Post # 1
Just quickly wanted to say that I’m not here to argue over whether or not cash bars are an ettiquette no-no because I know that topic has been overdone.
I’m looking for some advice to fit my own personal situation. I am having a Sunday wedding and so I don’t think people are looking to get crazy drunk anyways, and I’m not a huge party person so I’m not looking for that.
I have planned to have a cash bar the entire time because we are students who are 100% paying for our wedding by ourselves and we only work part-time due to school. I have never even been to an open bar wedding so it obviously isn’t the norm for my area and nobody would throw a fit if it was a cash bar. I did have one of the groomsmen complain the other day that there wasn’t “free booze” and that’s what had me a little upset.
We are however paying to have wine on the table during dinner and all pop, juice, coffee and tea is paid for by us for the entire night. Knowing all of this, would you still think I needed to do an open bar? I have a few friends who are big party people and I think they would definitely take advantage of it and drink as much as they could because it is free. I did some calculations and it would end up costing us an extra $3000 to pay for an open bar and that seems crazy considering I’ve worked my butt off DIYing everything to keep costs low.
So my question is….do you think what I have planned so far is fine, or should I spend $3000 (that should really be going to tuition for next year) on alcohol for my friends?
Post # 3
@summerbride – Based on your situation and the fact that it’s a Sunday event, I would advise you to have a cash bar. It’s nice that you’ll be offering wine during dinner and if anyone feels the need to drink more on a Sunday, then they can pay for it! Save your money for school…debt is no fun!
Post # 4
I’m going with “other” (sorry). Can you do an open bar with just beer/wine, or have a signature drink, or anything else that’s provided all night? Because while that would cost you something, I can’t imagine it would cost $3000. Otherwise, while I think you should try to cut your budget in other areas to allow some free-flowing alcohol, I would say cash bar. Sure, it’s a no-no, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
Post # 5
In your situation, I would stick with the cash bar and tell the groomsman to shove it.
A friend of mine did a cash bar with free drinks for the wedding party only. But she had nobody complain that there would be no free booze. That is just rude, especially if cash bars are the norm in your area and the groomsman knows you two are students!
Post # 6
Is it sunday afternoon or evening? I like that you have wine on the table!
I’d much rather buy my own drinks than there being nothing at all for me to drink. I’ve never seen a cash bar, but I don’t think I’d mind it (if I knew in advance to bring cash).
Post # 7
Selling a cash bar with this crowd is going to be really hard I would guess.
My first question, and I’m guessing that you’ve investigated and the answer is no, is whether you can limit the bar significantly (like to domestic bottles and one red/one white) to try to keep the costs as low as possible?
Then my next question is have you talked to some of your friends? I would think you should poll some of the attendees (who you trust to give honest opinions) and see what they think. I’ve found that attendees of weddings are much less likely to understand wedding ettiquete and so might not be offended at all (or much less offended) even though you’re technically committing a major faux pas.
Post # 8
The open bar that I was considering was for the domestic beer/wine so that was already as cheap as it could get, but knowing how much my friends would drink it would still easily cost us over $1000 to do that. And having wine during dinner is already way over budget. I don’t think many of the guests are expecting an open bar even if they are drinkers because none of my other friends weddings have had an open bar. It was just this one comment that got me kinda bummed because I had been really proud of how far our money was going before and now I felt like our wedding wouldn’t be good enough.
And unfortunately there really isn’t a single other place to cut the budget. I’ve looked for the most affordable vendors, made all the centerpieces, bouquets, decor myself and my Mom paid for my dress. Everything is booked and a fixed cost now and the only thing that can be cut is alcohol at this point.
And our wedding is a Sunday afternoon wedding ceremony. Well dinner starts at 5 so it won’t be a late night either way.
Post # 9
Most weddings I’ve been to have been cash. This never bothered me.
I think have soda, juice, coffee, tea is fine.
Having wine at the table would be nice but not nec. Everyone raves about this cheap wine you can get at either Whole Foods or Trader Joes. I think they are under 4 bucks each. You could decorate them.
Post # 10
I’m having a cash bar as well. It’s also the norm in my area, so I didn’t even think twice about it. FI and I are recently out of school, and our entry-level full time jobs don’t give us the luxury of paying for everyones drinks. A couple of people have commented about it because unfortunately my venue is kinda on the pricy side for alcohol, but I didn’t let it bother me. It sounds like for your situation, you should do a cash bar. There’s no need to spend $3,000 on an open bar when you need that money for tuition.
Post # 11
That is awesome you guys are paying for your own wedding and your DIYing as much as you can!
For a Sunday wedding I think limited alcohol is appropriate. If cash bars are the norm where you are, and you are providing wine and other non-alcoholic beverages then that sounds perfectly acceptable and gratious.
However, if you do want to add a bit, why not think about having some beer on hand for the guys? I know a lot of guys (and girls) who don’t drink wine and having a beer alternative would be nice if it fits in your budget. Maybe you could look into kegs, or just having a certain number of bottles on hand and when that runs out, you are out.
We did an open bar at my wedding but it was just beer and wine at a Saturday night reception. It was great!
Post # 12
I don’t know why weddings are an “alcohol is expected” occasion for some people. I think you are fine with providing wine at the table. Anything extra can come from a cash bar. I think that since it’s a sunday, no one is going to looking to get loaded and wine should be plenty for the guests. I think cash bar is a nice little something extra.
If you are still looking into other considerations, you could try to find some beer for the bar since you are already providing wine. Or, you can have a limited bar that once it runs out, it is a cash bar for the guests. I wouldn’t go into debt over alcohol and I it needs to become part of wedding ettiquette that unlimited alcohol is not a wedding staple.
Post # 13
Does your venue allow outside caterers? If so, you could find a caterer that allows you to buy your own alcohol. For my wedding I couldn’t afford a open bar. It was going to cost me at least $3000 for an open bar for 130pp. I found a venue and a caterer that allowed me to buy my own alcohol and it ended up costing me about $1100. ( I paid for bartenders) Since it’s a Sunday wedding, you might be able to spend less than that.
I considered a cash bar, too. I even considered putting $1000 towards the cash bar, so that my guests could at least get one or two drinks on me. In the end, I found a very cost saving idea by finding a venue that allows outside caterers. You can have the open bar but not for the open bar price that some caterers/ venues charge.
Well, good luck in whatever you do decide. Feel free to PM me if you need some budgeting tips. My wedding was about 11K for 130 people.
ETA: Oh, I saw that you are having wine on the tables. I think that’s fine, plus if you are paying it on your own and your still in school, people should understand.
Post # 14
I don’t think a cash bar in your situation is a no no at all! You’re already paying for wine and providing guests with other options, so that should be plenty. Who cares what one groomsmen says?
Post # 15
You are your fiance are both students and you are paying for the wedding yourselves? A cash bar is fine. Your friends should understand that.
I know a few posters said a cash bar is a major faux pas or a big no no, but I think that is all situational. For some people, cash bars are the norm. i have actually never been to a wedding with a cash bar, but it wouldn’t bother me at all.
Post # 16
Since you have the wine, I think that is plenty.
But since you know your guests want to drink, then I would offer the cash bar; that way if they want more its at least an option, vs. no booze at all 🙂