(Closed) Cash bar?

posted 5 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
1740 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

This is a highly contentious topic on this site.  Many bees will come on here and tell you that cash bars are bad.  Others will tell you they are okay.  Most will agree that it largely depends on where you’re from because they are more acceptable in some places than others.

Where I live (a southern state) they are a very big no go.  I think in Europe and Down Under they’re more accepted?  

In any case, don’t take the fall out from your question peraonally.

Post # 3
4063 posts
Honey bee

I don’t think your guests should ever have to pull out their wallets at your wedding. I would go with the beer and wine option. 

Post # 4
2171 posts
Buzzing bee

I think a cash bar is just fine. We didn’t have alcohol at our wedding either and everyone had a great time. You WILL get a lot of bees who say its in poor taste, you are being a bad host, its not fun without alcohol, etc. As long as your guests are informed, on a website or by word of mouth, that there will be a cash bar, I see no issues with it whatsoever. 

Good luck, bee!

Post # 5
9578 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

I would pay for beer and wine then even if you need to scale back your dress/flowers/photog/honeymoon/venue something else. I think it’s rude to sell anything at your wedding- theyre your guests, not patrons. The party should be 100% on your dime. 


Post # 6
2108 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

You can offer beer or wine if you want, it’s totally your call, and do what is within your budget. I know some people think it’s terrible that anyone would have to pay for drinks at the wedding, but that is perfectly normal where I am from. In fact, open bars are rare. That said, if you do offer some free wine/beer I’d announce it. We paid for alcohol at our wedding to a point, and basically lost the money because we didn’t announce it so people didn’t drink much. 

Post # 7
928 posts
Busy bee

Be prepared to be bashed about it on here! That said, many things get bashed on here. I believe it is somewhat of a regional thing. Where I’m from though, there is no issue at all having a cash bar.

I’d rather have a cash bar than a dry wedding.

Post # 8
778 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

Don’t do it.

Post # 9
1306 posts
Bumble bee

Offer beer and wine.  Cut back on your flowers, dress etc.  People care more about their food and drink than they do about party favors they won’t keep, a bathroom basket they won’t use, or other extras that seem so important at the time.

If you can’t afford to feed and beer/wine for your guests for 2-3 hours, cut the guest list.  Cut back in other ways.

Also, I don’t really like the “we don’t want people to be trashed” excuse.  Unless you hang out with a bunch of drunk, poorly behaved 19 year olds, I have never seen any disasters with alcohol at any weddings.  Including my own.  

Also, I can get trashed off beer and wine pretty fast.  Just saying.  It’s OK to have a budget.  It really is.  

Give beer and wine.  Or just wine if that’s all you can afford.  People will probably assume they can pull out their wallet if they want more than that. 

I mean, I can’t imagine taking a friend out for dinner and not letting them have a glass of wine, beer etc.  I see my wedding as even more important than this.  I find it hard to believe your wedding guests are a bunch of raging drunks.  

I had an open bar with liquor.  Nobody got so drunk my wedding was ruined.  And DH was a frat boy.  Most of the frat was at our wedding.

Post # 10
560 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I would go with what is normal in your and Fiance family. If all the wedding you have been to have been cash bars then it is totally acceptable in your circle. If all the weddings you have gone to offered an inclusive bar then yes I am sorry you will look like you are being a little cheap, but if you truly can not afford it, then write cash bar in the invite. This will let your guess know to bring cash and put less in the envelope. If you Do Not write it in the invite and your guess are expecting the bar to be paid you will look bad, and will be talked about at all other family weddings.

Post # 11
1362 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I personally find an open bar strange but that’s because of where I am from. It’s your wedding do what you feel comfortable with! 

Post # 12
431 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

how about free wine and everything is cash bar? Or two bottles of wine at dinner on each table and cash bar? i haven’t been to a cash bar lately but I always go with knowing that it may be possible so have some cash on hand. If you could swing it financially I’m sure you would. 

We had approx 85 guests…only 10 underage. And our reception lasted about 4 hours, no dancing. We had bar service with beer and wine only and the final price was about 800. The bar service charged only for what was consumed. 


Post # 13
11507 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

It’s perfectly fine to not offer alcohol at all at your wedding. We had an “open bar” featuring unlimited juices, iced tea, and sodas.

The only thing that etiquette requires is that you offer to your guests refreshments appropriate to the timeframe of your event (i.e. punch and cake is fine at an afternoon wedding, but a full meal with some type of beverages is required if your event takes place during a traditional meal time, etc. Etiquette does not require that you offer any alcohol at all.)

In many areas in the US, expecting guests to pay for beverages at a hosted event is viewed by many as not fulfilling your role as a host.

Post # 14
4242 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

Yeah this topic is RIDICULOUS on this site.

Personally, I think a cash bar is just fine.  At our venue they had VERY cheap drinks…beer and wine was $2 I think and mixed drinks (that were heavy on the liquor haha) were like $3.  It wasn’t at all like a typical restaurant.  We just couldn’t afford it an it wasn’t in the budget.  Believe you me, we cut a LOT of extras already, so it’s not like we had this elaborate honeymoon instead of an open bar…we cut corners on pretty much everything.  Plus my parents were adamently against it and they had paid a pretty significant amount towards the wedding too.  It was a lot easier to just have a cash bar and let family and friends know to bring cash.  All other drinks, including all sodas, juices, iced teas, coffees that you could EVER imagine was included for all guests.  We were able to have an open bar for the wedding party…we ended up putting about $500 towards that for the night and it worked out great.

Post # 15
375 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

I’ve been to several weddings where folks didn’t mind at all to pay for their alcohol. I don’t think there’s a big problem with it. Personally, Fiance and I are providing the alcohol, but that’s just us! 

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