(Closed) need help cutting budget (cash bar tacky?!)

posted 10 years ago in Money
Post # 44
Member
561 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@FMM:  I completey agree! I couldn’t tell you about the decor of any wedding I’ve been too and have tossed just about every favor into the garbage soon after the wedding. However, I DO remember the atmposphere/experience of the wedding. I believe not having an open bar, or partial open bar, takes away from the experience for the guests. I’ve had a couple of friends who’ve had more casual weddings and were able to run a bar tab instead of paying the per person alcohol fee. I am not sure if this is an option for the OP, but depending on how much you expect your guests to drink, that may be a way to cut the bar tab. MY FI’s family does not drink much at all and if that were an option at our venue, I probably would have gone with that because I think it would be less expensive in the long run. Just an idea!

Post # 45
Member
5229 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

I personally would never charge my guests to attend my party, which is what you are doing if they have to pay for their own drinks. If you can’t afford to pay for the drinks, in my opinion, it’s better to not have any alcohol at all. Guests should be able to show up with money for valet and nothing else.

Honestly, I know you are having issues with the costs; I am too for my own reception. However, my mom chose the reception venue (which I told her I like… she chose from the final short list and went with the one 2xs the cost of the others), so when I start freaking out about the cost of the food and drinks, my Fiance and MoH have been diligently reminding me that my mom is the host and she chose this and I don’t need to feel guilty, not should I. I mean, have youa sked your parents how they would feel hosting a party that they made people pay for the bar at? It might not be fair for you to put them in the position of feeling like bad hosts.

Post # 46
Member
3930 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

alright, let’s see what else you can cut besides bar:

  • absolutely favors
  • passed appetizers- you can just do a stationary fruit and cheese plate
  • cake- you can just have a small one to cut
  • limited drink option- you can do just wine and beer
  • bouquets- you can have the girls carry a single rose/lily with a ribbon, or just do corsages for the bridesmaids as well
  • music- you can have an ipod reception and rent some great speakers

Post # 47
Member
251 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I’m just having beer and wine because it comes with our package.  We did not upgrade to hard liquor. Our reception starts at 4:30 so it’s not worth the expense. We will probably hang out with everyone afterwards and continue the party and if people want to drink then, they can on their own dime.  We’re just not paying for anything extra beyond our package. We’re not having passed appetizers because the package comes with a cheese and fruit/veggie display, we’re doing buffet dinner, no favors and I’m venturing into the DIY world to save money (centerpieces, flowers, invites).

I would just leave it at beer & wine and that’s it. 

Post # 48
Member
180 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

We’re having a cash bar, all the weddings we’ve been to have been cash bar, and no one thinks anything about us having a cash bar. I’d say it depends on what you’re doing. You say your family/friends will expect a host bar based on what you’ve spent/are doing for the ceremony/reception then I definitely think you should provide. Our place isn’t crazy and we aren’t going all out for the wedding, nice but not over the top. But I would never go for a huge lavish ANYTHING and expect the guests to pay.

And yeah, when I have a dinner party at my house I totally expect people to bring what they want to drink, and they do. But we do things different here, I suppose. And when we’re invited to a dinner party, we always show up with drinks. Just how it is.

Post # 49
Member
661 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

I think it depends on your culture/where you live in the U.S. I’ve never been to a wedding that didn’t have a cash bar, and ours was cash as well. It’s just what is the “norm” in my circle/my family.

Post # 50
Member
45 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2012

If anyone is truly there for you, it wont matter.  Is it nice to get free drinks? Of course! but not the end of the world.  People are there to celebrate your marriage, not get drunk.  We are doing a cash bar because we just cannot affor an open bar since we are paying for it ourselves.  Anyone wh knows us knows we dont have alot of money and I would rather spend it on food and honeymoon for ME, than drinks for THEM.  Im already buying them dinner and cake! =)

Post # 51
Member
1417 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@sapphire5:  I agree! We are having budget issues and cutting open bar would solve them all but none of us want to do it. Many of our guests are travelling from far away to join us and the least we could do is provide some free alcohol.

I really do think it depends on where you live and what you are exposed to…I have only ever been to 2 weddings with a cash bar, and I have never, ever been to a wedding that wasn’t a sit-down, formal dinner on a Friday or Saturday night…this is in stark contrast to some other people who have commented on this post.

Ultimately, I think you need to do what you are comfortable with. If money is an issue and you can cut costs and still maintain an open bar, great. If not, I think scaling back to a cocktail hour and then beer and wine or whatever is fine, but all that matters is that you are comfortable with your decision 🙂

Post # 52
Member
610 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@Jamersss:  Can you get 1hr. hosted bar during the cocktail hour as a compromise?  Also, you can make your place cards as a party favor so it’s 2-in-1.  And you can save money on flowers but getting seasonal or year-round flowers, low centerpieces and reusing bridal bouquets for reception decor.  Good luck!

Post # 53
Member
500 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Dude, your parents are ok paying for this–chill out.  I promise, if they are unhappy about the amount of their money that they are spending for you as a gift, they will tell you.  Don’t go canceling things without talking to them first.  They may be of the proper opinion–that a wedding is held to the same standards of etiquette as a dinner party in your home and that a cash bar is rude.  They want to do this for you–let them!  I would give up a lot of things for my parents to be able to afford and want to help me and my fiance pay for this wedding.  You can’t dictate how they spend their money.  Talk to them about your discomfort and if they say “muffin, it’s fine” then let it be.  Get them a super nice and sentimental gift to give them the morning of your wedding.  Be thankful for having wonderful, caring parents who can do this for you and show them that you appreciate all they do.    

And finally–if other brides are in a similar situation–cut the favors, change the decor and cut the guest list.  If you can’t afford to feed them full and stuff them full of booze, then you don’t have any business throwing a party.  For guests to cut, I’d start with the PP who was like “I’d be pissed if there was plentiful food and free alcohol but the tables were not elaborately decorated”

Post # 54
Member
266 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

Heck, we originally put our reception as a BYOB, as there was NO WAY we would be able to handle the alcohol cost. However, as it turns out we will be able to provide some, so what we have decided on is open bar for cocktail hour; tea, lemonade, coffee and punch after. Our wedding ceremony starts at 330pm on a Sunday, and I know many will have at least a one hour drive going home. Do not want drunk drivers.

No one had a problem with the BYOB aspect, and if they want to keep drinking after cocktail hour, then they will have their own. Besides, since we will be providing the alcohol ourselves, there is no way we can have the hundreds of options that a true bar would have.

Post # 55
Member
16 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2012

If it’s a big mo ey sink I’d just cut it.  I’ve been to both and honestly, buying my drinks didn’t put a damper on my evening at all.

 

I plan on doing a cocktail hour open bar with wine served at dinner. The way I know my friends I know that by the end of the dinner they’ll probably only have one more drink cause they be pretty liquered up and ready to dance. Plus there is an entire group of people that probably won’t drink at all.  I am however trying to hammer out a non alcoholic option for the evening ie soda juice iced tea etc

Post # 56
Member
64 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Genetti\'s in Dickson City, PA

I didn’t finish reading through the comments, it seems like you have a lot already, but I wanted to throw in my 2 cents. It can be very shocking for your guests to see a bar and to go to get a drink and then to be surprised to have someone tell them, “Oh, you owe me $6” or whatever.

Anyway, I’m actually cutting the alcohol totally. My fi and I are not drinkers, and I think it’s tacky when your guests come for free booze and get sloppy drunk. I’m sorry, but it’s MY day, not your day to take advantage of my paying for you to drink for free. Cost wise, it’s making a HUGE difference in our venue costs. It’s something to think about, anyway….

Post # 57
Member
1064 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@hardtoconcentrate:  WELL SAID. I would never invite someone to a party based on celebration only to make them basically pay for a little social lubricant :). I want them to feel comfortable, I want it to be a party and as a host, I’m providing that through free alcohol!

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