(Closed) How do I do a cash bar?

posted 8 years ago in Food
Post # 3
2359 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

first of all….. get ready for a backlash because most people don’t agree with cash bars.

second of all…. we did cash bar after dinner.   We had Wine and Champagne free during cocktail hour and we had wine on the tables at dinner.   With our venue we had to do drink tickets.  we charged $3.00 drinks, we didn’t allow doubles or shots.  

so people went up to the bar, there was a sign off to the side by the bar menu saying $3.00 drink tickets.  they bought them there and that was it. 

We had a pretty good stocked bar… we came home with a lot of booze considering but i over stocked because i woulda rather had enough booze, then not enough.  We were able to return  anything unopened to the beer and liquor store at no restocking fee.

Post # 4
2555 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I would choose beer and wine only before hosting a cash bar.  That’s just my two cents though.  It really depends on your guests.  I know my guests would grumble all night about having to buy drinks (I’ll be honest, I would, too), but if you have guests that don’t really care about that kind of stuff — why not??

Post # 5
883 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

You cannot expect guests to pay for ANYTHING at your wedding reception.  If you can’t afford it don’t offer it, or stick to wine/beer.  We not only picked up the tab for the wedding reception (we did consumption as opposed to a price per person) and then the tab afterwards for those who stayed (we stamped the hands of our guests, so that other’s using the bar could not get drinks). 

We were expecting a bigger bar bill then we got ($2200 for 100 people/4 hours). Some were drinking a lot, most kept to 1 or 2.


Post # 6
431 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@butterfly1967:  We’re doing cash bar, but providing beer and wine amongst other non-alcoholic beverages. I think we are providing our guests with plenty. I wish I could offer the entire bar, but we couldn’t afford it and I wasn’t expecting FH’s parents (who don’t drink-one is a recovering alcoholic) to pick up that tab either.

It’s very common in my area to expect cash bars but usually the hosts provide something.

And I wouldn’t listen to people who say “CAN’T and DON’T” This is your wedding, do as much as you can to provide for your guests without getting in over your head.

Post # 7
2359 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

she didn’t ask whether she should or should not have one, she asked what people’s experience was with having a cash bar.  


Post # 8
5072 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2012

@butterfly1967:  we were going to provide wine at the tables and thought maybe a cash bar if people want other drinks etc…has anyone had any experience in doing this? I am thinking it is best to serve just beer and wine, plus non alcoholic drinks of course.

I’m a little confused – do you want our opinions on whether or not to do a cash bar (since you are leaning away from it)?

or info on how to make it clear that the guests have to pay for the drinks?

Post # 10
789 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

Where I come from cash bars are normal. Its usually open for cocktail and then after dinner it goes to a cash bar.

Dont listen to cash bar haters if its something done in your circle. Supplying beer/wine and a cash bar for the rest is just fine!! Or even throw in a signature drink with beer and wine. No rules saying you Have to provide alcohol!! However it is a rule in my book to serve NA drinks as a host. Having a wedding or party does not equal booze.

If I were in your shoes Id do beer/wine, a cocktail drink, and the NA’s.

Post # 11
882 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Wait, are you planning on having a professional bartender or just buying bottles of beer, wine, and liquor then having people pay for the alcohol you bought? I don’t think that you can just buy alcohol and then resell it…

Full diclosure—I’m in the never have your guests pay for anything camp, so I’d vote to just serve beer, wine, and champagne like you said over asking guests to open up their wallets while asking them to celebrate you. 

Post # 12
2359 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

View original reply
@butterfly1967:  well it depends, our venue didn’t allow the bartenders to handle the cash as well so one of the servers did the drink tickets. 

just ask your venue the rules regarding Smart Serve etc. 

Post # 13
11267 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

@butterfly1967:  i would check with your venue to see what their experience has been with cash bars.  does your special permit allow to serve and sell liquor?  who supplies the bartender?   what about the bar operating supplies; who supplies those?  (glasses, straws, ice, garnishes, mixes)

Post # 15
82 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

There is nothing wrong with doing a cash bar. You are not required to get your guests drunk. If alcohol is really that important to them, I think they’re missing the whole point of your wedding.

I’m American, but getting married in England where it’s always a cash bar.  However, American brides on here are always attacking me saying how rude I am for doing this. Nevermind other regions’ customs, or the fact I’m allergic to alcohol and don’t want any there at all (unfortunately our venue has two fully stocked bars throughout it’s three levels so I can’t really tell people to ignore the bars). You know what? Pardon my bluntness, but these people telling me I’m rude for not doing a cash bar can shove it 😉 I’m sick of it. It’s YOUR wedding. Do what you want, honey. These days, traditional customs are always being thrown to the wind, so why are people so obsessed with free alcohol being the one custom that stays?

However, if you’re really concerned people will get upset, maybe just put a couple bottles on wine on each table. 

You do what you guys are comfortable and happy with. 

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