(Closed) Half Open/Half Cash Bar Help

posted 6 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
8600 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Usually what I’ve seen is just a sign the bartender puts up.

Post # 4
945 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

You definitely need to let them know ahead of time. I was at a wedding where this happened. People started leaving as soon as it went to cash bar.

Post # 5
136 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Can you do a certain number of hours, even just one, free? I think that is less confusing than until the money runs out.

Post # 6
6741 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2014

I’ve never been to a wedding that wasn’t fully an open bar, but I would think you should either have a small sign at the bar or maybe write in the invites something about it being a cash bar. 

I’d rather show up to a wedding expecting a cash bar and finding out that the first few drinks were free than show up to a wedding expecting an open bar and find out that it was a cash bar after a few drinks. 

It would be easier if you had an open bar for like the first hour or something – I wouldn’t want to advertise that the open bar was for the first $500, b/c you don’t want to say what you spent.  Also, you don’t want people trying to get as many drinks as possible until the $500 runs out w/ a mad dash to the bar as soon as the reception starts.  It’s kind of a weird situation, I’m not sure I’d specify that you’re paying any of it at all. 

Post # 7
3374 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Maybe instead of it closing you can pay for wine and beer and make liquor drinks cash?

Post # 8
42 posts
  • Wedding: November 2012

Cash bars = tacky.  If you can’t afford a full open bar, just host beer & wine all night, or have a dry reception.  To expect your guests to pay for anything that night is super rude.

Post # 9
5073 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2012

I can’t think of what type of sign the bartender could put up?

“Free drinks until we hit $500” is really tacky.

You’d be better off choosing a time to stop it or just hosting what you can afford for the entire night, even if it’s only beer and wine.


Post # 10
286 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@KLDMLO:  I totally agree with this. You should do an amount of TIME instead of money. The guests won’t know how much money there is and then you don’t run the risk of the bar being open only for about 30 minutes. They can really rack up the bar tab quickly so you might end up paying a bit more, but a sign that says “Hosted Bar until 8pm” is much nicer than something that says “Hosted Bar until we run out of money” if you know what I mean!

We’re having a similar problem (my parents insist it MUST be full open bar the whole night but do not understand the cost involved) so I feel your pain on the price.

The other option would be to use the $500 toward champagne at dinner or something specific and have the bar be cash all night.

Post # 11
1030 posts
Bumble bee

@aloisk57:  well no one in my circle would consider a cash bar tacky and rude, so it all depends on your audience.

what about 1/2 bottle of wine per person at the table? we’re doing that which will cost approx £500, then the rest is a cash bar.

that always goes down well with guests where I’m from (UK).

Post # 13
4356 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

@PinkMagnolia:  I agree with this.  Otherwise you’ll get a few people ordering the more expensive liquor and the money will dry up entirely.

Post # 14
1185 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

Why don’t you make drink tickets? Divide that $500 by the amount of the average drink, then divide that by the number of adult guests.  Hopefully everyone gets at least one ticket and any drinks beyond that are cash?


Host beer and wine only for a set time (2 hours?).

Post # 16
4356 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

@the boss of you:  I think this is what happened at my cousins wedding (I was 12 so it’s vague).  Soft drinks were free and one drink (beer or wine only though, no liquor).

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