Post # 1
I know there are a ton of posts on here about cash bars versus open bars, however, most of them seem to be all of nothing where alcohol is concerned.
My question isn’t so much about the cost (we have saved enough in other areas of the budget that we can easily afford the upgrade from wine and beer to include house brand mixed drinks) but about people getting extremely drunk at our wedding.
Is it enough to offer beer and wine and have people pay for their own mixed drinks if they feel the need to have these? My side has multiple relatives with problems knowing when to stop and FI’s dad said his side has also had problems with an open bar. I feel like it takes more beer and wine to get drunk compared to mixed drinks and if people have to pay for their mixed drinks they will think twice about slamming down a bunch of them. I just don’t want to deal with the drama that I have seen at other open bar weddings at my own wedding.
I believe that it’s a better option for us to pay for the mixed drinks then not offer them at all (even if people are willing to pay) because I’m pretty sure people would rather pay than not have them available at all.
Also, if we do end up offering mixed drinks is it enough to offer the house brands (these include all different kinds of choices just the “lower end” choices)? Or do you suggest making it a completely open bar?
Post # 3
I think if you can afford it, you should have an open bar. Personally, I believe that no one should have to take our their wallets at any event I host, least of all at my wedding. I also trust my guests enough not to get so drunk that they make a scene, get sick, or get embarassing. I’ve never seen people get out of control at open bar weddings, so I guess my opinion is colored by that.
BUT, I still believe no one should have to pay for anything at a wedding.
Post # 4
@MrsBeck: we’re doing a completely open bar, but we don’t drink, so we’re not sure what people would want. We figure this way, our guests can figure it out. Plus they’re all adults, no one has to drive (ceremony, reception, hotel are all in 1 place) so we figure it’s ok for them to drink heavily. None of our guests have history of alcohol abuse though. I think if you have quite a few alcoholics amongst your guests, it may be better to eliminate the booze.
Post # 5
I would stick with wine and beer. If you can upgrade, maybe make it high end wine and imported beers? Maybe have a signature cocktail but that’s it.
We are doing something similar. It’s not about the money, but we don’t want people getting beligerent at our wedding. We are going all out for food, so they least they can do is slow down on the beverages. It’s unlimited wine during dinner but we will have open bar for about a thousand dollars. After that, it’s cash bar (there are only 60 people at our wedding and about 20 of those dont drink at all, so we’re thinking 1K should last us a good hour or two after dinner).
Post # 6
@MrsBeck: If the guests are going to overdrink, they will overdrink. If it’s wine or cocktails. I wouldn’t let this affect your decision to have an open bar or not. We are just doing wine/beer/signature cocktail but just because we mostly have wine or beer drinkers. There are only a couple people who are into hard liquor (scotch, whiskey, etc) and we wouldn’t be able to afford open bar for what the quality of alcohol they like ($100+ as an entry bottle).
Post # 7
We had an open bar with mixed drinks, wine and beer. No fights broke out and everyone drove home safely. It’s also the responsibility of your bartender (I assume you have one) to stop serving to anyone that looks like they’re ready to topple. We didn’t have wine at the tables and opted for wine service, which meant there was no self-serve alcohol.
FWIW, I’m inclined to believe that if these people really love to drink that much, they won’t be deterred by having to shell out money for their drinks, unless you’re charging them like $50/drink.
I don’t think you need to use top shelf liquor unless you really wanted to make it super fancy and “balla”.
Post # 8
But if you have qualms about offering hard liquor (for whatever reason), just offer hosted beer and wine.
Post # 9
Again this is an area thing for me. Around here it is usually just a cash bar . We are doing a signture drink that we are paying for everything other then that is cash bar
Post # 10
I am having just wine and beer, maybe a signature drink, but thats it. I am with you, I do not want a bunch of drunken people everywhere. Its true that if they really want to get drunk then they will find a way regardless, but people tend to sip on wine and beer versus downing a mixed drink or shots. Plus hard liquor does get you drunk more quickly, I would like to cut my cake while most of my guests know whats going on, lol. I have gotten advice from some friends and the popular opinion is that people just want free alcohol regardless of whether its a mixed drink or not.