Post # 1
So, we’re not really wanting to pay for our guests to drink. Mostly because we are paying for the reception ourselves, and we really don’t have the money to pay for an open bar.
However, most venues we are interested in have a minimum reception cost, and if we don’t meet it then we have to pay a rental fee. So, either we pay for an open bar, or we pay for the rental fee.
Now, my thinking is … if the venue even allows us to, would be to turn around and either sell cheap drink tickets (like $2 or $3 a drink), or have an announcement that the bride and groom would appreciate donations to offset the cost of the bar. As 95% of our guests are our age, would be drinking and I think would be understanding that we can’t really afford to pay for them to drink all night.
What are others thoughts. I know it may not be proper etiquette, thats not what I’m looking at. I’m trying to guage if you went to a wedding, where you knew the bride and groom were paying for it, and didn’t have a lot of cash … if you would be understanding or take offence to the request to help cover the cost of the open bar.
Post # 3
So, if you have a cash bar the amount of money the guests spend on drinks doesn’t count toward your minimum?
Post # 4
As a bride with tight finances who is paying for her wedding, I can relate to your quandary. That said, I would not be understanding if I was asked to pay for drinks at another wedding. I would be more understanding if there was no alcohol (or limited alcohol (ie: beer/wine)), than if there was alcohol that I had to pay for.
I would strongly caution against selling drink tickets or asking for money to cover it. Can you make up the price difference another way? vs. having to pay the fee?
Post # 5
Can you take care of the beer and wine but have people pay for mixed drinks?
Post # 6
Personally, I would be aghast if I went to a wedding where the DJ announced that the bride and groom would like you to give them money to offset the cost of your drinks. Granted, I don’t like cash bars (I know its a regional thing), but it seems uncouth if the families themselves are selling tickets or requesting money.
I’d check with your venue to see if the money they make at the cash bar will offset your food and beverage minimum. If not, maybe you can host an open bar for cocktail hour (to help you meet that minimum) and switch to a cash bar once dinner is served.
Post # 7
Definitely don’t make an announcement – if you can’t have an open bar all night just do a beer/wine bar.
Post # 8
when you sale ‘selling drink tickets’, do you mean like someone will be walking around with an envelope of cash and a roll of tickets? uhhhh…i think that might be a bad idea. if you have to meet a minimum, why dont you have a host bar until the minimum is met and then make it a cash bar afterwards. i also dont think its a good idea to request donations. i bought you a gift, i shouldnt have to buy raffle tickets and make donations too. did you not know about the minimum before you signed the contract? i guess im confused. you are going to have to pay this extra amount no matter what, but you would rather your guests paid for it? why not trim in some other places? like cut out the favors or scale back the flowers?
Post # 9
Sorry I just realized you said “most halls we are interested in” and not the hall you got. Maybe you need to search for a more affordable venue if you can’t afford to pay for the venue’s minimum costs?
Post # 10
I used to bartend for a caterer and there are so many ways to do the bar!
- We had weddings who set a maximum amount they were willing to spend on the bar and after that it went to cash.
- Give out drink tickets with the escort cards, cash bar after that. This is also nice b/c you can give your bridal party extra tickets allowing them to drink free.
- Host only certain drinks (beer, wine, soda, signature drink), the rest is cash.
- Cash bar but supplement the cost of all drinks, making it less expensive for guests to drink. This is nice but then you don’t really get “credit” for hosting part of the bar since guests may assume that drinks are just cheap!
- Hosted bar dutring cocktail hour/before dinner and switch to cash after dinner. (The bar was closed during dinner.)
Depending on each couple’s budget, I personally think it’s nice to host some of the bar. Hosting a cocktail hour or even free beer go a long way in terms of guests enjoying themselves and feeling well taken care of. I also know that a wide open bar all night WILL lead to a lot of wasted alcohol.
Post # 11
I really don’t mean to sound harsh, and I certainly understand limited finances… but this does not seem like a good idea.
It seems to me that you need to suck it up and get a different venue. It sounds like you haven’t booked a venue yet, but the venues you are interested in you simply can not afford. Now, if you want to go with a cheaper venue and no alcohol, I think guests would totally understand. But choosing a venue you can’t afford and essentially asking guests to offset to cost of the too-expensive venue (yes, it is “for drinks” but if you didn’t have drinks it would be the same cost it sounds) seems to be rude in my book. It is your job to throw the wedding, and your guests will bring you gifts. You can’t ask them to chip in for the reception too.
But, that is just my opinion. Good luck.
Post # 12
i definitely would not make an announcement!! i wouldn’t necessarily be offended if i was asked to pay for my own drinks at a wedding. we also have a minimum bill for our reception, but any drinks that our guests buy will go towards that. however, we plan on having an open bar. we’re just going to ask the bartender to not allow anyone to get too out of control. it’s more than i don’t want a bunch of wasted people to deal with!!
Post # 13
@lillydsm I’ll have to ask the venues that again, they didn’t offer that as an option (and I didn’t think about it as an option)
@jocelyn3476 in my experience, when the choices are free beer, or paid mixed drinks, people will drink free beer … which would put as back in the same position.
Post # 14
I’m sorry, but I really think I would be upset/put off if I was asked to donate to the cost of the wedding/bar, or if drinks were charged to me at a wedding. Guests at a wedding are guests, and they are not expecting/expected to have to pay for anything at a party they were invited to.
I would look into a beer/wine bar, and also specify just a couple of types of each so you don’t get surprised when someone orders a premium ale vs. a bud light.
Post # 15
There are obviously a ton of alternatives to a full open bar like beer and wine only, consumption with a cap, or a certain time period. I don’t think you should make that announcement, that might be kind of rude and make things awkward for your guests. I would much rather pay for my own drinks at a wedding then hear an announcement asking me for money to fund the bar.
Post # 16
Hmmm, I don’t know if this is an option for you or not, but this is what we did:
The venue we had our reception at allowed us to supply our own alcohol at a cost of $7.95 a head. We supplied 2 different kinds of beer, red and white wine that our fathers made together, vodka, rum, and 2 different kinds of whiskey.
It was quite affordable, and much cheaper than using their alcohol. I used to work at our venue, and I know that if you are using the club’s liquor they pour waaaay more in each drink to get the bill up.
I would recommend supplying your own alcohol if that is an option. As a guest I would not be happy to have to pay for my own drinks. (That may just be a regional thing for me, as around here, cash bars are completely taboo)