(Closed) open bar conundrum…

posted 9 years ago in Food
Post # 8
1087 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a wedding with a cash bar, but SO and I aren’t really drinkers (plus SO has medication that shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol anyway) so we’re actually talking a dry wedding. I’m kinda torn cause I wanted at least a champagne toast, but I dunno we’re still early in our planning anyway… gotta decide a venue before we talk alcohol lol

Post # 9
341 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Cash bar is pretty common among my church. Either that or only providing enough booze for 2 drinks per person.

I think about it like this…this is the biggest party I will be hosting in my entire life. When I have people over for dinner, I provide appetizers, dinner, dessert and drinks (alcoholic and non). My guests don’t pay for anything unless they ask “What can I bring?” and then I make a suggestion of something small like a bottle of wine or some chips and salsa.

When I invite people to my wedding, people aren’t going to ask what to bring because what’s expected of them is to bring a gift. Therefore, my guests shouldn’t have to pay for anything at my reception. Drinks, Apps, dinner, dessert, drinks.

With that said, I, being the hostess (kind of) get to choose what’s on the menu, what the drinks are AND how much gets served. Sooooo when it runs out, it runs out. For that reason I think it’s perfectly acceptable to set a limit on your bar tab and make it cash when you run out.

Post # 10
341 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I think it totally depends on the area.  I grew up in a hillbilly town in the woods, and basically a cash bar is the norm there and nobody thinks anything of it.  If you have an open bar, folks are like, WHOOOOOA they must have money LOL.  But around where I live now, it’s the polar opposite.  Folks are horrified with a cash bar and expect an open bar.  IMO, you do what you can afford/want and it shouldn’t be anyone’s concern.  Smile

Post # 11
577 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2018 - Toronto, Ontario

in toronto ( Canada) its all about open bar, you must cater to the guests

Post # 12
9538 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

I don’t think either is tacky or offensive. Most weddings that I’ve been to have either a full open bar or free wine/beer and cash cocktails.

Post # 13
18 posts

i live in nj, and every single wedding ive ever been to has been open bar. my bf’s sister was considering doing a cash bar bc she didnt want to spend the money on an open one, and i didnt know what to say to her. she ended up having wine and beer only…….and no one wanted wine or beer. it was terrible.

just bite the bullet and do open bar. you only get married once or twice. do it big. if i went to a wedding with a cash bar, id rethink my gift (subtracting what i spent on drinks :P)

Post # 15
651 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I have never been to a wedding with a cash bar and it would definitely be frowned upon here.

Where I got married, alcohol is very expensive too. Easily US$15 for a simple cocktail but you just have to budget it in by either inviting less guests or limiting the kind of alcohol available (ie. red and white housewine only).

Post # 16
3771 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

We had a cash bar (they could cash OR use their credit cards and open a tab) at my wedding. We paid for the chapagne toast though. Noone complained and everyone drank. Plus our prices were super cheap. Honestly I didn’t care if it was tacky or not. My family and friends had fun no matter what.

Edit: We also didn’t want to have a dry wedding just because we couldn’t afford an extra $50 a head… I know my family and friends appreciated the fact that alcohol was availible to them. 

Post # 17
257 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

we are splitting the night (yes I’ll probably take heat for this I know)

we are having cocktail hour from 5-6 with open bar then closing the bar from 6-6:60 for introductions, first dances etc. (there will be wine on the table at that time though)

Dinner is from 6:30-7:30 and during that time, its a cash bar. open bar from 7:30-9:30 then the last 1/2 hour (9:30-10) is cash bar.

soda and water is free all night. there will be signs at the bar so noone will be suprised that the bar switches from open to cash, we’re hosting what we can afford 

Post # 18
7898 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

I live in Florida and have been to weddings in Michigan, Maryland, Texas, Georgia, and many in Florida. I have never, ever been to a wedding that had a bar that wasn’t an open bar. I went to one wedding where the reception was at a church and there was no bar at all, but I’ve never been to a cash bar wedding. I grew up in a standard middle class household and my circle is all middle class and lower middle class. I believe you host what you can afford, and what you cannot afford is simply not present. If you can’t afford alcohol, you have a dry wedding. If you can only afford beer and wine, then you only have beer and wine.

I was lucky that my mother paid for our reception. The open bar part was $55/person.

Post # 19
9252 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

OP, I wonder if you might have misread. I can’t imagine anyone anywhere considering an open bar tacky. Not at all, for any reason. Someone else mentioned possibly a religious objection, but I still don’t see how that could be considered “tacky”. Someone might think it was sinful or insensitive, but not tacky. Can you link to the post you’re referring to?

Post # 20
1326 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I think the bar type really depends on region like so many other things wedding related. For example, I know a heated topic on the bee at times is a Buck & Doe, which is basically an event the Bride and Groom put on to help raise money towards the wedding or honeymoon. Buck & Doe’s seem so strange to many people, but in my region of Ontario, people look forward to them and wonder why someone wouldn’t have it. I’m not having one, but I like going to them and it’s a fun night out with family and friends.

Within my circle of friends and family, I have been to weddings that have been open bar, partial host bar and then cash bar. The atmosphere of the wedding definetly changes when it is an open bar, but no one ever bashes the Bride and Groom for not footing the bill. Were having a lunch reception, so a full open bar is not necessary as no one is going to pound back 7+ drinks during the course of a 3 hour lunch. Were offering wine and mimosa’s, anything else our guest wants and their on their own. I feel what we are offering is sufficient as no one I know would drink much, and may not even drink the wine, not big drinkers in our circle.

I would never judge someone for not offering a full bar. I’m there to celebrate with the Bride and Groom and support them. If they cannot afford a bar or feel the money would be better spent on something else, I wouldn’t think twice about it. If someone judges me for not having an open bar, I wouldn’t want them at my wedding. 

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