(Closed) Cash Bar

posted 9 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 32
641 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

View original reply

i have never been to a wedding or heard of a wedding that had an open bar.  And it isnt just small town Ontario, it is everywhere I have lived…east coast, west coast, ontario….


Cash bar is perfectly fine IMO. 

Post # 33
437 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

cash bar over no bar, but personally I’d cut the budget elsewhere if I could to have an open bar.  

I live in the midwest, and although someone above said cash bars are the norm in the midwest I’d disagree…  

My fiance and I are fortuante because we are a little bit older (30) and pretty well-established in our careers, so even though we’re paying for almost everything ourselves we’re more or less OK.  But pretty much immediately after we got engaged we decided we were devoting a lot of our budget to beer, wine, liquor, and food.  Then again, he’s a brewer, we’re both etoh snobs, and we’re both foodies, so you choose where you want to put your money.  I’m doing our flower table arrangements myself to help deflect some of the cost

Post # 34
402 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I am not having any alcohol, since the reception is at our church.  It is considered tacky in the US, since you should never have your guests pay for anything.  If it were me, and money were tight, I would have a beer/wine/soda option.

Post # 35
5098 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: November 1999


Depends on your circle and where you live. In Australia its  generally not the done thing for a wedding….but If you know your guests would be okay with it all…then go for it!!! just let them know in advance because lots of people carry cards and very little cash on them.


EDIT: Wow didn’t think cash bars were done in Australia. Its always BYO for other celebrations but never seen a cash bar ever. Cool to know!!!Laughing

Post # 36
554 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I’m Aussie & most of my wedding bar experinces have been half cash/half paid for (eg softdrink, beer & wine is covered, pay for spirits) or eventual cash bar (eg a set amount is on the bar – when the money runs out, you pay).

In my area it would be considered very generous/extravagant to have a completely paid-for bar of all drink types/all night.

Post # 37
14094 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Seeing that you’re in the UK, I’m going to defer to the UK bees who say it’s acceptable there.  Personally, in my circle, it’s not okay, but I’m also in the US!

Post # 38
140 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I’m Aussie and I’ve never been to a wedding that had a cash bar… however, none of the weddings served cocktails or spirits, just beer, wine, soft drinks (and champagne for the toasts).

If you are looking to offset the costs of your wedding and don’t want presents, would you consider a wishing well?  They are popular here and very acceptable to include a wishing well card with your wedding invite.


Post # 39
291 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

We are paying for 5 hours of bottom shelf, like Jim Beam, Smirnoff, etc. If someone wants a better brand of something they can pay it themselves. And after the 5 hours is up it turns into a cash bar. Cash bar isn’t horrible, but I would at least do a champagne toast. 

Post # 40
2116 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I don’t think it’s tacky.

It would only be tacky to me if you weren’t up-front about it being a cash bar and people found out when they asked for a drink.

Post # 41
1338 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2015

I think it is tacky. I think it’s MORE tacky if you don’t let your guests know beforehand.


Why not just purchase win and beer? Your guests don’t need hard liquor. It’s nice, but they don’t need it.


Post # 42
88 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

People should base their expectations on scale. You should have some awareness of the wedding budget and the bride and groom’s situation. If the bride and groom are getting considerable money or gifts from parents/family, they can budget for alcohol. If the bride and groom are paying for everything themselves and are on a tight budget, it should be perfectly acceptable to provide limited alcohol and then/or cash bar. People can bring their own cash and cut down on the wedding gift. If everything has been planned at the minimum budget, there IS no room for moving things around. If it’s a simple ceremony, pictures, then modest reception event, the same. If guests typically expect or intend to bring small gifts of $25-50, ie., the toaster (and they will decide this based on their relationship to you), they should not expect an elaborate catered event. If it is an event with religious or specific social norms that involve limited or no alcohol consumption, it is polite to find some middle ground (ie. not a slosh-fest). 

I have never been to a wedding where I didn’t have some vague idea of the budget, class, and lifestyle of the bride and groom.Typically, my life and the people in it are low middle class and we live and celebrate accordingly. I always bring cash in case, an appropriate cash or registry gift for the planned event, and my realistic expectations. I’ve never been disappointed, even at a poor man’s wedding. Paying for alcohol is not a big deal, unless you as a guest are expected to shell out big in time or money. It’s a stupid norm. 


Post # 43
191 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

We’re having a cash bar, and nobody would expect anything else,  We are supplying wine for dinner though

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