(Closed) How to let guests know about drink tickets/cash bar

posted 5 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
4770 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@laceydoilies:  If it’s the norm then you don’t have to tell them.  

Post # 4
853 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

@laceydoilies:  Word of mouth.  But I always assume it will be a cash bar and prepare accordingly.  But yeah, I think four drinks is plenty, so this should not be a huge issue.

Besides, even if it’s complete open bar, people should always have cash on hand to tip the bartender.

Post # 5
89 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Also getting married in Ontario. Our venue charges 48$ per person for open bar… I’m going go the ticket route too. It’s 4$/ ticket. There is no way I expect guests to drink 12 alcoholic beverages(12*4=48)  on top of wine at dinner which is included. I don’t want people to be drunk. 

Im going to include this bit of info on our wedding website. I’m not exactly sure about the wording yet. So i’m interested in seeing what other people have to say.

Post # 7
1251 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

@laceydoilies:  If cash bars are expected in your region then won’t most people assume that they will need to bring some money?

You are providing, if I am calculating correctly 6 drinks to your guests (cocktail, 2 wines during dinner, 3 drink tickets for after dinner) plus unlimited soft drinks and tea/coffee. That’s a fair bit and more than I would be able to drink in one night so I think most guests will not need to have heaps of cash on them anyway – at most for a few extra drinks.  I think I would just say on an insert with the invitations that some drinks will be provided with a cash bar to follow later in the evening.  

Post # 8
139 posts
Blushing bee

Also an Ontario bride… and our venue just emailed today to say they were getting their license (its a recently opened barn venue), but that means now I have to figure out which option to choose!

I am def worried about not providing enough tickets, and am not sure if they will let us have the option of opening it into a cash bar for those who drink more than the number of tickets given to them… 

And to answer your question, I would agree with PP that word of mouth would be the easiest way to go about it, unless you have a large number of people! 🙂 Plus, most people should have cash on them regardless unless its their first wedding.

Post # 9
9954 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Etiquette Snob here… lol

Your WBee Profile says Ontario… so if you are having your Wedding in Ontario (or in fact most parts of Canada) where some element of a Cash Bar is more the norm than other places then I think you are good to go…

People will assume that they need to bring Cash or a CC to pay their bar tab.

Now if you still want to get the info out there, you could always put a tab on your Wedding Website entitled Food & Drink and lay it out like a Printed Menu that is often seen at more Formal Dinners…

5:00 to 6:00 PM

Cocktail Hour

Welcome “Signature Drink”


Assorted Hors d’ouevres

— — —

6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Wedding Dinner

Carrot Soup

Caesar Salad

* Prime Rib with Roasted Potatoes & Seasonal Vegetables


* Chicken Breast with Roasted Potatoes & Seasonal Vegetables

Wedding Cake & Tea / Coffee

Accompanying Wines:

* Red

* White

— — —

That makes it pretty clear that the Welcome Cocktail is included, and Wine with Dinner

You can make Menu Cards if you like to also display on the Tables… or ones specific for the Cocktail Hour as well.

I assume you’ll actually be putting the wine on the table, and Guests will be helping themselves from the Carafes / Bottles as that usually is the norm at such Dinners (it just works out to 2 glasses per person mathematically… ie 10 people at a table = 100 ounces per table)

As for the “Extra Drink”… I’d make up some cute drink cards (vs using the coupons found at the Dollar Store)

So this…

Instead of this…

Have someone hand them out to your Guests when they arrive… telling them that they are for their 2nd Drink of the Evening following their Complimentary Welcome “Signature” Drink.

Your Venue will collect the cards as they come in… and depending on how you’ve set up your pricing, you will be charged accordingly (we just got a total from the Bar for all the cards that were turned in… and what was punched into the Cash Register, as we told the Bar that the Drink Card was good for whatever the Guest Chose).

Hope this helps,


Post # 11
7685 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I agree with @Lollybags:  : that’s plenty of drinks (and unlimited non-alcoholic drink on top of that). Add that to fact that it’s common in your area, I don’t think any notification is necessary. Of course it doesn’t hurt to let word of mouth get around.

Post # 13
9954 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

To @laceydoilies:  ya, as far as Canada goes it is more the norm here for Cash Bars than in the USA… however not so much in bigger cosmopolitan areas (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver)… and particularly so Toronto where there is more of a US influence (Toronto is a lot like say NYCity I find as far as the “social” standard goes for most things).

I too have been to Weddings who have done it in many many different ways…

Welcome Drink – Wine with Dinner – Bubbly for Toasting

White Bar – Beer & Wine Bar – Even a Loonie or Twoonie Bar

The idea is always the same to provide some alcoholic refreshments for the Guests… without the B&G going broke… and that usually means offsetting some of the costs that the Guests may bear if they choose to “indulge further”

Our situation here is a lot different to the USA, and a lot more similar to our British Cousins in this regard… high cost of alcohol (not unheard of for a basic beer to be $ 10 here with Tax & Tip in) and the fact that we also have longer Receptions (ie 5 PM to 1 or 2 AM not unheard of).

Lol, plus some of us are big drinkers…

You add all that into the mix, and someone could go seriously broke hosting a Canadian Wedding Reception with an OPEN BAR

Not for the faint of heart (or without deep pockets)

My First Wedding we did a Welcome Cocktail – Wine with Dinner – and Bubbly for Toasting

This time round, we had a Back Home Reception Party (no meal… just hors d’ouevres) and so we did a Welcome Cocktail (of their choosing) – Champagne Toast – and had Bottled Water / Pop / Juice / Tea & Cofffee… as well as much more Bubbly available all evening.

Everyone seemed pleased that we had provided some complimentary bevvys as it isn’t always the norm for Canadian Weddings (been to plenty of FULL CASH or Dry Weddings in my day) and most people KNOW how expensive it can be to drink in this Province / Country so they are very appreciative of whatever you provide.

Hope this helps


Post # 15
9954 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

To @laceydoilies: Ya, I hear you.  Mr TTR & I always buy booze when we go to the USA.  There are some states where you can actually pay half (or less) than we do up here.

Lol, then again, we do have these higher taxes because we have more social programs that we all enjoy… and the money has to come from somewhere / something (Sin Taxes on cigs & booze offset how these two habits cause more health issues)

I think you’ll be ok for most Canadians… do you expect a lot of US Guests ?

Because ya, I could see where they might be caught off guard by the Cash Bar element…

But then lol, if they’ve spent anytime on their own here before the Wedding and tried to buy a drink on the plane, at the Hotel, with Dinner etc… they’ll have already had their eyes opened to our crazy situation (US Tourists tend to have HUGE Sticker Shock when they see their first Invoice at a Restaurant and the tax lines… 13% Ontario HST tends to give them a heart attack where many states the taxes are still in the low single digits, and you can get a Beer at Happy Hour for $ 1 or $ 2)

Not sure how I’d warn them of the issue … IMO the Menu Card on the website is the best alternative to creatively get around the touchy issue of discussing it at all.

Hope this helps,


Post # 16
1270 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 1994

Good question!

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