(Closed) Cash bars…

posted 9 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
9168 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’m on the East Coast, USA and have never been to a wedding with a cash bar. I think in addition to geographical differences, there are social group differences. 

Post # 4
7550 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2019

Cash bars are very much the norm here, and I have never been to a wedding with open bar, sometimes wine and beer is provided though. I don’t see cash bars as rude at all, as long as non alcoholic drinks are free at least.

Post # 5
4134 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - The Liberty House

I’m from NJ (also east coast USA) and have never even heard of a cash bar at a wedding of someone I knew

Post # 7
1494 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013 - B&B

In my area (central pennsylvania) cash bars are not the norm. (But I have heard of them being done and people mostly being ok with it.) However, of the 5 weddings I have been to, all of them had a bar where the bride and groom picked a few specialty drinks, and it was not a FULL open bar. And one wedding was completely dry because it was held at her father’s church and then the reception under a tent in the church’s backyard.

Most of the time, they had some kind of wine, some kind of beer, and then maybe a few other drinks available. Most of them provided their own alcohol from outside of the venue, as well.

And this is what I am doing too! My guests will not have to pay, however I am providing two types of beers, two types of wines, a signature drink that is a margarita, a signature drink that is a 7&7 (whiskey), and then vodka and rum with various mixers (like rum and coke, vodka and pineapple and orange juice, vodka cranberry, etc.) I am trying to find a balance between having something that almost every guest will like, and not having thousands upon thousands of dollars to buy booze 😛

Post # 8
656 posts
Busy bee

I’m in Brighton and we’re doing champers on arrival, champers for the toast and half a bottle of wine per person during the meal.

I do think it’s hard for some people to understand that other cultures are different. I once posted about having a cash bar and someone told me I should cut my guest list if I couldn’t afford to provide a free bar for all my guests!

Post # 9
4134 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - The Liberty House

@barbie86:  mine is included in my venue, but they took off $25 pp for under 21 but over 12 guests

Post # 11
126 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I have been to both open and cash bar weddings. I have always seen alcohol as an indulgence and not a necessity at events, and if hosts pay for open bar, great. If they choose to offer the option of a cash bar or no alcohol at all, I respect that too. We are only offering beer and wine, and there will be no liquor. I am not paying for guests to get wasted on shots and mixed drinks (many relatives on my side suffer from drinking problems and get out of hand) and if that offends anyone that attends, so be it. I think it’s really silly how quickly people get ruffled at the idea of having to attend an event or celebrate without alcohol. You should be able to enjoy yourself without it, and appreciate it as a luxury if it is provided. I think the only responsibility hosts have are to make sure their guests aren’t thirsty, and non-alcoholic beverages serve that purpose. 

Post # 13
776 posts
Busy bee

Cash bars are the norm here.

Post # 14
663 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

I’m from Ohio/Pennsylvania/Virginia in the USA, and I’m accustomed to open bars. I’ve heard of cash bars, but haven’t been to one (perhaps as a child I did, but not as an adult). I think it is both regional and socio-economic. Also, I think it’s becoming more common to have open bar as weddings become more elaborate and expensive.

Mine will be open bar and, to be honest, I don’t know the breakdown. The total cost per guest for the reception includes open bar. To keep the reception going longer than the package initially says, though, it’s an additional $8/person/hour. Which, given that a cocktail around here at a normal bar costs about $10, doesn’t bother me too much.

Post # 15
3537 posts
Sugar bee

I’m from the Southeast part of the U.S. and have been to everything from open bar,  cash bar, dry weddings, beer/wine only and BYOB or BYOL. 

For us, we had:

beer, 3 wine choices, 2 signature drink choices with whiskey ( we did BBQ and Jack Daniels since we married in Tennessee, so it was very local). That worked best for our budget and gave a liquor choice without going over budget.  

Post # 16
3625 posts
Sugar bee

Also in NJ, and I’ve never been to a cash bar anywhere, either here or elsewhere.

Our open bar for the last wedding (2010) was one we could provide ourselves. The end cost was slightly shy of $1500. for a 4 hour reception for 90 people, plus $350. for 2 bartenders.

The other wedding in 2009 was included in per person price, which was $10,000. for 120 people.

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