(Closed) Cash Bar – Is it tacky and cheap?

posted 13 years ago in Reception
  • poll: Is Cash Bar tacky and cheap?



    It's your wedding and you can do what you want.

  • Post # 3
    382 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2009

    I think this depends a lot on your circle.  For me, the cash bar is the equivalent of other people wearing white to the wedding.  I have been to wedding with cash bars, and let me tell you…HORRIBLE!  All of the guests were collectibely irritated…we have to give up an entire day, potentially vacation time, and bring a gift.  And then our dinner isnt even free…the only thing worse than the cash bar is when you have to pay to park (like valet only, but I had to pay!)…but thats a whole separate vent…

    Post # 4
    102 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: August 2009

    eh – you do what you can afford.  I’d try to have beer/wine or some kind of cocktails free if I were you, but if you can’t do it, you can’t do it.  People might say something, but oh well!  Liquor is expensive and maybe isn’t a priority for you!  I’ve been to one wedding with a cash bar…and no one was upset.  There were appx 400 people present. 

    Post # 5
    122 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: September 2010 - Jewel Box in Forest Park and Windows on Washington

    It definitely is a personal decision.

    We are having an open bar and would not have it any other way.  I do not think your guests should have to pay to be at your event.  And as much as gifts are nice to get, they are not required (although it is good etiquette).

    I really think that this is something that you and your Fiance should discuss and how your family and friends would feel about it.

    Post # 6
    296 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2009

    I have had this conversation with a lot of people. I think the majority of people I spoke with thought it was super tacky. Would you invite a guest to your house and have them pay for drinks there? It is better in my humble opinion to go without it all together if you can’t afford it.

    I quote someone I asked when I say, "If someone can’t go without liquor for a few hours, then they have more of a problem than you need to worry about."

    But that is just my humble opinion. I think it depends on your group.  

    Post # 8
    383 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 2009

    Yeah I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, especially if you’re providing wine with dinner.  You should do what you can afford.  I would never throw myself into debt just to provide an open bar, but if I had the money, I’d love to offer more than beer and wine.  I think it’s a nice thing, but I never assume that every wedding I’ll go to will mean free drinks. 

    Like everybody has said, it does seem to depend a lot on the group and maybe your region.  I know around here it’s not a horrific thing to have a cash bar.  

    Post # 9
    40 posts
    • Wedding: November 2009

    Well, I’m from the East Coast, and I’ve never been to a wedding that did not have an open bar.  So, I think it’s tacky (plus, I would be seriously pissed if I showed up at a wedding and found out it was a cash bar, since it’s unheard of here and I would likely not have been aware of it).  I also wanted to point out that, as a guest, I would prefer a 3 course meal and an open bar to a lavish 5 course meal.

     I also wanted to say that I think it’s really weird that guests would come out and tell you they wouldn’t be bringing gifts at all.  But, I don’t think it’s right to punish everyone because of your FI’s  socially clueless side of the family.

    Post # 10
    31 posts
    • Wedding: September 2009

    I think it depends on your situation. I am having a brunch wedding, starting at 11:30. I am having a champagne toast, but I didn’t see it necessary to provide other alcohol so early in the day. My venue is setting up a cash bar, simply becuase that’s what they do. Were having an after party where we will supply the drinks though.

    Post # 12
    16 posts
    • Wedding: July 2009

    Ok I guess I’m going against the grain here, but where I’m from (a more rural, Northern area), open bars are kinda unheard of.  Cash bars are the norm and guests don’t mind paying for a few reasons. 

    1. It’s assumed that the profits will benefit the bride and groom and hopefully help pay for the crazy expensive dinner/hall rental/etc. It’s like an extra gift which benefits the guest as well.

    2. It discourages over indulgence.  When drinks are free I feel like people are more likely to drink more then if they had to pay for each drink and maybe have to consider it a bit more.  I personally have fallen prey to this….*blush*

    3. It discourages waste, I’ve been to a few open bar weddings (since moving south to the city) and often half-full drinks are left on tables or picked up by over zealous wait staff and guests just go to the bar and get a new drink.  So more alcohol is being used (whether or not it’s being drunk this still means more cost for you) and more cups, etc.

    Of course it’s up to you, and what feels right in your group but for us having a cash bar is the only way to go (esp. with 300+ guests).  I do think though that not having any alcohol isn’t a good alternative, I think you should at least give people the option (if you’re not opposed to alcohol for personal beliefs).

    Post # 13
    1652 posts
    Bumble bee

    Some good comments so far.  I think having an cash bar is OK, if you really can’t afford an open bar.  I can understand the idea of, if they have to pay for it, then just don’t have alochol.  But I think, ultimately, as a guest, I would at least like the option to purchase alcohol, if it wasn’t going to be provided for free.

    But from your first post, it sounds like you could afford an open bar, but think you could save money if you do a cash bar.  If that is the case, I don’t like the idea of a cash bar.  I agree that it’s rude for FI’s guests to say they won’t bring presents, but it kind of feels like you’re sticking it to them with a cash bar.  And I agree, why make the other guests suffer?  Could the people who made the rude comment really say for sure no one would bring a gift?  How would you feel if most people did end up bringing a gift?  I’m not sure why they’d make a comment about not bringing a gift, but I think not paying for a cash bar, would make things worse.  ( I guess I can only think that if they are really not bringing gifts, it’s because you two make a lot of money, or perhaps have a home together already and have the stuff you need to start a home -and have been able to save money.)  So if that’s the case, I think making them pay for alcohol is a bad idea.  Just my $.02.

    Post # 14
    100 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: May 2010

    I think people need to be a little more understanding of people’s financial situations.  My Fiance and I have a very limited budget, and honestly…there are other things I would rather have at our wedding than an open bar.  Would we like to have an open bar? Sure. But I would rather have a cake, wedding dress, music, etc.  Not everyone can afford an open bar, especially couples that are paying for their own wedding.  I live on the east coast too, and have been to LOTS of weddings that have had cash bars, and I wasn’t offended in the least.  As a guest, I appreciate the high costs of a wedding.  So no, I don’t think it’s tacky that certain brides and grooms can’t afford an open bar….it’s just reality.  In fact, I think it’s kind of offensive to call people "tacky" because they can’t afford something.

    Post # 15
    57 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: May 2009

    We are doing a both actually… we are having open bar until dinner is served and then going into cash bar with soda / non-alcohol covered there after, for a few reasons…

     – FIs family does not drink at all so for us, paying for the open bar all night at the cost of $3k would be a waste.

     – Cash bar after dinner will ease the over drinking for when ppl have to drive home (hopefully)

    I have been to weddings with both and it is a bit of a hassle if you don’t expect the cash bar…

    Post # 16
    1194 posts
    Bumble bee

    Totally a personal decision, but in my circle of friends/family, cash bar = taboo.  In My Humble Opinion your guests have traveled to your wedding so it is a nice thing to do for them, if you can afford it.

    There are many ways to cut down on the cost – you can do a quasi open bar.  Open bar for cocktail hour or until dinner is over or something.  Or you can serve just beer and wine.  Or you can close the bar during dinner service. 

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