Post # 1
So I am at a crossroads and know that open bar is a hot topic on here. Let me start off point blank that I cannot afford one and my venue doesn’t even have that option. However, I want the most enjoyable experience I can afford to give my guests! Since looking into this, I have learned that Ontario has some liquor license issues that I didn’t know about…
Originally I was only providing homemade wine and a champagne toast but didn’t think that was enough. I saw that other bees on here who cant afford an open bar do just beer and wine which I think is a great idea and could afford to do. So I proposed it to my wedding planner who spoke with the venue. This was her response today:
“The problem with serving your own wine / beer at cocktail hour is that it would be a conflicting liquor license issue. We have to get a liquor license to serve your wine at dinner and during that time, the bar will be closed as we will be on our liquor license during that period, then, when the bar reopens, it will be back on the venue’s license. So it has to be completely supplied by us or completely supplied by the venue during any given time.”
The venue owner offered that we just do drink tickets and he serves straight from the bar but I cant see drink tickets being appropriate… my point wasnt to be stingy but by making it ourselves it could bring the price down and therefor our guests could drink as much as they would like, from either beer or wine. I realize some people don’t like either and that is why I didnt want to close the bar entirely.
So with that being said, do you bees have any suggestions? I really am trying and feel really stuck. I can only think of the 3 options in the poll to get around this rule. Have any of you guys dealt with this?
Post # 2
I think its completely fine to eliminate liquor all together and just stick with beer and wine!
Post # 3
Wine and beer only. Could you bring in a few spirits? If the venue allows wine+beer I don’t see why you can’t bring in something else. Anyways if not, I’d still prefer hosted beer and wine vs paying for something else.
Post # 4
I agree with PP. I’d stick to wine and beer. I doubt anyone will be pissed about you not having a cash bar vs having one.
Post # 5
I would have what you can afford. If that’s beer and wine, it will be fine. Any guests who cannot manage a few hours without hard liquor, need to look internally.
Post # 6
We’re just putting $1500 on our bar and it covers beer and wine, juice and soft drinks for the night.
There’s hard liqor available but will cost extra.
Post # 8
tillymac : This is interesting! Would this be like a tab sort of deal? like once your $1,500 is used everyone pays for themselves? Or do they stop serving and close the bar once the $1,500 is done?
Post # 9
scissorgirl : it’s quite common for beer/wine to be licensed separately from spirits and for establishments to have different rules for selling them or allowing them in.
Post # 10
In the UK its normal to provide alcohol before and during the meal and cash bar afterwards.
But I understand thats a big no no in america. So in your shoes, I’d say provide unlimited Beer and Wine all night, then have the bar open for people to buy spirits if they choose to? I hate the idea of buying peoples shots at my wedding on a completely open bar!
Post # 11
I detest the drink ticket idea and cringe every time it’s brought up. Weddings are not carnivals where items are purchased with tickets.
I think beer and wine only is completely fine. I would try to avoid a cash bar at all costs, so that solution is probably the best option.
Post # 12
We only served beer and wine. My Darling Husband is really into craft beer and had them order some specialty beers which seemed to go over well. I didn’t like the idea of asking people to pay for drinks, so we had no liquor available. I suppose it all depends on the crowd, but no one seemed to miss the liquor.
Post # 13
JiminyCricket : I too do not like the drink ticket idea, but of course, the vendor is trying to sell me on it!
wellswed9 : Im actually in Canada so I am not really sure what the norm is! The issue is I cannot have the bar open and serve my beer and wine at the same time, which means either at dinner then cash bar during post dinner or no cash bar at all which means no spirits :/
Post # 14
So there is an update from my planner, apparently the vendor is not ok with me closing the bar during post dinner as “that is where he makes his money,” and therefor says I cannot bring in my own beer. Are they allowed to force me to have the bar open (as in serving, not on us)?! It doesnt say this anywhere in my contract and I am getting a bit mad. I am paying a lot for the food, that is where he makes his money. Should I threaten no alcohol at all and just go dry?
Post # 15
mrsnitti17 : We did this (with the $1,500 down). We had the option to keep serving or close bar. What we did was to ask them to tell us if we were getting close so we could make a decision at that time. We had the intention of putting more down if needed but did not want an insane bar bill. (We ended up being slightly under the amount). Also check to see if you limiting the selection to 1-2 types of beer and 1-2 types of decent/good tasting wine and buying it in bulk (a keg of beer and case of wine) is cheaper than per glass.