- 11 years ago
- Wedding: October 2009
I would call your attention to this recent survey on the issue. The results were as follows:
Are you irked if there isn’t an open bar at a wedding reception?
Beer and wine are fine, so long as they keep flowing freely. 38%
A full, open bar is a must, but I understand if that’s too pricey. Cash bar is fine. 23%
I get annoyed if there isn’t a full, open bar. No excuse for that. 15%
Dry weddings are just fine with me. 8%
I don’t mind paying for beer and wine. 8%
No booze, no me. 5%
A dry wedding is a pain, but I’ll deal. 3%
So, if you host just beer and wine, and don’t allow for cash purchases of liquor, 38% of your guests will be ticked with you (the 23% who want a full bar even if it is a cash bar, and the 15% who think there is no excuse for not having a full, open bar). If you supply beer and wine, and have a cash bar for liquor, you may actually end up with a lower number ticked with you. (The 38% who are fine with just beer and wine, and the 23% that are happy with a cash bar, are potentially ok with this, and you just have to worry about the 15% who think there should always be a full, open bar.)
So yes, under standard etiquette, having a cash bar is bad. But if more of your guests will be upset by “hosting only what you can afford” than by having a cash bar for what you cannot afford, perhaps those etiquette rules are out of date?
We struggled with this issue for a long time. Fortunately, a few days before the wedding, our venue offered us an open bar for 60 people for five hours for $250. We leapt at that one, which eliminated the dilemma.