Post # 1
Well, the small hall we are renting gives you three choices: 1, Open bar 2. Cash bar or 3. A tab to a set limit (but no personal running tabs).
My parents, who are paying for our wedding graciously, are NOT paying for ANY alcohol. Fine with us, because neither are we. My Dear Fiance and I are fine with the cash bar idea. We will have a champagne toast for everyone, and afterwards they can pay for their own. Future Mother-In-Law on the other hand, doesn’t like the cash bar idea, but doesn’t really want to pay for drinks either (she thinks $2 a beer, $3 a cocktail and $4 premium cocktail is too much for a wedding… ) But anyways, she has decided to set up a tab to $400, and then it will be cash bar after that.
How do you write that on the invite? Cash bar after we use up tab? That sounds corny!
Post # 3
- Wedding: July 2008 - Oceanfront lawn and tent
In my opinion, that kind of information does not belong anywhere on an invitation. Is there some way you can include it on your website, or spread it by word of mouth?
Post # 4
Well, I just know I have seen "Cash Bar" on many an invite that I have gotten because the couple wanted us to remember… CASH! This is why we are putting it on the invite/map card/menu card somewhere! So I should probably just put cash bar and let them be pleasantly surprised?
Post # 5
If you could do some sort of estimate to figure out the number of guest, how much they’ll drink, and hence when the drinks will run out? Make an estimate and then tell the barman to put on "your tab" whatever goes over that in x amount of time. For instance, you say "A champagne toast will be followed by 30 minutes of complimentary drinks at the cash bar." That way it is obvious that there is a cash bar, but for a limited amount of time. Then it sounds like you are being generous and they are informed in a better way. What do you think? Do you understand what I’m trying to say?
Post # 6
ABSOLUTELY! And we sort of did the math already, and everyone, depending on what they ordered, would get about 3 drinks. So that would take… let’s say an hour?
Post # 7
I really like the idea of putting what Rivera said. Including that on a directional card or on your website would give everyone a heads up about the cash bar aspect, but you’re still providing some drinks for everyone. Just keep in mind, if you have some crazy friends. They may all go get 3 or 4 drinks at the start and hord them (or maybe only my friends do that)
Post # 8
I think Caitlin has an excellent idea. Tell your guests there is an open bar for a certain amount of time. I think your venue can give you a good idea about how much guests will consume in say a half hour or hour.
Do you have a wedding website you can put this on? Or a reception insert in your invitation?
Post # 9
If you are thinking that the $400 will last you approx. 1 hour, why don’t you set this up as a cocktail hour? I would then make a note on your reception/menu card that states Complimentary Cocktail Hour Followed By Cash Bar.
Post # 10
- Wedding: June 2010 - Indiana Memorial Union
Is it possible for you to only offer beer and wine? That should increase the amount of drinks avaliable. It may last 2 hours that way and then the bartender could let guests that are actually getting drinks know that at 8pm or whatever the bar is converting to cash. But I wouldn’t put directly on your invitation.
Post # 11
I think it’s fine to put that on the invites. Either just put "cash bar", and let the tab be a pleasant surprise, say something like "alcoholic drinks (excluding the champagne toast) are covered up to $400 for the reception, after which a cash bar will commence". Play around with the wording if you want.
(Personally, I think a lot of the etiquette about invites is bull. LOL.)
Alternatively, if you are worried about commiting a faux pas, perhaps put "cash bar" on the invites and include a link to your wedding website, or simply say "please check our wedding website (URL) for details about drinks, gifts, etc".
Just as an aside…$400 won’t do diddly squat unless your guest list is less than 100. That amount will probably get you one drink a person, with some people getting two. What I’ve seen at weddings is that people tend to drink a lot more than one drink an hour. So, if you wanted, you could always say (in the invites/on your website) "first drinks covered, after which a cash bar will begin" or some other variation, if you don’t want to explain the entire situation. =) Just try to be sure that everyone gets a FIRST drink before people start going for seconds, OR try to tell your vendor to limit each person to one drink until the tab is used up. Something like that.
Post # 12
Do you need to write it anywhere that it will be a cash bar? We are hosting our wedding of 90 up to $600 and then providing juices, tea and coffee during the meal. (it is a wedding brunch!) I put the menu on our wedding website and only listed the non-alcoholic beverage options. I made no mention of the cocktail hour or cash bar. Is this a faux pas?
Post # 13
I think Caitlin and Jenniphyr had good ideas. I also like diorable’s beer and wine idea. Instead of saying first $400, could you gift tickets to each guest? One or two, however many until the $400 is used up. I guess my concern is that if you don’t do that, some shmuck is going to drink himself silly the first hour, and your poor little great aunt, who wants one little rum and coke, in a couple of hours will be out of luck. Also, having a cash bar with a complimentary cocktail hour is good, but if you list it as free cocktail hour, what happens if the $400 is up after 30 minutes? People might get upset the the second half hour was not included. If Future Mother-In-Law is willing to be flexible and pay for the cocktail hour, however it might turn out, then I think that’s a great idea.
As for including on invitations, (and anyone else asking) I think that is a must. I think the idea of simply putting it on a website or word of mouth is something primarily reserved for gift etiquette. (You don’t want to come across like you expect gifts.) However, if you are having a cash bar, I think it is imperative to let your guests know that. They need to be prepared to bring cash if they are drinking. Think of how upset they’d be if they didn’t bring enough money, and were "surprised" by the cash bar. If you don’t want to put that in the formal invitation, I would put it in an insert. But if you leave if to word of mouth and your website, a lot of people might get missed. Even if you put a link to your website on the invitation, a lot of people aren’t going to bother to check it out.
Post # 14
By The Way, we are having 30 people! I think we can make $400 last for a while!
Post # 15
I wouldn’t worry about it. If it’s the norm in your area, as you say it is, then people will expect to need cash and they’ll bring it.
Post # 16
I like the idea of doing a cocktail hour, maybe you could even ask the bartender to exclude premium cocktails. Having 30 guests, you should have an idea of how much people drink but my first thought when you tell people there is a tab and then cash bar after that is used is that some people will order multiple drinks before the tab ends. This could also happen at a cocktail hour. I was once at a Graduation party (pretty formal) and the bar was open until a limit was reached. However, no one knew this in advance and expected a cash bar so it was a nice suprise and then the bartender just let people know when the tab was reached and they had to pay for drinks. I’ve also seen at a wedding where there was a sign on the bar that beer and wine were complimentary and cash bar for mixed drinks. I would not list cash bar on the invite (do they also take credit card?) but spread it via word of mouth since your guest list is small. Good luck!