(Closed) Cash bars…

posted 9 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 32
Member
3625 posts
Sugar bee

@barbie86:  Your costs sound ridiculous to me, and I’d like to know what drink costs $23.? Is that every day prices or just because it would be a wedding? The most expensive drink I ever bought was in Calgary in Canada about 5 years ago, but it was at a Fairmont, so we knew it would be more than normal. I think it was $22. for a margarita, so nothing fancy at all.

Keep in mind our prices were from 3 and 4 years ago, so I have no idea how much it would be now.

Post # 33
Member
1364 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@barbie86:  We make the wine ourselves (that’s just a figure if speech, we don’t really do anything, but we make it through one of those wine stores, you know?) that’s why the cost is so great. 

We have two batches of red (60 bottles) two batches of white (60 bottles) and 1 batch of a sweet wine with pineapple and pear (30 bottles) 

Post # 35
Member
126 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@RunsWithBears:  Why can’t a bride have all of those nice things and still think alcohol is a ridiculous waste of thousands of dollars? We are providing beer and wine, but I disagree that celebration or being a good host=free alcohol. I believe offering guests the option of a cash bar is acceptable to suit their possible desires for liquor but I personally don’t see it as my responsibility to pay for it. As long as I provide non alcoholic drinks to keep you from being thirsty, why do I have to provide alcohol, a luxury, too? I take offense at guests wanting to show up at someone’s wedding with the intent to overindulge in alcohol at the bride and groom’s expense. you’re there to celebrate a marriage, not get drunk. Maybe the sky is my limit and I just don’t believe in wasting money on alcohol, but still don’t want to keep guests from the option of a cash bar (not really the case for me, just trying to understand). 

Post # 36
Member
663 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

@barbie86:  I feel kind ashamed over how expensive it is, especially reading other Bees’ numbers. The Washington, DC metro area is one of the most expensive places to have a wedding in the US, so this is actually a good deal around here, if you can imagine that. 

The basic contract is for cocktail hour (passed and table hors d’oeuvres), a 4 course plated dinner (the 4th being the wedding cake), followed by dancing, and open bar for the entire time. It is $108 per person. We’ve added an hour and a half of open bar to keep the party going longer, as well. So, another $12 per person.

Post # 38
Member
730 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

We hosted beer and wine, and if you wanted a mixed drink you had to buy it from the bar.  So I guess technically we had a cash bar.

 

Our entire wedding cost was $6500.  If we had gone the OPEN bar route, that would have added $7,000 onto the total.  That just didn’t fly with me.  Cash bars are commonplace here– so I definitely didn’t feel badly about not having the open bar.

 

Now I may have done the open bar if the cost would have been minimal, but for my wedding, open bar would have doubled the cost, so it was a no-brainer for us.

 

Post # 39
Member
1845 posts
Buzzing bee

@barbie86:  Most of the parties I attended were BYOB, but there have been some where there were a couple kegs. As for the b-day party, they charged for drinks because there were about 30 people there and my friend’s SO wanted to make mixed drinks for anyone who wanted one, but didn’t want to lose money buying all the supplies. Nobody minded paying a couple dollars for a drink and the hosts didn’t lose any money throwing the party, so everyone was happy. It’s much easier for 30 people to pay $3 each than it is for one couple with two kids to pay for everything they needed. 

Post # 41
Member
7384 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

I’m from Michigan. I couldn’t tell you which kind is the norm, but:

– aunt’s wedding: cash bar
– older cousin’s wedding: dry (as far as I remember, but I was 12)
– stepcousin’s wedding: dry (though tbh I have no idea where they spent all their money, since they spent approximately what we are, and the bride’s mom made all of the food)
– great aunt’s wedding: dry (they just did an afternoon cake/punch reception, though)
– FI’s cousin’s wedding: cash bar unless you were in the bridal party or a bp’s +1
– FI’s other cousin’s wedding: cash bar
– friend’s wedding: open bar with beer and wine only (I think you could get liquor for  cash)
– friend’s wedding: open full bar (but they also eloped and spent 90% of their money on keeping the bar open)
– friend’s wedding: beer and wine only (limited options, wine was homemade and not that great)

Our venue offers really crappy, expensive alcohol packages. Our entire reception (room rental, tables/linens/chairs/dinnerware/drinkware, catering, staff, coordinator, DJ, s’mores bar, taxes/fees/tip, etc.) is $6400. Their least expensive open bar option was $3500. There was no way that we were going to spend over 50% MORE just for alcohol (and no, we can’t bring our own or just do beer/wine). We have it set as cash right now (they take cards), but since the set up fee is the same for cash bar/consumption, we’re waiting until closer to the wedding to decide between the two, or we’ll just put down $x and let them go until that runs out or the 4 hours is up.

Post # 42
Member
3154 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I’ve never been to a cash bar wedding, but heard some people charge $2 per drink to cover the cost of alcohol (obviously they provide booze from the liquor store themselves). The only person I heard of doing this was someone who had very little money and said she had to charge to cover the cost of booze, and did not make any money off her guests (which she did not want to do!). 

Post # 43
Member
6533 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

Toonie bars are common here. ($2 from guests, hosts get billed the remainder based on consumption). It’s probably what we will do also. 

Post # 44
Member
7384 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

As far as going to someone’s house for dinner/a party and having to pay for a drink there–what? That analogy is really stupid. Drink what’s available or keep your mouth shut. Or, because it’s a dinner party and not a rented venue with rules, bring your own–every time we go to someone’s house (friends, family), we always bring our own wine. We’re picky and want to have something to drink, or something to share if anyone else would like a glass of what we brought. We also have a lot of beer (or dry wine) drinking friends and family, so we either end up going thirsty or have to bring our own. It’s also a great way to finish off the vodka that’s been on top of the fridge for several months.

Post # 45
Member
1002 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@MrsWBS:  +1 I think in the Northeastern United States, a cash bar borders on unacceptable lol. But I also here a lot of things like the gift you bring should “cover your plate,” etc… I think culture, geography, etc. play a big role in all this.

Post # 46
Member
81 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Wow, Im from MA and our venue seems to be more similar to the UK prices than all the other East Coast bee’s responding! For just beer and wine it would cost us $14 per person, per hour! So to have beer and wine available through our entire wedding it would cost nearly $7500! (for 105 guests). I’ve been to both cash and open bars, but it definitely depends on the place.

In the end, we’re going with $2000 down on the bar (for however long that lasts) and then 2 bottles of wine per table (at $30 per bottle). The venue is already costing us over $200 per person, there’s no way we’d pay nearly $300 with the 5 hour open bar!!’

Yes, some guests may not be too happy about it (I’ve even had friends tell me they’re going to sneak in their own nips) but I’m hoping their thirsts will be quenched enough and that our venue (right on a gorgeous beach resort) will make up for it!

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