(Closed) Open Bar

posted 9 years ago in Reception
  • poll: Is it wrong for having a cash Bar?



  • Post # 137
    134 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    I think if you have room in your budget, you should offer some sort of open bar.  It doesn’t need to be a full open bar, but at least beer and wine if you can afford it (or even just for cocktail hour…).  I have been to a couple weddings where the couple were paying for everything themselves (and right out of college) and didn’t have the money for open bar at all, and I totally understand that and didn’t take offense to it, but it’s always a little bit of a bummer to get to a wedding and have to pay for drinks all night.  

    Post # 138
    1015 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    If you have a cash bar, you need to ensure that people know in advance so that they have cash on them unless you know for certain your bartender will accept plastic of some sort.

    Post # 139
    742 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: December 2012

    @kenya.latham.1:  to be honest I think it is in very poor taste to have your guests pay for their drinks.

    My husband doesnt drink at all he has one drink and he is out. I on the other hand can have breakfast with tequila. At our wedding I only drank sparkling water….But reading your comments I think your mind is made up.

    Having drinks at a wedding does not mean getting drunk. It is part of the deal. I would offer at least white wine and red wine and some champagne or spritzer for a toast. 

    Post # 141
    634 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    Is it wrong to have a cash bar? hell no.


    Is it pretty standard to have an open bar in us. Id say so yes.


    But, i see no point in paying for others to drink when you and your FH dont drink. They should be there to support your day, not for the open bar. However this image comes to mind:

    Post # 142
    24 posts
    • Wedding: July 2013

    it really depends! here in Mexico, it would be consider very rude for people paying for their own drinks, but most of my colleagues are Americans and they agree that paying for your own drinks is getting trendy… so i think it´s your wedding you decide!!

    Post # 143
    5545 posts
    Bee Keeper

    These threads bug the hell out of me.

    What is considered acceptable varies massively between different countries, different areas/states, and different social groups. It is a huge generalisation to suggest that a cash bar is rude, simply because it isn’t the ‘done thing’ where you live/in your circle of friends.

    Some posts are downright offensive. We are spending a lot on alcohol: £4500 ($6750), to be precise. That is getting us 2 welcome drinks, 1/2 bottle of wine, and a glass of champagen, for 54 day guests, and soft drinks for a further 5 day guests, and we are then putting £2500 behind the bar for the evening reception, and when that goes, it goes. It will also be limited to soft drinks, certain sing;le spirits and mixers, house wine by the glass, and beer/cider/lager; if guests want cocktails, or other spiritis, they will need to pay.

    A fully-open bar where we live would set us back somewhere in the region of £10k plus, as a) Brits are big drinkers b) our weddings are much longer than those elsewhere (our evening reception for example will go on from 7.30pm until 3am) and c) our drinks are extremely pricey; some spirits at our venue cost $36 a measure, cocktails cost up to $24, etc. I therefore object to people who are spending the same or less than we are on drinks (it seems that were we in the States, our budget would get us an open bar package; these do not exist in the UK,  and if you do an open bar, guests are basically allowed to order unlimited drinks, and thehn you pay the bill, whatever that happens to be, at the end) suggesting we’re being rude/cheap/ungracious/whatever, when the fact is, open bars are NOT customary where we live, at all (they are in fact the exception), and we’re spending as much as these people, on fewer drinks.

    If we could offer an open bar for what people on here typically pay, we’d jump at the chance.

    So please, be respectful of cultural differences. Assuming that because x is the case in your area it is everywhere is extremely ignorant.

    Post # 144
    694 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: Either Philadelphia City Hall or a small chapel.



    I just think it’s weird to throw a party of that nature and have your guests pay for anything. Unless it was thrown to specifically make money (example many of the Temple parties I’ve been to where you may have 3+ DJ’s, 100+ random people are showing up to pay for rent, etc) it’s odd to me. Every wedding I’ve been to has been open-bar; I guess that’s just how people are in South Philly. 


    Post # 145
    2265 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2010

    @Jen51287:  Honestly, I don’t get this line of reasoning.  It seems to suggest a really low opinion of your guests as does the “I’m not paying for people to get drunk!” attitudes.    I have never gone to a wedding for a free meal or alchohol and I don’t know anyone who has.  I don’t believe anyone attended my wedding for those reasons and I doubt I would have extended an invitation to someone I felt didn’t care about us and was ony there for freebies. 

    View original reply
    @barbie86:  I don’t believe anyone has said that cash bars are rude simply becuase they are “not done” in their areas.  I think plenty of posters, myself included, have given some pretty sound, logical reasons for why cash bars are contrary to the ideals of hospitality. 

    The fact that cash bars may be common in some areas doesn’t make them polite.  It just makes them common. 

    I also disagree with the “cultural” argument as well.  I am not aware of any culture that finds it polite to charge guests for hospitality. 

    Post # 146
    7414 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: May 2014

    @kenya.latham.1:  this is a CRAAAZY huge debate on all wedding boards.  IMO, and in my circle of friends, cash bar is compleetely acceptable.  Wine is generally provided for dinner but that is all.  It does really depend on your area thought.

    Post # 147
    5545 posts
    Bee Keeper

    @Zhabeego:  You are fantastically missing the point.

    Us Brits often regard Americans as being extremely ignorant of other countries and cultures, and you are highlighting while we feel this way.

    To suggest that cash bars go against hospitality, when in many cultures they are totally acceptable, and NOT considered unhopsitable, is ignorant, end of story.

    These threads seriously make me laugh. I would honestly love to see what you would all do if you lived over here, and were faced with paying $15-20k just for drinks alone… I somehow doubt you would, and I think you would also quickly see why cash bars are the norm, and not considered rude or inhospitable.

    Might I also point out that while it is impolite and bad etiquette not to provide any drinks at all (you should at least provide drinks during the meal), it is NOT a rule that you have to provide alcoholic drinks full-stop, and nor do you have to provide unlimited alcoholic drinks, despite what some may try to suggest.

    If anyone here can honestly say that they’d spend $20k on drinks, hats off to you; however given most budget polls on this webiste put people’s entire wedding budgets at less than that, I somehow doubt it lol.

    Post # 148
    2265 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2010

    @barbie86: No, I’m not missing the point.  I find it interesting you presume to know what my background and life experience is, though. 

    Please educate me as to which cultures find charging guests for hospitality polite?  Did the royal family have a cash bar at William’s and Kate’s wedding?

    It may very well be that in your particular social circle, cash bars are accepted as the norm and not unexpected due to excessive costs, okay then.  That still doesn’t make them polite.  Being commonplace does not equate to being polite.

    And again, for the last time, no one is required to serve alchohol.  Hosts get to choose and control what they serve – but they should also pay for what they choose to serve – not the guests. 

    Post # 149
    5545 posts
    Bee Keeper

    @Zhabeego:  As a guest, I would much rather pay for drinks, and be able to choose exactly what I wanted, than have a ‘free bar’, but have it limited to certain drinks which I may or may not like.

    I am super fussy about wines and spirits; as a guest, I would be totally happy paying for my drinks, and drinking things I know I will enjoy. I would much rather that than unlimited ‘free’ drinks that I wouldn’t touch.

    I happen to think it is far far ruder as a host to insist that guests drink x drinks, in paying for those, and not having others on offer; which I think is what you are suggesting, if I’m not wrong? In other words, according to your logic, with our £2500 we should have offered unlimited free soft drinks, because £2500 would cover that, and have zero alcoholic drinks on offer, simply because we can’t provide unlimited amounts of them. I really do not get the logic in that at all.

    As it is, it is likely that our £2500 will last a reasonable chunk of the evening, as we’ve limited what it can be spent on. We would also look at reviewing it and adding extra if we feel it necessary. What we’re doing is considered extremely generous; and the people we know are not short of money. However, in the UK, particularly in the region I’m from, only the VERY wealthy would have fully open bars; and these are the type of people who will be spending $75k plus on their weddings. As it is, we have a VERY sizeable budget (average is around $25k at the moment, for 100-150 people; ours is $42k for 60-100 people), but still could not offer a fully open bar. Our guests will be surprised and extremely pleased with what we ARE offering.

    Post # 150
    220 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    please dont do a cash bar

    Post # 151
    2478 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: September 2014 - Manhattan Church Rec Center

    You can totally do wine and beer and a signature cocktail

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