(Closed) Cash bar dramarama

posted 8 years ago in Food
Post # 3
2247 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

As long as you make your guests aware, I think the cocktail hour and wine with dinner is fine. Nothing is worse than showing up to a wedding and finding out it’s not an open bar. Just give them a heads up to bring some cash. If you can afford a signiture drink I would say def do it, but if not it’s not the end of the world. I also had parents add 100+ guests to our list so I feel you on that lol 

Post # 4
441 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I think in this situation, I would do a signature cocktail or two with wine and beer all night long. I think as a guest, I’d be kind of confused if it changed from open bar, to only wine, to cash bar. Is there a more modest option that you can stick with for most of the night without confusing people?

Post # 5
723 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2014 - Church and University

I totally agree with just wine for dinner to help curtail costs.  And I love the addition of a signature cocktail (maybe one for him and one for you? That’s what I’m doing…).

I wouldn’t even do a cash bar if wine is available, personally.

Post # 6
7439 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

I am Canadian… and Cash Bars or Combo Bars are the norm here, way more than an OPEN BAR and that is due to cost.  (We pay a lot more for booze than you US Bees… like 2x as much and then Tax & Tip on top… a basic beer here can ring in close to $ 10)

When it comes to Combo Bars such as you’ve described, where the Couple provides for some and the Guest pays for some… your options are quite acceptable (at least here)

Mr TTR & Eloped to a Destination Wedding (just the 2 of us) and after our Honeymoon had a Back Home Reception Party for Family & Friends.

We had a Complimentary Welcome Cocktail for all, and served Bubbly all night (big hit more so with the Ladies than the Gents).  Other than the usual freebies… Bottled Water – Pop – Juice – Tea & Coffee… everything else was Cash Bar.

When I got married the first time (circa 1980) we had a Complimentary Cocktail Hour, and then served Wine with Dinner (bottle of red & bottle of white per table).  There was also Bubbly served for the Toasts.

After that Guests were on their own for the Dancing part of the Evening.

I think you’ll be fine… if you can afford to provide more it is nice… if you cannot that is ok too **

One of the things we often do here in Canada, is have what we call a Loonie or Twoonie Bar for part of the Evening.  This is a Combo Bar where the Hosts “off set” some of the cost of each drink (so it is cheaper for the Guest).  It is another option (your Bar Tab Money will go further).  But something you’d have to work out with your Venue.  As I say HERE it is common, not so much in the USA I am guessing.

Hope this helps,

** PS… You can expect to take some flack no doubt on this topic.  Cash Bars are controversial here on WBee.  They are indeed still the same quite acceptable in some circles, a lot depends on where you are from and what is the norm in your area (ie with the high cost of alcohol, antiquated liquor laws, longer receptions and the like, they are particularly “normal” in places like Canada – the UK – Australia).

With our 8, 9, 10 Hour Receptions and Liqour Prices being what they are… lol, if I was to Host a Wedding for 100 People, and provide a totally OPEN BAR I could easily go thru here JUST ON BOOZE what an average Wedding would cost in total anywhere else… with drinks coming in at $ 10 to $ 15 a pour !!


Post # 7
1626 posts
Bumble bee

@KristenLiz11:  I think this is completely fine!

I know that some people prefer an open bar, but it’s expensive and I know how it can be a huge chunk of the wedding.  1 hr anything goes + wine list with dinner is still very generous.

FWIW, I like to drink, I’ve been to weddings where I’ve been charged to drink and I have NO PROBLEM paying.  I don’t go to weddings for free drinks, I go to enjoy the moment. 

Don’t stress and good luck!

Post # 8
7571 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

@KristenLiz11:  I think you need to scrap the open bar at cocktail hour and use the savings to provide beer, wine and soft drinks all night. I would limit it to one white and one red wine and one full strength beer and one light beer. You could throw in a signatire cocktail if you can afford it.

I think having a cash bar for part of the night is confusing for guests and often unfair to those guests who practice self control. Nothing worse than only having had one or two drinks and being told you have to pay whilsts other guests have been consuming 4-6.

Post # 9
2010 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Cash bars are, of course, perfectly usual here in the UK (we were VERY unusual in having an open bar!) so there’d never be a drama and your current proposals would be seen as extremely generous.

But I also agree about the likelihood of confusion and potential for grief when people realise they’ve missed the open bar part by a couple of minutes (very likely at a wedding with 200 guests) or simply don’t grasp the complexities of the arrangement. So I’d go for a signature cocktail and wine, beer and soft drinks free all night. 

What does bother me is the distinct suggestion I’m getting that you have to fight to get some quite reasonable ideas agreed to! I realise that your parents may have traditional views but it is still your wedding too and you are contributing towards the coat.

Post # 10
7813 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

@KristenLiz11:  It sounds like your parents are completely dictating your wedding. If I were you, I’d pay for it myself and have something smaller that reflects my relationship and is true to what I want.

Post # 12
256 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@j_jaye:  This exactly.  Can you do beer and wine open bar all night, rather than providing any kind of liquor?  That would put you fully within the bounds of “hosting what you can afford” and will probably confuse a lot less people. Plus I know for me, wine or beer after a couple cocktails makes me sicker than a dog, and I think it’s like that for a lot of people, so many might not take advantage of the open bar anyway and instead stick to one drink (that they don’t have to pay for) all night long…

Post # 13
918 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

@This Time Round:  Hey, just to say that cash bars are not really the norm here in Australia at weddings (somewhat unfortunately as I am currently mulling over the 4k+ it is going to cost me to provide beer, wine and soft drink at our 85 guest wedding) 🙁 Generally the hosts at weddings provide unlimited beer, wine and softies for the guests. If it’s an Italian wedding or similar then there might be spirits included too.


OP I think you need to stand up to your parents a bit more. Yes they are contributing financially to the wedding but it sounds like you are significantly too if you are putting 10k towards it.  Not saying you have to provide full open bar for your guests though, but I would stand firm on the sweetheart table that you want.  With regards to the drinks, I think an open bar cocktail hour is a good idea, and then wine service during dinner sounds good. Could you also include some beer at dinner time for those that don’t drink wine? I just know at our wedding a lot of the men much prefer beer over wine or don’t drink wine at all.

ETA – if you could swing beer, wine and soft drink all night by foregoing a full open bar during cocktail hour I think that is the best idea though.

Post # 15
7571 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

 @This Time Round:  I agree with

View original reply
@Lollybags:. Cash bars are not the norm in Australia- beer, wine and soft drinks are the norm. Australian wedding etiquette (as per Ita Buttrose) is for the hosts to provide beverages for the guests and that asking guests to pay is rude. I have only ever been to one wedding with a cash bar here in Australia and it was not well recieved by the guests.

Post # 16
2191 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@KristenLiz11:  if it’s customary where you live, then that’s fine. Open bars are customary here and it would not be well received if someone didn’t have one. 

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

Find Amazing Vendors