(Closed) Cash Bar vs Open Bar?

posted 8 years ago in Reception
Post # 47
Member
1 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: May 2015

Hmm, maybe if you do open bar for only part of the time. Have it open for one-two hours out of the night? It doesn’t need to be top shelf, just beer/wine. I agree no one NEEDS alcohol, but it does add an element of celebration. Just a thought.

Post # 48
Member
29 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: December 2014

My reception is going to be Cash bar only!
I can’t afford to host an open bar!

Sodas and water will be served…
but all the alcohol will have be paid by whoever wants a drink.
I have been to MANY receptions that have had cash bars and no one gets into a fight about it lol. 

Is it really going to matter a few months or years down the road? Heck no!

Post # 49
Member
937 posts
Busy bee

@sarahfw:  Gotta love BC liquor laws! We are just trying to work with the booze hand we are dealt over here.

Post # 50
Member
427 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014 - Stevens Estate

@FutureMrs_KRC:  We are doing half and half…open bar for the first couple hours then cash bar the rest of the night….we just cannot afford open bar all night. Most weddings I’ve been to actually do it this way and it works out well. I don’t think it’s rude to have cash bar..people are there to celebrate your marriage ….not to get trashed.

Also I have been to complete open bar weddings..and people deffinately seem to get a lot more drunk when the booze flows free lol.

Post # 51
Member
521 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: City, State

@FutureMrs_KRC: 
                    My fiance stood in a wedding that had drink tickets (I couldn’t attend because I was away at school). He said it went over very well but thats because he was in the bridal party and put a couple extra in his pocket to be able to drink all night (so did other members of the bridal party). I’m not sure if guests were aware or not but thats definitely something you’d wanna make sure your guests know before they come so they don’t expect it to be an open bar.
                   Our venue has made arrangements with us that help reduce costs. Wine will be provided at the time of meal service (so we only open bottles as needed) and than the rest of the time if guests want wine, they have to go to the bar to get it. Also our venue suggested not to have shots as it increases the bill significantly so fiance and I decided that we would go that route. If we didn’t have to have wine we’d have the shots but unfortunately we have guests who like it so we tried to compromise with having wine over shots. Ask your venue for suggestions too, maybe they will some ideas to keep the costs down for you. 

Post # 52
Member
1559 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

@StormAL:  +1

I think it’s about where you’re from and what’s the norm.  No way can I afford a cash bar.  And why should I have to pay for everyone’s drinks? Yes it’s my event, and I’m supplying everything you NEED to have a good time – the hall, the decor, the music, the food, etc.  But Alcohol isn’t a requirement.  I mean, obviously it’s awesome lol, but not a requirement. 

In my area, it’s definitely NOT the norm for an open bar.  I have been to 1 wedding in my whole life that was open bar… and I’ve been to many. 

I went to one wedding where our wedding favour was a drink chip (like a poker chip with a cute little msg on it from the bride and groom) that got us one free drink.  And the wedding I most recently went to had about an hour of open bar, but that’s it. 

Every other wedding was cash bar exclusively.  Weddings are expensive enough without factoring in the astronomical cost of alcohol. 

I’m considering the idea of paying for a champagne toast – everyone handed a drink on their way out of the ceremony to the lower level where we’ll be having hors d’oeuvres etc while waiting for the room to be switched.  but that’s about it

Post # 53
Member
1559 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

@MrsGolden2Bee:  ah your answer was absolutely perfect!! I never understand that analogy of not expecting guests to pay for drinks if they came to your dinner party type thing. What??? Seriously?? I do, actually.  Bring ur own damn booze if you’re coming to my house for a party.  When my friends all get together for a holiday dinner, we all chip in for the expense of food etc.  So that analogy is lost on me.

I’d rather have all my friends and family there to celebrate with me, and they can choose to drink or not knowing that it’s cash bar… rather than cut my list in have just so I can booze up those that made the cut.

But.. to each their own. If you can afford a part time open bar without breaking the bank, then go for it.  I’d love to host an open bar if i could.  But it’s most certainly NOT a requirement!

Post # 54
Member
1559 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

@sostobe:  holy moly…. $50 pp doesn’t seem all that cheap to me!  if you had 100 people, that adds $5000 to your tab!  that’s a LOT!  My area also does not offer a pp rate for bars… I was told that if it was open bar, they’d just inform me of what I owed them at the end of the night.  I am not taking that risk lol!

Post # 55
Member
208 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

Never been to a wedding with an open bar. We pretty much only have toonie bars (Toonie is two dollars in Canada haha). It is what we are doing, I have had people say no open bars as they literally threw pails of half finished drinks out. I am not one for wasting so that would upset me a lot to see the waste.

Post # 56
Member
937 posts
Busy bee

@MrsPhilly:  *takes a bow*, thank you. If I could afford it, sure I would love to do an open bar for guests, I’m not AGAINST them, but no way do I think it’s required or even necessary. Its one of those things you do (in BC anyway) if you have an extra $10k laying around that you don’t care about. Because my guests would drink $10k worth of booze if it was free like THAT *snap*. But $10k is my entire wedding budget. So no way in hell would I advocate people DOUBLING their wedding budget just so people can drink for free for ONE NIGHT. That is BAD money management. You have to remember that after the wedding is the marriage and your friends and family aren’t going to help you pay off all your wedding debt! Nope that’s now down to you and your partner. I plan on paying for the entire wedding in cash. 

Post # 57
Member
1436 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I wouldn’t say tasteless, I would not ask my guest to pay for anything at my wedding, personally but if that’s within your budget then rock with it. I’ve been to weddings where there was a cash bar and some people paid for drinks and others did not. If that’s okay with you then do that!

Post # 58
Member
5521 posts
Bee Keeper

@MrsPhilly:  +1. PP rates are unheard of where I’m from (UK); drinks are expensive and no venue we looked at (and I looked at about 50 lol) offered an unlimited drinks option. It’s basically people consume what they want, and you pick up the tab. If we had an open bar for our wedding we could be looking at a bill of way over $10k, easily; and we’re not having a large wedding.

Post # 59
Member
59 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

We had a full cash bar and it was fine. More than fine, it was normal and expected. Half of my guests were religious and do not drink, so they appreciated that the reception was not a sloshfest. Alcohol would have cost a fourth of my entire budget for the wedding, rings/honeymoon/all.

Remember weddingbee is a mix of different regional norms, and your own regional norms will be perfectly acceptable. Honestly though? I really appreciate the different perspectives that I found here on weddingbee, as they helped me to be more aware of OTHER guests backgrounds, particularly my out of town guests. We made sure they were aware we were doing a cash bar, and everyone typically bought drinks and rounds for each other on my side, same as we always do, so nobody was truly left cold and “dry”. It worked well for us. I have  been to two more cash bar weddings since my own, and with my new perspective, both were beautifully hosted events.

 

Post # 60
Member
2053 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

@MrsPhilly:  I thought it was a deal!  It’s less than the cost of 5 drinks per person.  We expect around 150 guests.  I would never do an open bar by consumption.  I don’t like the idea of not knowing my costs upfront.  I am all about the budget, I need to know where every dollar is going and to the cent how much each line item costs. I’ve planned a lot of formal events in both work and volunteer positions, I’ve never agreed to a bar by consumption.  And here, I’m in Toronto, I’ve never known anyone who had a cash bar wedding, it just isn’t the norm.  I’m not doing super expensive inner/outer envelope invites, the flowers are minimal (I’m so not a flower girl), 2/3 of oour budget is food and drink.  The food is insane, its so good. The venue smokes all their own meat, makes all their own preserves, honey, sources local food options as much as possible, Dear Fiance and I are constantly impressed.  When we go for a meeting there’s always a charcuterie board brought out for us to enjoy. I can’t wait to to taste the food!  (Sorry way side tracked there.) We worked within our budget because it was important to us.

 

Post # 61
Member
2031 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I’d maybe to a glass of wine at dinner instead of tickets (tickets seem tacky to me)

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