(Closed) Open Bar?

posted 9 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
606 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@Baroness_Meg:  My goodness! If someone wouldn’t come to my wedding because it was a cash bar then I wouldn’t want them there anyway! I think that if thats what you’re planning on and thats what works in your budget then go for it. Yes its nice to have an open bar but ultimately you do what you can afford to do. Its your wedding after all! People should be happy to celebrate that and not worry about getting hammered 😛

Post # 4
6533 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

I think it’s much more accepted in Canada. I’ve never attended an open bar wedding, they are either full cash bar or toonie bar. 

Post # 5
1175 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I feel like I’ve heard people on here make comments about wedding NEEDING open bars. You’re not going to a wedding for the booze, you’re going to witness friends or family getting married. We’re doing open bar beer and wine the whole night and signature cocktails throughout the cocktail hour.

Don’t go broke for 1 day.

Post # 6
1727 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

What is the norm in your area? This changes drastically among regions as well as circle of friends/family?

Where I come from open bar is a must.  I chose my location based on the fact I could bring my own vendors in so that I could afford an open bar (as opposed to payine per person per hour)

I know other bees have said that cash bar is the standard and they have never been to an open bar. 

Have you thought about a limited open bar. beer and wine only?

Post # 7
1835 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I personally don’t like open bars, because I don’t think it’s appropriate to make guests pay for things at an event you invited them to. How about doing drink tickets? Or nixing the idea of a bar all together and serving your favorite non-alcoholic beverages? 

Post # 8
1375 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

To cut costs on the bar, we are doing 2 types of beer (by the keg), 4 types of wine (by the bottle), and 1 “signature drink” (Rum punch by the gallon), plus non-alcoholic drinks. That cut the cost of alcohol by 35% for the same number of drinks.

Post # 9
726 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

We had a tab bar that was beer, wine, and signature cocktail ( spiced warm apple cider).   So each beer was 4 dollars (bottles only), wine was 4 dollars, and the cocktail was 3 dollars bc we actually provided most of the stuff for it.

We had a cocktail hour with live music and a big balcony with appetizers and drinks and then the reception – between the two it was around 6 hours.

Our bill at the end of the night for 200 people was $3300.00.

If that helps you at all.

We decided to do a tab bar and stop the tab at 3,000.00.  But it was like 10:00 and the bar was closing at 11 when the bartender told us we hit the $3000.00 so we just kept it going for the rest of the night.


Post # 10
46 posts
  • Wedding: March 2014

i have never been to a wedding that wasn’t open bar. Maybe it’s the area – I’m from NY/NJ but at weddings open bars are a must.

Its all about the celebration and a fun party right? If you’re throwing a party – well, throw a party.

If you want to save money and go wholesale and have kegs/wine yourself then that works but honestly I would be a bit offended – especially after buying a gift, dress, and traveling for the wedding.

Post # 11
2706 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall

@Baroness_Meg:  People have said they wouldn’t come for that reason?! 

Obviously they’re not my favorite but I would never not attend for that reason.

This is a compromise: Have it open either before dinner or until “x” amount is used and then switch — just make sure your guests KNOW.  We didn’t at one wedding we attended and it sucked — we didn’t bring money because we were told it was hosted!

Say something like partially hosted if that’s the case I think 🙂

Post # 12
110 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I think a cash bar is perfectly acceptable! Luckily, for my venue, a cash bar comes at no charge to us, which is great because we also have a tight budget (it’s one night for goodness sakes!). If you ever have money left over after getting everything planned, you could always pay for X amount of dollars in drinks. My cousin did that. He and his wife paid up to $1000 in drinks, and once that was met, then it was cash.

Post # 13
3765 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

In my area/social circle, open bars are the norm, but many people on a budget are hosting only beer & wine, or beer, wine, & signature cocktail.  I’ve never been to a wedding where I was required to open my wallet for any reason at all.

Post # 14
108 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I agree w @threemeers .. if its the norm where your from then do cash. For my circle its very NOT accepted neither by our friends our ourselves. I wouldn’t personally want to go to a wedding that wasn’t open bar or at least wine/beer .. else if I had to go I’d probably not give as much in cash for the gift since it didn’t cost them that much. For ours we had full open bar w top shelf liquor but we really did try to cater to our guests.. we kept our ceremony short, made sure the food was good and guests were liquored up. haha needless to say guests had fun! if its something you are worried about can you switch to just beer/wine and then do cash for hard liquor?

Post # 15
547 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

Obviously I would prefer an open bar, but I would NEVER say I’m not going to a wedding where there is a cash bar! That’s insane!

If you can manage to subsidize drink costs for your guests, that would be great, but your Fiance is right – you shouldn’t be expected to go into debt because you can’t afford an open bar.

Post # 16
9919 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I wouldn’t not attend, but I’m not going to lie, I’d be a bit annoyed by a cash bar, and very annoyed if I wasn’t told ahead of time.  Open bars are the norm in my social circle though, so it depends a lot on that

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