Cash bar vs Open bar

posted 6 months ago in Reception
Post # 31
Member
183 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2017 - River Museum & Aquarium

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ericaleesi :  Another WI bee here. Most weddings I have been to are limited open bar (wine, beer, soda, coffee) and cash for liquor – my own wedding included. We did pay for drink tickets for our wedding party and close family/friends who could cash those in for whatever they wanted beyond the free wine and beer. 

I have been to a handful of completely open bar weddings, but those were my more affluent friends (aka they have affluent parents). 

Anyway, I would not be offended either way but would recommend hosting something if you can afford it. 

Post # 32
Member
444 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2020 - Round Rock, TX

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ericaleesi :  regardless of whether or not you drink, if you are hosting a large event where there will be people who drink, you should provide alcohol and guests should not be expected to pay. if you were a vegetarian would you only serve vegetarian food because you don’t eat meat? and expect guests who want meat to pay for it? 

Post # 33
Member
1279 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

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futureslindy :  food and booze are not the same lol. No one needs booze to survive. Comparing a vegitarian food option to booze isn’t appropriate. 

Post # 34
Member
444 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2020 - Round Rock, TX

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mrsssb :  no one would need the meat to survive either in this hypothetical scenario 🤷🏼‍♀️ 

obviously I know food is far more important lol, I promise i’m not that ignorant. but I was just trying to make a point about preferences of the bride and groom in regards to their guests! I still think it’s in poor taste to make guests pay for anything at your wedding just because it’s not something you personally indulge in.  

Post # 35
Member
12812 posts
Honey Beekeeper

You should host what you can afford but do so graciously. Guests should never have pay at your private social function. To shift the burden onto every guest to pay for accomodations and travel, and spend significant time and money is an imposition as it is. 

That doesn’t mean you have no other options than full open bar or cash bar. You can limit the duration, selection, and quantity of alcohol by what is served and how. For example open bar for cocktail hour, or closes early, a glass of wine or two served to the table, only wine served, no top shelf etc. For that matter, a punch and cake wedding is just as gracious as a black tie affair assuming it’s not a mealtime. 

That said, you can’t really justify full budget mode when you are doing a destination wedding and sparing your guests and yourselves no expense. 

Post # 36
Member
754 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

Open bar. Our wedding was an open bar and any/all weddings I’ve gone to in my life have had open bars with a cash bar for cocktail hour. That’s the norm where I am from (Midwest USA). 

TBH, I’d be pretty peeved and turned off if a wedding had a cash bar. I go to a wedding to have a few drinks, have a good time and I would be severly disappointed if I got to a reception and found out you had to pay for drinks. 

 

Post # 37
Member
939 posts
Busy bee

I’ve been to weddings which are cash bar, open bar and dry. Any of the above is acceptable. A cash bar is totally normal in my area (rural Canada), and I’ve never heard anyone speak poorly about one. It’s hideously expensive to have an open bar, plus a cash bar slows people down a little which is nice if you don’t drink. 
One of the cash bar weddings I was at had ‘table wine’ for toasting/over dinner etc, and then everything after that was cash, which I think is totally reasonable. Everyone who wanted to was able to have a glass or 2 of wine with their meal, but if they wanted to really “drink”, that was on them. 

Post # 38
Member
658 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

I wouldn’t go to a cash bar destination wedding unless it was family. Cash bar prior to the ceremony is fine or cash full bar with provided beer and wine but guests shouldn’t be expected to pay out at a social function in order to have a drink. If you feel that strongly about it have a dry wedding. I’ve been to weddings with the above two scenarios but never one with a cash bar as the only booze option. At least warn your guests if you do decide on a cash bar so they can make an informed decision on whether they want to shell out for travel, gift and drinks. 

Post # 39
Member
154 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

My vote is open bar, but I have been to a wedding that provided drink tickets. Each guest was given 2 free drink tickets. Once they used their tickets, they had to purchase drinks. Might be a decent compromise, but consider the crowd you are inviting. If there are a lot of drinkers attending, this might still be viewed unfavorably. 

Post # 40
Member
2032 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

i mean my vote would be for an open bar. But what about offering a menu of select mixed drinks and beer instead, if you and husband are really not for an open bar. That way it limits the amount of money you have to spend on an open bar, but can still provide free alcohol to those who want to drink. 

i went to a friends wedding who did this, a short select cocktail menu that was free and free cheap beer from the bottle. Prevented 200 plus people from getting drunk, but still allowed for a good time.

Post # 41
Member
961 posts
Busy bee

I wouldn’t go to a wedding I had to pay for 

Post # 42
Member
7389 posts
Busy Beekeeper

I will always think a cash bar is tacky. Even people who argue that it’s common/normal there, host what you can afford. No one hosts a meal and charges extra if you want soup instead of salad. No one hosts a wedding and charges extra if you want steak instead of chicken. Either its offered or its not. 

OP, I really like your train of thought on hosting your guests well after spending so much time and money to come celebrate with you. A compromise for your fi might be hosting beer & wine only? 

Post # 43
Member
1527 posts
Bumble bee

Never been to a wedding or party in my life that had an open bar, I would never expect one either, if open bars were a thing in the UK you would have a sh*tshow of a wedding. It would literally be a disaster as people drink ridiculous amounts here and if the booze was free it would be 100 times worse. 

If cash bars aren’t common in your area don’t have one, who cares if some bees think it’s tacky, making your bridesmaids pay for their own dresses is tacky AF in the UK, but I doubt US bees care about that. 

Post # 44
Member
4672 posts
Honey bee

I’m having 2 weddings. Civil one in California will be cash bar as this is what is expected of most weddings in my area and circle. Church wedding in my SO’s country will be open bar because he told me it’s rude in his country to have guests pay for drinks. 

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ericaleesi :  

Post # 45
Member
77 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2020

If you have a cash bar, maybe don’t tell anyone until they are already there and put their gift on the table lmao cuz they might otherwise be mad and not come or get as good of a gift. Although people associate weddings with partying, they are there to see you two get married and support you. My fiance’ and I also don’t drink, and we are trying to decide between beer and wine only or a cash bar. My friend had a cash bar and people were annoyed, I was broke so I wasn’t able to drink; it was annoying, but I didn’t judge her for it because I know weddings are expensive and I should be happy to support them or I should have budgeted better.

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