ranch

I don’t know; cash bars are pretty common in some areas. Are they common in yours? If they are, I wouldn’t think twice about this. Ask your parents and a few of their friends: if they don’t flinch, then go for it. If they freak out, then just host the beer/wine/soda and don’t give the partially hosted full bar–just go all open or make it unavailable altogether.

Personally, I think this is fine. You’re providing something for everyone to drink with their dinner, a cocktail if they want it, and the rest is on them. You’re not obligated to get them drunk, and especially not on the liquor of their choosing.

Post # 19
236 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

beer, wine, and soda is the way to go.  some people understand if you can’t have an open bar, while others don’t.  wouldn’t you HATE to think that after all this work and planning for your most special day that one of your guests might go home and say “well that was tacky”?  i wouldn’t want to risk it.  if you can’t afford it, don’t even have it as an option.  if people really want liquor, bars will be open afterwards!

Post # 20
1106 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010 - Tannery Pond at the Darrow School

I don’t think it’s tacky, especially if it’s not in your budget.  If you can afford it and choose not to, then that is one thing but it is a lot of extra money to have a true open bar so if the finance’s just aren’t there, then it’s not a big deal to serve beer, wine and soda (which I went to a wedding last year that did that and believe me, wine and beer get you drunk just as well as liquour :)…Personally, I think “tacky” is a heavy word to throw around and maybe we could all be a little bit more sensitive to that…Do what you can afford and don’t stress about it…

Post # 21
383 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

I don’t think it’s offensive at all.  All the weddings I’ve gone to (except one) have beer and wine available but everything else is cash bar.  I don’t see what the big deal is, and I’ve never heard anyone complain about it.  Is it normal with your friends and family?  Then don’t sweat what other people here might say.

We’re doing beer and wine hosted – cocktails will be cash bar.  Our reception is at a restaurant with a full private bar in the room, and we only have the money for beer and wine, an open bar would be our ENTIRE budget.  It isn’t an option for us to serve only beer and wine.  There’s a full bar right there!  People, in my group at least, would be upset that they could see the bottle of liquor right in front of them but not have any kind of option to get a drink from it.

Really, I think you’re totally fine doing that.

Post # 23
25 posts
  • Wedding: April 2010

I’ve been to plenty of weddings where the beer and wine were free, but anything other than that were cash.  I think it’s fine!  Heck, I went to a wedding where the beer and wine were free, but I had to pay for my soda!  That was tacky…but whatever.  Anyway…I think as long as you’re having free beer/wine/soda it’s totally fine!  If someone wants something other than what you’re offering for free, then they can pay for it.  I don’t think anyone will have a problem with that.

Post # 24
308 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Cash bar is the norm in my family. Most people do open bar onyl for the cocktail hour and no one ever complains. I think you should do what you can afford. It’s nice that you are offering some type of alcohol throughout the reception.

I was in a bridal party last week and after the coktail hour all drinks went to cash bar and I wasn’t offended at all. I knew the couple did the best they could and it isn’t that big of a deal to pay for my own drinks.

Post # 25
108 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Most UK weddings are cash bars. You get a glass of bubbly to toast with, glass or two of wine with dinner, and the rest of the drinks are paid for. Sometimes the first hour might be free, or there is a bit of money put towards drinks behind the bar.

I didn’t realise this for ages, as the majority of weddings I had ever been to were open bar, and got a shock when I had to pay for drinks once! Oh, my sheltered Jewish Princess life!

Post # 26
755 posts
Busy bee

Cash bar is totally fine. I’ve been to weddings where some or all of the drinks were cash bar, and I’ve also been to weddings with open bar. I had a great time at them all. Like one of the pp’s said, you’re not obligated to get your guests drunk. Comparing making the guests pay for food to making them pay for certain types of alcohol is waaaay off. Alcohol is definitely not a necessity, it is a luxury. I didn’t think any less of the couples that had the cash bars or very little alcohol at all at their weddings.

However, if you will be doing a cash bar, I’d get the word out, maybe word of mouth or put it on your wedding website, so people can be prepared with cash.

For the people who have said cash bars are tacky, have you been to weddings with cash bars and left the wedding thinking, “i can’t believe they had a cash bar… how tacky!” I’m not trying to argue, I’m just really curious.

Post # 27
13 posts

@Jacqui – haven’t responded yet, but yes I have.  Once I went to a wedding where it was beer and wine for the cocktail hour, then beer was cash, then beer and white wine (???) was charged for (7$ a glass), then all alcohol, then all alcohol and soda. By the end of the night, it was to-go cups and tap water only.

That being said, beer, wine, and soda for the whole night for free?  Not preferred, but I would say “not tacky” to that one.

Post # 28
1177 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

our entire alcohol consumption is cash bar….both of our parents are recovering and have been for like 25 years so out of respect for them we chose not to purchase alcohol for the guests however, they have the option of buying their own. we of course have a tab set up with the bar for us and our bridal party.

Post # 29
450 posts
Helper bee

I may be in the minority on this but I think it is ok, as long as you are offering the wine and beer.  Some people might be annoyed by the fact that they CAN’T purchase what they want when the bar is right there.

But again, I think it comes down to how you think your guests would feel.  I would ask around and get an idea of what is socially acceptable among your guests.

Post # 30
1297 posts
Bumble bee

I’ve been to 12 weddings, and ALL of them had cash bars (for everything, not just liquor!).  I’m from Boston, so maybe it’s the norm there, but when I go to weddings, I expect cash bars.  I’ve only ever seen an open bar during cocktail hour and then champagne for the toast.  I think you’re already providing enough alcohol, and if guests want liquor, then they can pay for it. 

And there are a lot of comments saying that if you invite people into your home, then you provide them with alcohol, and I disagree with that as well.  If I have an extra bottle of wine or something, then sure, I’ll share it, but none of my friends would ever come to my house empty handed alcohol-wise, just like I wouldn’t go to their house and not bring a bottle of wine.  Again, maybe this is just how my friends and I are and not the norm.  Liquor isn’t a requirement like food is.  Just guage what other people in your area do because there are always split opinions about this on weddingbee. Good luck!

Post # 31
2365 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

Once again I think is a regional/circle of friends/family thing.  Where I’m from and in my family and group of friends, it’s top priority to have a full open bar.  We went to a wedding where it was like one hour cash bar or something and no one shut up about it. 

However, I’ve heard people on this board say that cash bar is the norm where they’re from.  So I think it depends on the crowd and their expectations.

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