(Closed) Cash Bar vs Open Bar?

posted 7 years ago in Reception
Post # 62
Member
268 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

@FutureMrs_KRC In my opinion, I’m all about the open bar. I really think it’s important that guests do not open their wallets for your wedding.  They traveled far, paid for hotels, got you a gift… they shouldn’t be looking for cash to buy an average gin and tonic.  That’s the duty of whoeever is hosting the wedding (bride/groom, parents, whoever).  You can cut small costs elsewhere if you really need to.  You don’t need the fanciest food upgrade, or do some DIY crafts, take a look at Pinterst- so many ideas!

But if that’s not in your budget, at least offer a few wines and beers at no charge and leave the cocktails as a cash bar (or none at all). That is WAY better than tickets in my opinion, which I find to be tacky and tasteless. Tickets make guests feel like you are keeping track of them (even if you are since they can get a bit rowdy), and puts a value over their and your heads (‘oh, they could only afford to get us 2 drinks’ or ‘they only think I can handle xx tickets/drinks’).  

In your case, I think you should do what you can afford and leave it at that.   Good luck and enjoy your wedding! 🙂

 

Post # 63
Member
9575 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

I think an open bar is definitely ideal but obviously not everyone can afford it. I AM truthfully rubbed the wrong way by a cash bar. Its just rude. I flew here, got dressed up, rented a car, got a hotel room and you cant buy me a drink? Thats just not a good host to me. A keg is what- like 60 bucks?  Your present cost me more than that. A few jugs of cheap wine? Something. Anything. If you can afford a wedding you can afford to do that. 

 

 

 

The vast majority of weddings I’ve been to were open bar. Two were wine/beer with limited alcohol. One was a cash bar and my jaw dropped. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post # 64
Member
1647 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I’ve been to only cash bars and one open bar, but doesn’t really bother me since I only have one drink anyways. For my wedding, we are doing an open bar though. My parents are paying for it, and they don’t like the idea of cash bars so it’s open. I’m just hoping my friends don’t go crazy.

Post # 65
Member
268 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

@FutureMrs_KRC: in addition to my last comment, and after reading others…

If you are going to change over from open to cash bar, you should totally make a little sign of sorts to put on the bar.  You can make it cute, put it in a frame and ask the bar tenders to put it in an obvious location.  This will keep the guests advised and will cut down on potential “drama” wondering what’s up.  Also- to make sure things aren’t stressful (my friend got a drink for free 5 min ago and I just had to pay for mine), think about doing a bar for x hours, then switching over (still put a note up on the bar).  

Your wedding isn’t until 2015, so you can certainly look into ways to budget a few hundred extra bucks to make sure everyone is happy.

Post # 66
Member
1648 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2000

I had an open bar at my wedding.  There was no way I wuldn’t do one.  It was the least I can do for the guests who traveled all the way to our wedding.  I recently went to a wedding where there was a cash bar and to be honest, I was pretty annoyed, only because I already spent $1000+ on airfare and hotel, bought a new dress, but then I had to shell out even more money to buy a damn drink.  AND this couple definitely drank their fair share at my wedding. Not that it’s tit for tat, but grr!

Post # 67
Member
935 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

View original reply
@sarahfw:  No way,

I hate wine and beer.  I’m a cocktail girl.  I would be sticking with water if I was at a beer/wine wedding.

Post # 68
Member
935 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

View original reply
@Diamondgurl:  It frosts my cookies when the bride and groom spend 5K on floral arrangements but can’t have an open bar.  I never understood that.

Post # 69
Member
275 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

We provided beer and wine mostly, but when it was out, it was out.  We were able to afford a few bottles of cheap vodka, whiskey and rum (like 2 or 3 each I think?), and told guests that beer and wine would be served, but if they wanted hard liquor they would need to bring their own bottle.  We even had a stock the bar party that my Maid/Matron of Honor threw for people to bring their bottles and we would label appropriately and transport to the wedding on the day of.  (Which turned out to be a lot of fun!)

Our family/friend group can be big drinkers who love to party and no one at all seemed to mind the situation. If they did, they didn’t make it known to me; and if they were bothered or offended by it, I would quite frankly not care.  But, then I agree with PPs in that I think this is largely affected by your local culture. In my area, it’s not considered tacky or uncommon to have a cash bar, drink tickets, or what have you. The only thing people tend to talk down upon is when there’s NO booze at all!    

Post # 70
Member
1648 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2000

View original reply
@FleeSircus:  The bride bragged how her flowers super expensive, had a 10 peice orchestra and… thennnnn… a cash bar O_o

Post # 71
Member
2389 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I found this on The Knot and I like it.

 

  1. Is it rude to have a cash bar?  Yes.

  2. Why?  Because your wedding reception is a thank you gift to your guests for attending your wedding, and no one should be expected to pay for any part of their own thank you gift.  

  3. But, I can’t afford to pay for all of my guests to drink!  There is no rule that says you have to provide alcohol at your wedding reception.  Yes, many people like to drink, but you are planning this thank you gift for your guests and you should plan what you can afford and host it graciously.  If that means you serve a simple dinner and non-alcoholic beverages, that’s okay.  Just make sure that whatever you do serve is not paid for by your guests.

  4. But, if people want to drink, shouldn’t I accommodate them and allow them to get a drink on their own dime?  No.  Firstly, your guests should not be so rude as to expect anything specific at your reception, other than a meal (if it is a mealtime) or some refreshment (if it is a non-mealtime), so while I understand your desire to make them happy, this is not something that should even come up.  If you are hosting your reception properly, your guests should not need to supplement what is provided with anything additional.  We all need to be able to act like adults and expect other adults to act like adults.  

  5. But, everyone I know had a cash bar!  Why shouldn’t I?  It it’s normal, it can’t be rude!  We almost all know at least one couple that has done this.  You shouldn’t because you know better and it’s so avoidable.  Just because something is common, does not mean it is not rude.  Tradition or commonness is not a good reason to be rude.

  6. Okay, how about we have an open bar for cocktail hour and then switch to a cash bar?  Or continue hosting beer and wine but switch to cash for hard liquor?  This isn’t a good idea.  You want to avoid cash bars, as we already know, and you also want to avoid changing what is available and confusing your guests/making them uncomfortable.  You want to avoid this because, remember, you are hosting this party as a thank you gift to your guests.  Their comfort should be of the utmost importance to you.

  7. But, I had a last minute change of circumstances and now I can’t afford to host what I originally planned – surely my guests will understand!  It sucks when plans change – when someone has an unexpected medical bill, a death in the family, a major car repair, anything that can set you back financially is an unneeded stress, especially when you are in the home stretch of wedding preparations.  But take heart – what your guests will definitely understand is if you opt not to serve alcohol at your wedding due to a last minute change in financial circumstances.  And if a guest holds this against you, the guest is being rude, not you.

  8. But, it’s not my job to get my guests drunk!  I don’t even like drunk people!  Then have a dry wedding.  Having a cash bar will not keep people from getting drunk.  Just stop by a regular bar sometime for confirmation.  Having a cash bar for this reason is insulting to your guests and a very poor excuse.

  9. But, if I can’t afford to host an open bar all night and I am not comfortable having a dry wedding, what other options are there?  Luckily, there are other options.  How many of these are available to you depends on your venue, so consider this at the very beginning when you are researching venues.  If you are locked into a venue and have a change in financial circumstances, do everything in your power to get your venue to adjust accordingly.  The options available to you are:  hosted beer and wine all night, open bar without top shelf liquor, limited bar with specific options (say, a couple of beers, a couple of wines, and a couple of signature drinks or specific liquors with mixers).  Whatever you choose, make sure it works for your venue and make sure there is signage posted on the bar with the available drink options so that your guests do not have to guess what is available.

  10. Like I said, I’m not forcing anyone to buy a drink – it’s up to my guests whether they want to open their wallets at my wedding!  I know you aren’t forcing anyone to spend money, but the problem is that it really isn’t fair to flash something nice in front of your guests at their thank you party that you aren’t actually offering. It’s somewhat of a tease. Also, in a way, you’re inadvertently making it so that your richer guests with more expendable income will be able to potentially have a better time at your wedding than the others. You really should give all of your guests equal treatment which stops happening when certain features of your wedding cost money.

  11. Okay, I hear you, but I still think my reasons are special/circumstances make it okay/you don’t know anything about me/etc.  Listen, no one here can stop you from doing as you please.  We’re not the wedding police.  We’re just here trying to give and receive the best advice possible so that we all have great weddings and our guests have a great time and leave happy.  What you do it ultimately up to you.  There’s no reason to try to justify rude behavior – if you insist on having a cash bar, so be it.  But consider the advice above – it was written by someone who has no reason to lie to you.

Post # 72
Member
2389 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

View original reply
@FleeSircus:  Yeah – I agree.  I don’t need decor to have a good time.  I could give a shit what the room looks like – give me a drink!

Post # 73
Member
935 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

View original reply
@Diamondgurl:  Yea – sorry – that’s just unacceptable and flat out rude to guests.  Not to be up my own ass but we figured out venue cost, food and cost of open bar FIRST then did everything else for the wedding.  I made sure open bar would be covered before I even set a budget for the dress. That’s how important we felt it was. 

I swear, we’re not alcoholics. 

 

Post # 74
Member
233 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

I’ve been to a fully hosted bar which was really nice.  As a guest, I realize that is very expensive, so I wouldn’t expect it for the full night.  I have also been to ones that are 50/50.  The cocktail hour is hosted, then table wine is served at dinner.  After that, it switches to cash bar.  I have also been to a full cash bar.

Out of the three options I think the 50/50 option is best.  Host for as long as you can then switch to cash bar.  I think most guests will appreciate (except for the ones who want to drink all night!)

As a guest, I was most displeased with a cash bar.  Either I didn’t bring cash or not enough!  

Post # 75
Member
1406 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

View original reply
@FutureMrs_KRC:  I think cash bar is fine. Read these boards long enough to know, however, lots of people take great offense at them.

Another alternative is to keep guest list small enough so that you can afford open. Fewer guests, but spoil them.

Post # 76
Member
1866 posts
Buzzing bee

View original reply
@FutureMrs_KRC:  I think it is both rude and tacky to have a cash bar at a wedding.  Sorry 🙁 

The topic ‘Cash Bar vs Open Bar?’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors