- 6 years ago
- Wedding: August 2014
Is a cash bar the norm where you live? Or are open bars much more common? If open bars are the norm, how much do they typically cost?
I ask because it seems like this is such a controversial subject, and I’d be interested to see how views (and costs) differ region to region/country to country.
Here in the UK, open bars are very much the exception, not the rule. Typically, the bride and groom will provide 1-2 welcome drinks for their guests, and then, on average 1/2 a bottle of wine, a glass of champagne, and water with the sit-down meal. In the evening, many couples (I’d say the majority) have a ‘cash bar’, some couples put a certain amount of money behind the bar, and a very small minority have a completely open bar.
The main reason for this is that drinks here, particularly in areas like London and the South, can be very expensive, and no venues I know of offer ‘all inclusive’ packages (where you pay x amount per head per hour for unlimited drinks). In our case, alcholic drinks start at £5 ($7.5), and go up to £15 ($22.5) plus. An open bar, where all drinks are freely available all night (our evening reception will be about 6-7 hours long, starting at 7.30pm and finishing around 2am), would likely cost us in the region of $7,500, based on 100 guests having an average of 6 drinks at $12.5 each; drinks during the day would be on top.
As it is, we are spending $2800 on our drinks for the day, and putting a further $3000 behind the bar for the evening (we will possibly extend this to $3800 if necessary), and in the evening, this can only be spent on house wine by the glass, single spirits and mixers, soft drinks, and lager; if guests want cocktails at $23, or champagne at $400 a bottle, they’ll have to pay cash. So, our total outlay on alcohol is going to be around $6000-6500; and that’s for a small wedding of 50 day guests and 100 evening guests.
I give this example simply to attempt to illustrate cultural differences, and also differences in cost. I find the idea that cash bars are always ‘rude’, regardless of culture, region, or country, a little odd. I do also wonder whether those who feel they are rude are paying the kind of figures I’ve mentioned above (ie in excess of $10,000 for a fairly small wedding, just on drinks).
So, please share what is the norm where you live, and also, what you are paying for your drinks, open bar or not! It’d be interesting to see if there’s a correlation between open bar vs cash bar, and cost!