(Closed) Open bar dilemma

posted 8 years ago in Reception
Post # 3
523 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

You can put a sign (chalkboard, pretty somehow) on the bar that says something like:

Hosted Bar:

Red Wine

White Wine

Sam Adams


Sodas, Juice, and Water

Other libations are available on request, but are not hosted.

Post # 4
11325 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

Honestly I’d just not provide an option other than the hosted stuff. Beer, wine, and a signature drink are enough. People can make it through a night without liquor. 

Post # 5
440 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I have seen it done that way before and it worked and no one thought it was horribly tacky. They put a printed list on either end of the bar and in the middle that was very similar to what chicagobride posted and at the bottom they had something very small written like Other spirits are available upon request for a small fee.


Post # 6
1882 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I agree with corgie-just skip the cash bar. As long as there is beer and wine I think people will be fine.

Post # 8
2392 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I don’t think it’s a big deal either way.  I’m not a big fan of declaring things tacky in any event, but as long as you’re providing wine and beer for free, anyone who complains that it’s not a full bar (whether or not liquor is available for a charge) just looks whiny.  I like the idea of putting a sign up – you don’t even have to mention what you’re not hosting… just what is available.

Post # 9
9053 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2010

We kind of ran into this as well, where the venue has a bar in place that would be visible despite the fact that we were only only providing wine and beer.  It wasn’t an option to put it out of sight, so we did the cash bar option.  I think it probably was confusing to some of our guests despite attempts to make it as straight forward as possible, but people got over it. 

Post # 10
1001 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

Our venue REQUIRED us to have a cash bar in addition to the beer, wine, champagne, and signature cocktail we were providing.  I didn’t hear grumbling from any guests.

Post # 11
172 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

how many guest that are invited and how big on drinkers they are play a factor into an open bar. 

example I had approx 57 guest.  I had an open bar for 6 hours.  It only costs us $305.00 plus we tipped $20.00.  Any drink they wanted including soda pop. 

You could have an open bar any drink until your money runs out!  then they start paying for their own!  thats what we did and it worked out great. we put $400 behind the bar and told them that when its gone its gone.  we didnt even go through it.

I think limited options is sort of rude but thats my opionion and it is your wedding so you have to do what you think is best. 

Hope that helps

Post # 12
16196 posts
Honey Beekeeper

We’re doing beer/wine/champagne. We plan to have some kind of menu card. And our guests are welcome to enjoy themselves on what’s hosted. 🙂

Post # 13
110 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I’ve been to plenty of events with just beer and wine ad not thought anything of it…and adding signature cocktail is a nice “bonus.” I would think it would be clear if you put out a drink menu listing choices under a heading of “Hosted Bar” or something. Then if people walk up to the bartender and ask for a different liquor drink, the bartender can inform them that it would be $5 (or whatever). I think most people would realize the menu meant they should pick from that! But if you have someone who INSISTS on drinking only scotch, they can have their way as well.

Post # 15
2 posts
  • Wedding: October 2010

I’ll be honest – if I had the option of free alcohol at any event I would be so grateful! If it was limited I would appreciate my option to splurge a little on a martini if I wanted one. I think the combo is best. I think to offer to pay for guests drinks at all is very generous.

Post # 16
216 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

Honestly, my husband and I like cocktail culture and we enjoy a fine drink to sip on. I would rather have the option of paying for the drink I would most enjoy than get as many freebies of drinks I don’t even like. That’s also because we drink responsibly and won’t need to have a whole bunch of them though. People who like to drink all night will probably just drink the free stuff and be grateful!

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