(Closed) Cash bar?

posted 7 years ago in Reception
Post # 47
Member
7480 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

With the prices you mentioned in your original post there is a chance of you actually making a profit depending on the type of alcohol you buy. Especially if you buy smart and in bulk. 

Post # 48
Member
2704 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@BrideToBee2014:  First of all, weddings are not business transactions.  You shouldn’t really go into them planning to recoup a certain amount of the cost.  What happens if your guests don’t drink enough alcohol?  Can you return unopened beer or wine or liquor?  I was at a wedding once where the couple over estimated how much people would drink and had a very large amount of liquor and mixers left over.  And if your on a budget and counting on making X amount back, this could be a problem.

But let’s assume you don’t have this problem and your guests are drinking pretty regularly.  I know you are charging only a few bucks a drink, but I wouldn’t be shocked if you ended up making a small profit.  Have you run the numbers?

A handle of Captain costs about $30 and contains enough for 39 shots.  A 12 pack of Coke is maybe $7 on the high end.  So let’s assume 1 shot and a little less than 1 can of Coke make a rum and coke.  For 39 drinks, you’ll need 1 handle and 3 cases of coke which will run you $51.  If you charge $2 per mixed drink you’ll get $78 from your guests and have a net profit of $27.

A 1/2 keg will yield about 124 8oz glasses of beer.  Depending on the beer, you can find kegs for less than $124, so you’ll end up with a profit.

So depending on what you get and how much your guests drink, you can easily make money.  Now this might not be a lot of money, and you might not intend for it to happen, and you might use it to tip your bartender, but you’re still making money off of your guests.  And honestly, I think that’s what guests will assume when they find out the money is going back to you.  If I were your guest, I’d be very annoyed and unhappy with you.

 

 

 

Having said all of that, I also don’t think it’s polite to ask guests to pay for something at a hosted event (though i know this is different in countries other than the US).  You wouldn’t charge guests if you had a BBQ or dinner party right?  Why would a wedding be any different?

 

 

 

Since it sounds like you are on a budget, why not just host beer, wine, and maybe a signature cocktail?  You certainly don’t have to provide tons of liquor or a great variety of alcohol.

 

 

 

Post # 49
Member
1293 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2018

@Zhabeego:  +1. It is tacky, cheap, and rude. Maybe it is “accepted” in some social circles, but I would either leave or not attend. It’s cheaper to have a bottle of wine at home and then I don’t have to spend $200 on a wedding gift for people too cheap to buy us alcohol.

Post # 50
Member
407 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

If you are supplying the alcohol then it would be outside of etiquette to do a cash bar.  If people know you supplied the alcohol and did a cash bar, then this is going to be seen as rude.  If the venue were supplying the alcohol then I would say cash bar is ok.  However, in this case i don’t think it is.

Post # 51
Member
9823 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

@BrideToBee2014:  If you can’t pay your mortgage payment because of your wedding you need to re-think some things on the wedding budget.

Just some math for you…a 1.75 l bottle of liquor is equal to around 39 1.5 oz shots (or 39 single drinks).  A decent bottle costs $30-$35.  If you’re charging $2 a drink you are making money.  Just a thought.  That’s why it comes off as sketchy to me in this instance.

Post # 52
Member
198 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@MrsPhilly:  +1. We are having a cash bar and seriously there is nothing wrong with that. People on here seem to call us cheap which I find is a lack of respect. 

 

Post # 53
Member
7480 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

@RunsWithBears:  +1 I was just starting some rough calculations when I saw your post. 

Post # 54
Member
7480 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

@mgw:  I don’t think there is anything wrong with a cash bar in general. I think in this situation though the OP actually could make a profit.

When purchasing alcohol from the venue it is really expensive (at least for me it would be) but in this case they have the option to bring it it which saves a ton of money. In most cases I don’t mind a cash bar (I’ve never even been to a wedding with an open bar) but I think this situation is a little different.

Post # 55
Member
2598 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@mgw:  In all fairness, unless someone has directly called you – mgw – “cheap” then the posters here are answering a question being asked by another poster so there is no lack of respect involved. 

There are solid, legitimate reasons that etiquette deems cash bars rude.  If another Bride wants to know what those reasons are or why cash bars are considered rude / inappropriate – then she’s looking for those reasons and there’s nothing wrong or disrespectful about other bees giving them to her. 

Post # 56
Member
1101 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Let me start by stating that I don’t drink -at all.  So cash bars at eclusive venues do not bother me.  They do bother my Fiance (he drinks) if he doesn’t know about it ahead of time.

But I would be livid if it was a cash bar in which the couple bought the alcohol. I can do the math, and even if you don’t make a profit off of it, many will think that you are.  You have to decide if this is something you can live with.  

In our case, I set a budget of what we can afford for drinks and then I will buy accordingly.

Venues that charge couples retail price for drinks is another story.  I understand that this is much, much, much more expensive and couples do what they can in terms of hosting.

Post # 57
Member
3771 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@BrideToBee2014:  i didn’t read any of the responses… but we had a cash bar. But we paid for the champagne toast. It went over fine… no complaints. Don’t worry about it. If people are going to get upset over paying for alcohol at your wedding, then they’re not really there to celebrate.. they’re there for the free food and booze. Oh and the ‘cash bar’ wasn’t cash only. They opened up tabs for anyone who wanted and they could pay with plastic.

Post # 58
Member
198 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@MrsBeck:  Yes, it is different. I agree. 

Post # 59
Member
3771 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

okay i just saw that you were buying the alcohol (not being served by a venue).. yea that’s probably not in the best of taste.

Post # 60
Member
542 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@BrideToBee2014:  I’ve been to 8 weddings now over the course of a few years and not one of them has had an open bar. There has been wine for the table and a few drinks for the drinks reception and that’s it. That covers several circles of friends who have ranged from very simple weddings to lavish affairs. We’ve had to pay money for some drinks at every wedding. 

However none of them have had venues that allow them to supply their own alcohol, they’ve had to pay the inflated prices or pay corkage.

If you are supplying, I don’t think you should charge. However to keep your costs down how about having a restricted drinks list? Don’t feel like you have to supply loads of spirits and a range of beers and wine, if people are getting it free they won’t mind that you haven’t got a fully stocked bar.

Post # 61
Member
4522 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@BrideToBee2014:  We have no help paying for our wedding either and we cannot afford a full bar…so we are doing beer and wine.  I just do not feel it’s in good form to ask guests to pay for anything at an event I’m hosting. 

 

A reception does not *have* to have liquor or alcohol at all. I say do what you can afford to do without asking them to pay.

ETA: just saw the comment about being able to pay your mortgage. If you are being serious and not exaggerating, you need to seriously consider scaling back your idea of a reception or cut costs somewhere else. Hosting a wedding should not affect paying your bills but it also shouldnt require guests to chip in.  Just get a few kegs and some bottles of wine.

The topic ‘Cash bar?’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors